Drawers – um..Draaaa-ers (Southern) – Draws (Northern)

Drawer Fronts Applied - Center Book Match

Drawer Fronts Applied - Center Book Match

I have stated that I do drawers a might different. Here is a quick synopsis of how I do it.

On this dresser, since the drawers are going to be stained (dyed), I used yellow pine for the drawers, why? ’cause I had enough to do it. Its strong, wears well and it beat going out and buying more poplar or walnut and if it was good enough for what are now, multi-million dollar antique’s secondary wood, it’s good enough here.

So, once I got all the dovetailing done, all cleaned up and square and all of that, I put the drawers in the case, installed the side guides, insured everything was running nice and smooth, then I checked to insure the drawer box fronts were straight and even with my face frame (all the way around). Here is one of the beauties of applied fronts. If I had to plane a drawer bottom corner to sit level or had to do anything, odds are it will affect the front being flush with the case. With this method, I can sand, plane, joint or do whatever I need to in order to insure everything is flush. If I totally screw it up, I can remake the drawer and still maintain my premium fronts. That’s where this came from, re-sawing high figured or matched woods for book matched or same figured drawer fronts and since the fronts are usually resawn from 4/4 material, I get 2 for 1. Saves money, but more so, it allows for super nice materials to be used and patterned to create desired effects.

I also like using 12/4 or 16/4 and re-sawing to have a perfect matched set. This walnut is very nice, un-steamed, but mostly just really nice walnut. There is no super figure here, just some nice grain and is centered book-matched.

Once I have re-sawn the material, I process it to thickness. In this case a little under 3/8″. I often use 5/16″ or even 1/4″. I don’t like big and heavy fronts, they look bulky and clunky. I like thinner ones, they add an element of grace. Anyway….I then usually do a “thumbnail” profile around the edges. Here’s a tip for ya…leave the fronts a little wide, rout the end’s first, if you get a little tear out on the edge, it will be trimmed away.

On these, the client wanted a divided look on the top drawer (a very modern thing) so I used a “Point Plunge Roundover” (Eagle #139-0702)and grooved it in the center with a dado. I cut 5/16″ groove, slightly shallow, then did the profile and cleaned it up with a chisel. I could have used a “Flat bottom plunge roundover (Eagle #139-1755) and I wouldn’t have needed the dado, but I didn’t have one so I improvised a little. I used the same bit with a fence to do all the edges.

Once I had my fronts cut and routed, I marked my overlay area (5/16″ overlay) and then I laid out my hardware location. Now, the reason I did this now was so I could use a brad or pinnail to help hold the front from moving around once I had it located and I like to hide the nail under my hardware when possible. Don’t have a brad or pin nailer? use a small finishing nail. I did for years, you can also drill the holes in the fronts only and use a screw. On single wood knob drawers, I do the screw thing and use a big washer just to keep it from moving when you clamp it.

Some masking tape around the perimeter of the drawer, a good liberal coat of glue on the box, be sure to add a little extra to the end grain dovetails and the top and bottom, get it good and wet but don’t over due it. Place the drawer in the case, align the drawer face to your layout lines, pull the two together and nail or screw it. Make sure it is where you want it.

I usually do two at a time if they are close to the same size, that way I can clamp them face to face, but be careful, don’t get any glue on the faces or you will have a contraption you’re not quite sure what to do with. I usually place some wax paper between them, don’t use regular paper or you will just get a stranger contraption.

Clamp them up, I usually let them sit just a minute or two so the glue where they are nailed or screwed has tacked a little, not long, because I only do glue on one surface. I have done both surfaces, but it gets all around the edge, a pain, now on flush drawers it’s no issue but on overlays like these it can be a mess.

Once the glue has dried enough to be peeled away with a chisel, I clean it up. Remove the tape and then stack them face to face again with small clamps just to keep pressure until it has dried for 3 or 4 hours.

I know this is a little unorthodox but it sure works well and guarantees super nice fitting drawers, and as you saw in the step back, if you use the same species wood in the box front, when the face is applied, it’s hard to tell that it is not 1/2 blind. The other thing I have found is that the front, now being laminated, stays rigid and straight.
Drawer Fronts - Tight & Flat to the Case

Drawer Fronts - Tight & Flat to the Case

I’ve never had one warp or distort. That’s just my way of doin’ it. May seem like extra work, that’s debatable. Spend a lot of time doing half blinds on an expensive piece and have it go South, it may not seem like as much work after all.

Back to it. Have a good day Everyone.

Catch Ya Later!

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4 Responses to Drawers – um..Draaaa-ers (Southern) – Draws (Northern)

  1. Denis Rezendes says:

    nice. i remember first seeing that in the sugar chest video. its a great concept and works well.

  2. Ken Weinert says:

    Time for the obligatory “dumb” question – what are you using to mark on the wood? I mean the white marks for direction of the top and such.


  3. intheworkshop says:

    hi tech stuff Ken….chalk

  4. Ken Weinert says:

    That would have been my guess, I just wasn’t sure.

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