Fitting drawers to a crooked table
I’ve been working on a desk and I ran into a problem when it came time to fit the drawer guides. The front apron was just a little wonky. To make the drawer opening, I had ripped the apron into 3 strips; 2 narrow outside strips and a wide center strip. I cut the drawer front out of the center strip and glued the apron back together. This is one of those tricks that works well on paper, but is a pain to execute. The reason is that the parts tend to bow when ripping. Even after jointing and planing the glue up, the thin strips above and below the drawer opening tend to do what they want to do and the result was a slight bow, less than a 1/16th, along it’s length. The bow was too slight to affect the structure or look of the piece, but it raised concern when it came time to fit the drawer guides. Typically I use a square and reference off the front apron, but, because of the bow, this method would have resulted in guides that weren’t parallel. This would have made fitting the drawer problematic later. (Okay, I have to be honest here. It probably wasn’t enough to cause a problem, and my guess is that the drawer would have fit just fine, but this is the stuff that keeps me up at night.) Anyway, I remembered a technique I’d used on a bow-front table in the past and it solved the problem.
Typically I use a square to align drawer runners in a table with a drawer.
The problem I ran into was that the front apron had a slight bow along its length. This is common when ripping the apron into parts in order to cut out the drawer front. If I used a square to align the runners, they wouldn't have been parallel (I exaggerated the bow in the drawing!).
To solve the problem, I borrowed a technique I use when fitting runners on a bow-front table. I started by cutting a piece of plywood the width of the drawer opening.
I clamped the plywood flush with the front apron and used it as a guide when gluing the runners in place.