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Fitting drawers to a crooked table

comments (6) May 23rd, 2011 in blogs

MPekovich Michael Pekovich, art director
thumbs up 22 users recommend

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 wouldnt 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.
Typically I use a square to align drawer runners in a table with a drawer. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Typically I use a square to align drawer runners in a table with a drawer.

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.

posted in: blogs, how to, table, joinery, drawer, drawer-fitting

Comments (6)

jacko9 jacko9 writes: Thanks for sharing your solution and while I agree that the problem may have been over exaggerated, I too get brain frozen over minor issues like this and appreciate and and all solutions.
Posted: 7:44 pm on November 26th

MPekovich MPekovich writes: carpentarius- Good eye. Yes, it's a hayrake desk similar to the dining table from the video project. I just finished attaching the table top this morning. I'll definitely post a couple pictures as soon as I take them.

Posted: 12:15 pm on May 31st

carpentarius carpentarius writes: Thanks for the great tip. I noticed the base for your table is the hay rake design that was a dining room table a while back. Is this a different piece or another piece of the same design? If another piece, what is it and will you show us the finished piece? Thanks again.
Posted: 9:46 am on May 31st

B.L. Zeebub B.L. Zeebub writes: While you were describing the problem I remembered an article awhile back that concerned the building of NK drawers which involves gluing up in-place. And I thought why not reverse the order a bit and make up a representative of the drawer bottom and locate the drawer guides via. And look what you done did! This is exactly why I love this magazine and website. Cross pollination goes on all the time.

Nice one.

Posted: 6:39 pm on May 27th

Wood_Jack Wood_Jack writes: Sorry. I read the text but didn't look at the pictures before commenting. I see now that the solution is described in the pictures.

Nice solution by the way.
Posted: 3:38 pm on May 23rd

Wood_Jack Wood_Jack writes: You shared the problem with us. Are you going to share the solution?
Posted: 3:36 pm on May 23rd

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