Side-Hung Drawers the Smart Way
Chris Gochnour explains how he installs side-hung drawers, from routing the dadoes in the case sides to making the runners to using spacers for a perfect fit
Chris Gochnour wanted to design his sideboard so the look wouldn’t be interrupted by drawer dividers. Side-hung drawers are ideal, plus they operate smoothly when fully loaded and the runners serve as adjustable drawer stops. Here he explains how he installs side-hung drawers, from routing the dadoes in the case sides to making the runners to using spacers for a perfect fit.
I like side-hung drawers for their simplicity, for how smoothly they slide, and for the clean look they let you achieve. When I built my recent sideboard, I wanted the three drawer fronts to be uninterrupted by dividers, and side-hung drawers made that possible. I find that side-hung drawers operate smoothly even when heavily loaded—like the ones in my tool chest, which are still sliding nicely decades after I built them.It’s also a boon that the runners of side-hung drawers serve as adjustable drawer stops. I typically make the drawer runners from the same hardwood I’m using for the drawer sides. I’ve often used beech or maple, but I’ve also made them from medium-density woods like alder, and that worked well too.
The way I build them, the runners of side-hung drawers are meant to support the drawer, but not to center it in the opening. The drawer is built to fit snugly side-to-side in the drawer opening, and the case guides the drawer. I take off a few whispers with a plane and do some sanding to finish with a side-to-side fit with virtually no play.
From Fine Woodworking #277
To view the entire article, please click the View PDF button below.
Chris Gochnour’s sideboard combines usefulness, strength, and beauty in a contemporary case piece