Calculating Incremental Drawer heights.
I’ve observed some fine dressers and chests in The Gallery recently. Choosing the size and number of drawers is always a struggle for me; the look of the finished piece is greatly affected by the choice. One of my favorite techniques is to evenly increment my drawer fronts so that each front is a consistent amount higher than the one above it. I thought I would share my technique for calculating the heights.
First step is to determine how much space will be covered by the total drawer fronts. For flush drawers, this will be the height of the opening minus the clearances between the top/ bottom drawer fronts and the opening and also between the drawer fronts.
For overlay drawers, it is the height of the cabinet face minus the clearances between the top and upper drawer front, the bottom and lower drawer front, and between the drawer fronts.
Up to this point this is the same way I would calculate any drawer fronts. For example, for equal fronts I would just divide this value by the number of drawers.
Here’s a simple example of how to calculate equal increments:
- Assume an opening of 15 ½ inches and three drawers desired with 1/8-inch clearance.
- Applying the above gives an opening of 15 inches.
- I’ll chose to make the top drawer 4 ½ inches.
- Since each drawer then will have to be at least equal to 4 ½ inches, I calculate 3 times 4 ½ equals 13 ½ inches.
- 15 inches minus 13 ½ inches leaves 1½ inches for the increments.
- Now find the total number of increments.
- First drawer needs no increments
- Second drawer needs 1 increment
- Third drawer needs 2 increments.
7. This gives a total of 3 increments. 1½ inches divided by 3 equals ½ inch per increment.
- First drawer needs no increment and equals 4 ½ inches.
- Second drawer needs 1 increment and equals 5 inches.
- Third drawer needs 2 increments and equals 5 ½ inches.
I hope this is clearer than mud. I’ve tried my best but will be glad to answer any questions. I have also attached an Excel and a MS works spreadsheet that does the calculation. The spreadsheet allows an easy way to change the values until you get the look you desire. I’ve never tried uploading a spreadsheet before, hope it works.
Just found out that you have to right click on the Excel file and choose to ‘save target as…’ to download it. At least that’s the way it works on my computer.
Edited 7/26/2005 11:31 pm ET by Dan
Edited 7/26/2005 11:35 pm ET by Dan
'S'funny Dan, I recognise that drawer increment calculation, as I do the general style of your chest of drawers in the Gallery section, ha, ha-- ha, ha, ha. Slainte.
Edited 7/27/2005 3:53 am ET by Sgian Dubh
Hey, it works for me! Hats off to Richard Jones.
Edited 7/27/2005 1:05 pm ET by Dan
Well, I did find the connections amusing, but as you say, so long as it works----- Slainte.RJFurniture
Serves you right, for posting exact instructions on WoodCentral.
Before you know it, these pieces will invade America...........
Sorry if I stepped on your toes, at least I gave credit for the chest of drawers design in my posting. Perhaps I should have also for the technique, but I at least converted it from mm to inches and furnished a spreadsheet.
Hope that small scottish dagger doesn't end up in my back. LOL
Mistakes are but an opportunity for fresh design!
No offense taken Dan. As Willie said, if it's information that I've put out in the public domain then I have to expect other people to use it. It's quite flattering, and also useful feedback, to know that someone noticed something I said and used it to their advantage.
Articles about furniture making subjects form part of my income, and an article like that will have been published in a magazine and paid for at least a couple of times before it would be offered for free to a woodworking forum or website.
I was simply amused to make the connection. The internet has made this world a small world in many ways. Slainte.RJFurniture
Thanks for easing my mind, took me some time to make the connection between your on-screen name and who you are. Actually I found the article to be of more use than just the design and the calculations. The process for making the legs was a leap forward in my technique.
When we left the mainland, we left most of our period antiques behind. Not only because of the style but we were afraid of the what the drastic change in humidity would do to them. As a result of this, I was able to talk my wife into letting me build replacement furniture more in a style we both liked. Not exactly tropic, but with a more contemporary look using native wood. She loved that chest of drawers and so I built it for her. I have also done a six drawer dresser in somewhat the same style that I will post in the gallery.
"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"Mistakes are but an opportunity for fresh design!
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