I'm looking for some basic guidance on the gentle art of making drawers
(and the carcass to put them in of course) without using metal drawer
slides or such.
I know about the basic stuff (making the basic drawer box, hidden
dovetails sides to front etc) -- what I'm looking for is the "drawer in
carcass info": recomendations for runner shape and positioning,
clearances to allow easy movement without too much 'sideways twist'
jamming, placing of stops to prevent pulling the drawer out too far,
and so on ...
I'm happy to pay for plans if someone can point me at what they would
consider a good set for making drawers and carcasses the 'traditional'
way. Most plans I've seen (DAGS)so far either just say 'add purchases
drawer slide hardware' or pay no real attention to the finer points and
just have the drawer (rectangular box) slide into a rectangular hole.
A good book would also be a worthwhile purchase, if you can recommend
one for me!
Hope I've been clear enough - I don't even know the proper names for
all these things in woodspeak, I'm afraid.
If you decide to go with the Frank Klausz DVD you might find
this set of notes useful when you head for the shop. Mr.
Klausz does a very thorough job of describing all the steps
and procedures for making a hand cut, through dovetailed
inset drawer. It's when you go out to apply what he's taught
you that the fun begins. That's were these "notes" may
come in handy.
BTW - DON"T assume that your stock is flat, edges straight
and square to the faces or that the ends are square - UNLESS
you made them so. Any twists, bows, cups etc. will raise all
kinds of hell when it comes to inset drawers. And if you made
the opening "square" it don't hurt to check that what you
thing you did and what you actually did are the same.
Fun stuff making drawers. Now is it "loose in the winter" /
"tight in the summer" when you're doing the fit?
Library should turn a lot of good information. It depends so much on the
size and use of the drawers that you will want to read up.
1) If you make the bottom of the drawer sides or slide out of harder wood,
you'll be happy you did.
2) Make up a full set of shims (inside and outside) before fitting any flush
drawer. Remember to give more room to the bottom to overcome the optical
illusion that makes it look narrow.
3) Hot glue is your friend when fitting drawers. Everything from limiting
bumpers to the rails themselves can be at least temporarily tacked in place.
That one sailed by at least six feet over my head ... maybe a
vocabulary thing though ... to me a shim is a thin spacer piece to pack
out things that don't quite fit. I'm sure you must be meaning something
when fitting the drawer or door.
As a minimum, you want shims to elevate the drawer above the bottom part of
the opening - square front to back - with shims to center the drawer in the
front, and inside the back of the opening while fitting the rails.
In other words hold things firmly and _squarely_ in place while you fit and
tack. Remove to test and, hopefully secure in place without further
adjustment. If not, remove the glue spots from the imprecise component,
shim further in the proper direction, and repeat as needed....
As noted, unless you put about 1/4 to 1/3 more gap on the bottom than top
and sides, it'll look strange.
What type of drawer fronts are you anticipating?
Generally speaking, the planning and precision necessary to fit drawers with
wooden components varies with the type of drawer front. With an inset
drawer, advance planning and a good deal of precision fitting is generally a
must and can take some time. With an overlay drawer front, you can generally
get away with less precision fitting.
I briefly discuss a couple of methods I often use with wooden drawer
components on my website. Go to page 3 of the project journal, about
half-way down, under Arts and Crafts End Table.
While not a full explanation, you may find something helpful. Ask away if
you have any questions.
For my first attempt I am heading for inset drawers - I figure I might
as well get the difficult version under my belt (probably after a lot
of mistakes) and then start looking into the various evils that can be
hidden behind a false drawer front.
The pictures in your journal are exactly what I need to progress, I
think. And the comment about screwing rather than gluing to allow for
later adjustment is something I would have missed, I'm afraid, if I'd
gone ahead with my original plans which would have made the runners and
kickers an integral part of the carcass rather than adding them in
Glad it could be of some use to you.
One of the problems with inset drawers is getting that bottom "gap" to equal
the gap around the two sides and top, and to stay that way.
A neat tip/trick on inset drawers is to plane a very small "rabbet" on the
bottom of the front edge of the drawer front. Make this small rabbet equal
in depth to the distance of your fitted gap around the top and two sides,
generally around a 1/16".
This way, your drawer, even though sitting flat on the runners, will appear
to have the same width gap all around.
Your site is great. I've refered to it a number of times. One
suggestion/request: When you have multiple photos to demonstrate something,
it would be good if navigation from one to the next would be easier. I get
around this by right clicking and opening a pic in a separate window, then
close the window and do the same with the next pic -- versus clicking on
pic then going back a page, etc. There are a few options, if you are
One thing I have not yet found out how to do is what they do at e-bay and a
number of webstores: A page with one large pic and many small ones, and
when you click on one of the small ones it becomes the big one on the same
page, and that page does not have to reload. Or, if you are willing to
make an actual page for each pic you could then have a link from pic-page1
to pic-page2, like a slide show. (And maybe pic-page1 could be in a pop-up
window.) And there is also code you can use to make each pic appear in a
pop-up. (I use Frontpage and a free add-in from Jimco to generate the
script code for this.)
All this aside, it is certainly not crucial. And again, thanks for your
site - verrry helpful. -- Igor
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