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A few observations, if allowed, from using battens, complete web frames, and single as well as triple columns of drawers.
The first photo below is of two equally sized (35″x20″X16″ [whd]) chests of drawers. The one in oak has sliding dovetails for runners, and front and rear separators (complete web frame [Bill Hylton]. The one in pine has battens glued to the frame sides, with corresponding housings on the drawer sides.
After adjustments of the fits, there’s no difference between the two chests with regard to operating the drawers.
The second attached photo is of a sideboard (60″x22″x20″ [whd]). The web frames are running in sliding dovetails, and the drawer columns are separated by panels that also are joined to the top and bottom with sliding dovetails. From the oak chest of drawers I learnt that sliding dovetails require very little of gluing, (front divider, and tenons of the runners), they mitigate warping of the carcass, and contribute to integral stability. As both faces of the panels have dovetail recesses that are opposite to each other, the recesses are only 6 mm deep. Please note that the right pane shows the carcass from behind and upside down.
Once again, the drawers needed planing to fit, but actually less than for the two chests of drawers, which I believe was due to the drawers of the latter being wider.
My challenge has been to get both the carcasses and the drawers into square blocks. If there’s a 0.2° error, the deviation over 16″ will 1/16″. For the 35″ width of the drawer frame, I will be out of square by >1/8″. Recognising this potential problem, Robert Wearing suggests making the carcass back a mm wider than the front.
Finally, and at long last, I’ve picked up another approach; one that – at the expense of being more elaborate – mostly removes the planing to fit a drawer, greatly reduces jamming due to variations in moisture, while making drawer operations quite smooth. Basically, only the drawer bottom makes contact with the carcass sides. The drawer sides are recessed by one mm into the drawer front, and the back is flush with the sides. Finally, the drawer front is bevelled, so that only a minute part makes contact with the drawer frame. Operation is stabilised by two guides running in grooves of the drawer bottoms. With a drawer width of 680 mm, one guide wasn’t enough.
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