Drawer frame

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    I am looking to add a drawer to a table (or the sofa table). There are many videos covering the making of the drawer itself but in trying to find how to plan on making the frame seems harder to find. It appears that Paul just makes a frame for the drawer to slide on bare wood with no hardware? Any suggestions and/or links to videos are welcomed.


    I think his chest of drawers shows the process well.
    Mortice in a rail in the middle or on each side, level with the bottom of the opening, from front to back.
    It can also have stops on the side to keep it running straight. Ie a rabbit cut for drawer width. I havent found much on drawers either on the web. But looking at stuff in antique shops, that seems simplest.


    deanbecker is right — the chest of drawers project is one in which Paul has good instruction on making divider frames on which the drawers will slide.
    You will likely need to adapt some aspects of the dividers in that project to a sofa table (you’ll quickly understand which ones) but it probably won’t be to challenging.
    IIRC the divider frames are largely contained in eps 3-6, so maybe start there.

    Philipp J.

    1.)If you just want to go minimalist an easy way to do it is to add 2 rails on the underside of the Tabletop with sliding dovetails and cut a rabbet in the sides of them them.
    Then you are going to glue, screw, nail, dowel, whatever you like best, 2 rails near the top on the sides of the drawer to correspond with the Rabbet and allow the drawer to slide.
    Simple, clean and easy way if you dont want an extra frame for the drawers or just for design reasons.

    If you really want an extra frame theres a couple ways you can do it.

    2.) (dont know the english terminology) basically you need 3 strips of wood per side, all located in the corners.
    2 on the underside of the tabletop in the corners of the frame to stop the Drawer from tilting up and down, 4 in the bottom corners 2 flat and 2 upright, 2 for the drawer to run upon and 2 for it to not tilt side to side.

    3.) you just cut a rabbet in both sides of the Drawer and add 2 rails to the frame for the Drawers to travel upon.
    Theres a variant of this with 2 or 3 interlocking rails with stop pins that allow you to slide the drawer out all the way though alot more complex so im gonna leave this one out.

    Heres a quick drawing of the 3 versions

    Sven-Olof Jansson

    My writing table has a drawer supported by Phillip’s alternative one, and as the table has no front apron or rails the construction maximises the depth of the drawer. Most sensible, the designers went for a rather narrow and short drawer, thus avoiding any risks of jamming – leaving me very happy with this piece of contemporary Danish furniture.

    The coffee table, however, has aprons of 101.6 mm (4″), which are tenoned into the legs in a way that leaves a gap of 3/8″ (9.525 mm) between the aprons and the inside of the legs. Hence, if a drawer (or probably two) is to be added, it seems that: first, the front apron will have to be replaced or opened to the let a drawer through, and second, a support structure is needed to prevent the drawer from racking, jamming, tilting or just fall right down, which probably would be utterly embarrassing.

    As for creating an opening at the front for the drawer to pass through, there seems to be two traditional methods. One can cut an opening in the front apron, or one can replace the apron with two rails; one running directly beneath the top and the other along the lower edges of the side aprons.

    A drawer support structure for a table with aprons consists of, I have learnt, runners supporting the bottom edges of the drawer sides; guides along the drawer sides and top to make the drawer run straight without horizontal tilt; and, optionally a kicker to prevent vertical tilting as the drawer is pulled out. Wide drawers may also have a runner at the mid of their bottoms, running in a groove, to prevent racking and sideways jamming.

    In his 18th century book ‘L’Art du Menuisier’ (to English as ‘With All the Precision possible’ by DC Williams; Lost Art Press) André Roubo does away with the whole thing by attaching rebated pieces to the apron, with the rebates going beyond the inner faces of the legs. The drawer is thus running in the rebates.

    The Anglo-American “approach of honour” appears less wood-wasting and laborious, as it consists of two L-shaped components, such that the vertical aspects (acting as guides) are joined or fastened to the aprons, while the drawer runs on top and beneath the horizontal aspects. (Please see attached drawing).

    Perhaps a 34″ wide drawer would look less aesthetic, in which case the alternatives would be one smaller drawer or two. In the former case Phillip’s alternatives 1 and 2 look very suitable to me. In the latter, there would be a need for a drawer divider. The attached photos provides one – probably very poor – solution for a rail onto which runners can be attached.

    Can’t help but thinking that ‘Adding a drawer to a Coffee Table or End Table would make for a very good video series…

    Sven-Olof Jansson
    London, UK; Boston, MA


    Thank you all for some very great suggestions. I would certainly like to see a video on adding a drawer to a table. Currently my wife wants to replace some bedside tables and some tables next to chairs and sofa – all of which she wants a drawer and a shelf. I probably will make a prototype out of pine or alder to see how well it works.

    Now to start reviewing episodes 3-6 for the chest of drawers.

    Pepper Pot

    A Video about a drawer to a table would be a nice idea. I am also thinking about a bedside table with a drawer that I would like to build in the future.

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