RAWERS ARE OBVIOUSLY central toa chest of drawers. Each is essentiallyan open-topped storage container. Just a box.Function doesn’t require a drawer to be fancyor complicated. Typically, we make them of asecondary wood, with just the front made tomatch (or complement) the chest itself. Butwe want them to be sturdy and tight, probablynot too heavy, and easy to open and close.If you are a furniture maker, you want adrawer to be something you can constructquickly without sacrificing strength and dura-bility or appearance. This is a bigger challengethan it might appear.A drawer arguably receives more punish-ment than any other furniture component. You jerk it open. You slam it shut. Open.
Shut.A strong, long-lasting drawer needs notonly good joinery but also good support in thechest and a way to guide its movement. If itsticks in the case and you need to yank on itto get it to move, you put extra stress on thedrawer’s joints between the front and the sides.(And you stress the chest itself, too.) Thenif you have to throw a hip against it to closeit, you are once again stressing the drawer
chest.Traditionally, drawers are constructed andfitted with a lot of handwork. But time is dear,and many a contemporary woodworker favorsmachine-cut joinery and easy fits. There is, itturns out, no one way to build a drawer.
Parts of a Drawer
Every drawer has the same basic parts: front,back, sides, and bottom. But these parts can beassembled in a variety ways to produce differ-ent types of drawers. Curiously, it’s not somuch the way the drawer is constructed ashow the front of it relates to the case that givesthe drawer type its name.
is easily the most commontype. The front of the drawer is recessedwithin the case so its face is flush with thecase facade. To look right, with an even gapall around, the drawer has to
right. More-over, in a chest of drawers, each drawer hasto match its neighbors. All need to be flush,all need the same visual clearance around theedges. This makes it the least forgiving typeof drawer to the craftsman. The flush draweris used in the Contemporary Chest (p. 62),the Bow-Front Chest (p. 88), and the TripleDresser (p. 138).The
has a rabbet cut on threeedges and sometimes on all four. More oftenthan not, the lip is profiled with a bead. Thefront nestles partway into the case, and the lipcovers the gap between the drawer front andthe case. This has the practical benefit of cov-ering up a loose fit. Both the Queen AnneChest on Frame (p. 166) and the Tall Chest(p. 188) have lipped drawers.