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Hammer5573

Need Help with Drawers

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I’m building a federal style sideboard with three drawers. The drawers will be flush mounted and 22”x14”x 3.75”. The carcass is made of poplar, the drawer glides, guides and kickers are also made of poplar. Ive always had trouble building drawers that slide smoothly. I’m thinking that lve been making the drawer tolerances are too large? The relative humidity where is live  is low at this time of year. How much tolerance should I allow?

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What do you mean by not sliding smoothly? Are you dealing with racking, or friction? Friction is easy with burnishing and wax on the contact points. Racking is usually tolerances or placement of limiting guides. 

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Are the drawers 22" wide, and only 14" deep (front to back)? If so, the design itself is going to fight you with racking problems. To reduce racking in a drawer with thos proportions, tolerances must be small, which leads to binding when the wood moves with humidity swings.

If it isn't too late in the process, I would change the design to 4 drawers that aren't so wide. Otherwise, wax the sliding components liberally. 

Or use steel ball bearing drawer slides. No judgement from me. ;)

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Wax is huge you must wax for smooth operation. The dresser i made for Megan, the 8 drawer walnut one, had drawers that are about the same aspect as yours the tolerances side to side are tight like maybe 1/64 gap both sides so 1/32 total.

The trick don't make your drawers square. if the front width of the drawer is 22" the back should be like 21 7/8". So you essentially make a trapozoid. The important part to make your drawers sit flush is to make sure the stops on the back side will have the front flush. For the dresser i made my drawer tight and then used a handplane on the sides to bring them into shape. (my material was solid wood). This is a trick i picked up from period furniture makes. Something similar should be done for the height as well. You only really want to close the gap with the front edge of the drawer. So if the drawer opening is 3.75" your drawer front should be like 3_23/32" or even 3_45/64" after the drawer front sand/plane things down to 3_20/32 - 3_21/32"

Another way to get around this is to use a center guide but i assume it's too late for that.

Another trick for stops is to buy some of those silicone bumpers for kitchen cabinets and use those. When you shut the drawer you get a nice soft bump and it's ever so pleasing. I know people like BB drawer guides but once you figure out wood guides NOTHING comes close. Now that i'm typing this i'm going to order some cause i'm low.

https://www.amazon.com/Shintop-Furniture-Bumpers-Protection-Hemispherical/dp/B01DU0O00W/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=kitchen+bumpers&qid=1586012794&sr=8-2

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For your friction points quartered oak is better. Assume your piece has a long life. The friction points on poplar will eventually show wear. Less with q/oak. Paraffin and lots of it is a must.

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Thanks to all of the responders! I should have specified that the problem that I experience is racking. I know that a drawer that's wider than it is deep predisposes it to racking; however, I've never seen a sideboard whose dimensions allowed for anything else. I like the suggestions that Chestnut and CurlyOak made and I'm going to incorporate them into my design. 

P.S. I keep lots of paraffin in my shop:rolleyes:

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I second the use of a center guide. I made a chest of drawers a number of years ago with drawers far wider than the front to back dimensions. No way I could keep them from racking and binding. A center guide fixed it and I also used some of the slippery plastic tape (HDPE ?) on the drawer rails. They are smooth as silk.

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