Hand Tools Archive

Re: Quartered lumber and technique comment

Sgian Dubh
"On a large drawer I want 1/16 to 1/32" total clearance for the ends of a drawer front, and more clearance, not less, on the interior drawer sides. Height clearance is so dependent on variables I am reluctant to suggest a clearance. Again it will be more clearance interior than on the front."

My strategy with larger case pieces and their traditionally fitted drawers (runners, kickers, and drawers with or without slips) is very similar to yours, Bill, and for the same reason, i.e., expansion widthways of the front and sides causing jamming. Leaving a gap of about 1 mm, particularly in the height, is a good strategy for any drawer taller than about 100 mm (~4"), with taller again drawers maybe getting and extra half millimetre or so of tolerance. Generally, tolerance in the width of the drawers can be a bit tighter, maybe allowing as little as 0.5 mm overall, i.e., 0.25 mm allowed at either end.

Drawers mounted on metal slides generally need a greater gap than this, about 2 mm all round to allow for the slight inherent wobble or swaying action of the slides in action. Slainte.

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