Aligning drawer faces with boxes - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 20 Old 12-07-2012, 01:48 AM Thread Starter
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Aligning drawer faces with boxes

Dilemma:

How do I align the faces of drawers to the drawer box ?

In designing a 5 drawer dresser, I had to build the drawer box separate from the drawer face. The face would be attached later.
Plus, I wanted the faces of each drawer to set inside the dresser frame when the drawer was closed.

If I don't attach the drawer face accurately, then when I close the drawer it will bang or rub into the cabinet sides or drawer above and below it.
Note: Faces will be attached from the inside of each drawer.

Some methods I've thought of:
1. Drill sloppy holes so the face can be moved up/down and side/side
2. Use some sort of temporary adhesive to align the face to the box and then attach it from behind
?

Is there an easy way to do this?
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Last edited by mixer440; 12-07-2012 at 01:56 AM. Reason: uploaded image
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post #2 of 20 Old 12-07-2012, 02:01 AM
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I just measure the amount of overhang the drawer front has and shoot a couple of 3/4" brads from the drawer box into the front to temporarily hold it. Then I fit the drawer in the cabinet and make sure there it doesn't need adjustment and if it fits right screw the box to the front. If your using side mount drawer guides I would have the drawer front overhang the box 7/16" on each side. The drawer guides need a 1/2" clearance so there would be a 1/16" gap between the drawer front and the cabinet.
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post #3 of 20 Old 12-07-2012, 02:08 AM Thread Starter
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OK Steve, that makes sense. I guess this is just a matter of measuring the distances and then attaching it. I don't have any air tools. It's either screws or hammer nails.
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post #4 of 20 Old 12-07-2012, 04:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mixer440 View Post
OK Steve, that makes sense. I guess this is just a matter of measuring the distances and then attaching it. I don't have any air tools. It's either screws or hammer nails.
You could hammer in some small brads however you might have to clamp the box to the front to keep if from scooting doing it without a nail gun. I like to predrill and countersink mounting holes for the screws in the drawer box to attach front and test the drawer before I put the screws in. With inset drawers if you're off just a little it makes a big difference. If the front is just temporarily tacked on with brads it's a lot easier to adjust. You can often just bump it a little with a rubber mallet and then put the screws in.
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post #5 of 20 Old 12-07-2012, 06:54 AM
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I first install the drawer box(s) in the opening(s). They may or may not be perfectly centered on the opening, but that doesn't matter. You may have two conditions to deal with. One may be that there are cross rails that border each drawer, or, that the drawers are a stack with no cross rails.

If there are cross rails...When the drawer is in the opening and pushed to a closed position, you can determine the spacing and use shims to center the drawer front. Use a couple of strips of double sided tape vertically on the the front of the box. The tape can be the thin carpet type, not the foam type that has some thickness. Set the front in with the shims and press the front against the box. Then very carefully, remove the drawer with the front, place the front face down and insert two screws.

If there are no cross rails...Start with the bottom drawer, and like the above install the drawer box. Use shims for the underside of the front and the sides, and press the front onto the drawer box. Remove the drawer and front as above, and install two screws from inside the box into the drawer front. Then, put that drawer back into the opening, and use shims on top of the first drawer front to align the second one up.

Or, you can install all the drawer boxes, and starting from the bottom, apply the shims for alignment, start stacking all the drawer fronts (with shims) and press them on. Carefully remove them one at a time and install screws from the inside.

You can also use drawer front adjusters like these. With them, you drill out one hole in the face of the box, and insert the adjuster. It allows concentric movement with the drawer front. In lieu of buying these, you could just make a slightly oversized hole in the front of the drawer box, and use a screw and washer.

NOTE...When drawers are installed in a cabinet, their drawer front alignment can be racked if the cabinet is not sitting flat and square. IOW, if you installed all the drawers and fronts with it sitting on your floor, or bench, it could sit differently where it is finally placed. You can see the shift in alignment if you just lift one of the corners at a time.

Because of this, it is at times a good idea to make that final alignment once the cabinet is set. If the cabinet gets screwed to the wall, the method of shimming one corner could bring all the fronts into alignment.




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Last edited by cabinetman; 12-07-2012 at 08:14 AM. Reason: Changed indemnify to border.
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post #6 of 20 Old 12-07-2012, 07:17 AM
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If you don't want to shoot a nail through the drawer face, try some double sided carpet tape. It works well. Sticky as hell.
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post #7 of 20 Old 12-07-2012, 08:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabinetman View Post
I first install the drawer box(s) in the opening(s). They may or may not be perfectly centered on the opening, but that doesn't matter. You may have two conditions to deal with. One may be that there are cross rails that indemnify each drawer, or, that the drawers are a stack with no cross rails.

If there are cross rails...When the drawer is in the opening and pushed to a closed position, you can determine the spacing and use shims to center the drawer front. Use a couple of strips of double sided tape vertically on the the front of the box. The tape can be the thin carpet type, not the foam type that has some thickness. Set the front in with the shims and press the front against the box. Then very carefully, remove the drawer with the front, place the front face down and insert two screws.
If there are no cross rails...Start with the bottom drawer, and like the above install the drawer box. Use shims for the underside of the front and the sides, and press the front onto the drawer box. Remove the drawer and front as above, and install two screws from inside the box into the drawer front. Then, put that drawer back into the opening, and use shims on top of the first drawer front to align the second one up.

Or, you can install all the drawer boxes, and starting from the bottom, apply the shims for alignment, start stacking all the drawer fronts (with shims) and press them on. Carefully remove them one at a time and install screws from the inside.

You can also use drawer front adjusters like these. With them, you drill out one hole in the face of the box, and insert the adjuster. It allows concentric movement with the drawer front. In lieu of buying these, you could just make a slightly oversized hole in the front of the drawer box, and use a screw and washer.

NOTE...When drawers are installed in a cabinet, their drawer front alignment can be racked if the cabinet is not sitting flat and square. IOW, if you installed all the drawers and fronts with it sitting on your floor, or bench, it could sit differently where it is finally placed. You can see the shift in alignment if you just lift one of the corners at a time.

Because of this, it is at times a good idea to make that final alignment once the cabinet is set. If the cabinet gets screwed to the wall, the method of shimming one corner could bring all the fronts into alignment.









.
That's how I do it

Roger from the Great Horicon Swamp
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post #8 of 20 Old 12-07-2012, 10:39 AM
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I start by installing the drawer boxes and glides making sure that the box fronts are in the same plane as the cabinet front. The vertical and horizontal alignment doesn't have to be perfect, but if the box front isn't co-planer, the drawer front won't make even contact. Removing the back and working from the back makes the alignment work fairly easy. When the boxes are in, I can do the fronts.

If the fronts get knobs or pulls, I start by marking and drilling the screw holes. With the holes drilled, I align the fronts using spacers, shims, etc so they're where they need to be on the cabinet front and run screws thru the knob/pull holes to "clamp" the front to the box. Remove the drawer and use screws from the inside to attach the front to the box. Remove the drawer carefully so you don't shift the position of the front on the box.

If the fronts don't get knobs or pulls, I go thru the same alignment process and shoot a few 23 ga pins thru the front to hold it in place while I remove the drawer (very carefully) and screw fron the inside. I don't like using pins or brads in drawer fronts, but the pins are usually invisible. I've tried double sided tape, but it either left the front slightly proud of where it should be (due to the thickness of the tape), or a bit "spongy" on the drawer box.
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post #9 of 20 Old 12-07-2012, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave66 View Post
I start by installing the drawer boxes and glides making sure that the box fronts are in the same plane as the cabinet front.
For an inset drawer front, the drawer box has to be set back from the front of the cabinet the thickness of the false add on front. This is done with proper positioning of the cabinet slide member.






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post #10 of 20 Old 12-07-2012, 03:20 PM
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i do cabinetman's method with double face tape and shims, with one addition. i add weight to the drawer first, and try to spread the weight around to 4 corners. this makes sure the slop in the rails is taken up - in the gravity mode - before the face is attached.
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post #11 of 20 Old 12-07-2012, 05:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimPa View Post
i do cabinetman's method with double face tape and shims, with one addition. i add weight to the drawer first, and try to spread the weight around to 4 corners. this makes sure the slop in the rails is taken up - in the gravity mode - before the face is attached.
If you feel that there is slop in the hardware, do a test. Install the hardware and slide in a drawer box. You wouldn't need to move it in or out more than one time. When its seated, make a mark for the height of the front on the stiles or vertical edge of the cabinet. Then add your weight and see if the height changes.

IMO, once the drawer rolls, there shouldn't be any slop. I haven't found that to be a problem. For inset drawers I allow 3/32", and if there was slop it would be pretty obvious I would think. If you do get slop, it could be from using the adjustment holes and not having the screws tight. Or just not having all the screws tight.

It's easy to create failure in a screws' holding power, especially if you use a cordless drill to install them. If the screw is driven at speed to tighten, all it takes is an extra turn or two at the point of bottoming out to strip the threads in the wood. I use a cordless on the slowest speed, and when near tight, just to bump the trigger to pull it up.







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post #12 of 20 Old 12-07-2012, 06:00 PM
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+ 1 with Cabinetman. Double sided tape works wonders with manny things...

I also like to get machine screws long enough to go through both the drawer box and my front plus a 1/4" to attach my handles. That way there's that little extra strength on the handle.
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post #13 of 20 Old 12-07-2012, 06:05 PM
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+ 1 with Cabinetman. Double sided tape works wonders with manny things...

I also like to get machine screws long enough to go through both the drawer box and my front plus a 1/4" to attach my handles. That way there's that little extra strength on the handle.
You can get extra long screws for metric or SAE that have break aways every ľ".
http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?p...0away%20screws




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post #14 of 20 Old 12-07-2012, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabinetman View Post

You can get extra long screws for metric or SAE that have break aways every ľ".
http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?p...0away%20screws




.
I've tried brass versions of those at work, and man...do they break easy. You definately need to be carefull with those things. Especially if you're using expensive hardware.
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post #15 of 20 Old 12-07-2012, 06:39 PM
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the drawer box has to be set back from the front of the cabinet the thickness of the false add on front
Oops, you're right. I wrote that in a hurry. I've done a few hundred inset drawers, but that little detail slipped my mind. The important thing is to get the box "flat" relative to the cabinet front.


Quote:
I also like to get machine screws long enough to go through both the drawer box and my front
Most of the pulls or knobs I've bought recently have come with both 1" and 1.5" screws. Sure makes life easier. - lol

Last edited by Dave66; 12-07-2012 at 06:43 PM.
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post #16 of 20 Old 12-08-2012, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
The drawer guides need a 1/2" clearance so there would be a 1/16" gap between the drawer front and the cabinet.
I was always taught to leave a 1/2" clearance for slides, and it never failed me....untill I tried the Accuride soft closing slides. We left the standard 1" differance between the drawer and the opening, and they were too tight.

Our engineer decided to call them, and was told to leave a 1 1/16" differance for "smoother operation".

This is the first time I've heard of this. I've tried it a few times, and it works pretty well.
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post #17 of 20 Old 12-08-2012, 07:30 AM
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I was always taught to leave a 1/2" clearance for slides, and it never failed me....untill I tried the Accuride soft closing slides. We left the standard 1" differance between the drawer and the opening, and they were too tight.

Our engineer decided to call them, and was told to leave a 1 1/16" differance for "smoother operation".

This is the first time I've heard of this. I've tried it a few times, and it works pretty well.
Instructions that come with side mounted slides recommend 1/2" + 1/32" per side clearance. This amounts to 1 1/16", or 17/16" (for those that like to count little marks), for the drawer opening. In a perfect world with a perfect cabinet opening, a 1/2" may be adequate. But as we all know, the world isn't perfect, and cabinet openings aren't always either. That extra 1/32" on each side can allow for shimming for non parallel sides or other imperfections which would ordinarily spoil your day.





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post #18 of 20 Old 12-08-2012, 07:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabinetman View Post

Instructions that come with side mounted slides recommend 1/2" + 1/32" per side clearance. This amounts to 1 1/16", or 17/16" (for those that like to count little marks), for the drawer opening. In a perfect world with a perfect cabinet opening, a 1/2" may be adequate. But as we all know, the world isn't perfect, and cabinet openings aren't always either. That extra 1/32" on each side can allow for shimming for non parallel sides or other imperfections which would ordinarily spoil your day.




.
I agree. Usually we don't get the intruction sheets at work. I guess because they're bought by the case. I've never bought them individually.
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post #19 of 20 Old 12-08-2012, 09:12 AM
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+1 with Cabinetman on this thread. Lots of good instruction on installing fronts & slides, which can be a tedious process at first.
I use Accuride side mounted full extension slides at work frequently, and always make the box 1 1/32" light of the opening. This way if I'm off a fuzz when I cut them I don't end up over 1 1/16". Any more than that and the slides won't operate right. It's always a good idea to check your particular slides' clearances before building drawer boxes. 1/16" can really hurt here...
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post #20 of 20 Old 12-08-2012, 10:28 AM
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Any more than that and the slides won't operate right.
I measure the opening width at both the front and back of the drawer and make my boxes slightly smaller (~1/16") than needed for the smallest width. Most side mount, full extension, glides have their mounting holes in "tabs" that can be bent if needed to correct for not-quite-square cabinets. I've found that really helpful if I'm putting new drawers in old cabinets.

A small flat bar can be used to bend the tab and align the box, then a shim can be used to keep it in place. On one project, I corrected for almost 1/4" of misalignment.
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