Join the Understructure

Build Drawers

Make and Attach the Drawer Glides

Woodturning and Woodworking - Advanced Project


Join the Understructure then Build Drawers

Before you begin to build drawers, you should join the understructure. As soon as I have joined an apron and leg using wood glue, I put three finishing nails (on the inside, out of sight) through the tenon and the leg to reinforce the joint.
Picture #1 shows you where I put the nails.

In Picture #2, notice that the side apron is smaller than the back apron. I did this because this side apron is mounted on the crosspiece where the shorter table legs are located. (As I have stated earlier, this table top is an old log cabin door and it has a crosspiece where I had to put two of the table legs. Wanting to keep the door as it was as much as I could, I left the crosspiece in place and shortened the legs to be able to level the table.) I then notched the larger front and back aprons to fit on the crosspiece.

Picture #3 shows you that I have completed joining the aprons and legs. I glued and placed finishing nails in each joint, and then I placed the understucture in clamps to keep it square until all of the joints have set up.

Picture #1 - Finishing nails reinforcing mortise tenon joinery.

Picture of  reinforcing mortise and tenon joint with finishing nails.

Picture #2 - Table aprons joined to table legs.

Picture of aprons joined to table leg using mortise and tenon joinery.

Picture #3 - Table Understructure glued, joined and in clamps.

Picture of table understructure glued up and in clamps.


Pictures 4 and 5 - Align and Mount Understructure on underside of tabletop.

It is easier to work on the next part of this project with the table upside down. I have removed the clamps and placed the understructure on the bottom side of the table top as you can see in Picture #4. I have centered it lengthwise and, because I am going to build drawers for worktable storage, I have a 4" overhang on the drawer side. Picture #5 shows you the screw strips that I have used to mount the understructure to the top. I glued three wood strips to the table top and the adjoining aprons and then I screwed the strips to the top. Notice that I did not mount a screw strip at the front of the table.

Finally, the two strips of wood that you see lying on the table top from the drawer hole to the back apron will be mounted on center from each hole to keep the drawer from tilting when it is pulled open. (The back of the drawer will rub against those pieces.) These strips will be glued and screwed to the table top.

Picture #4 - Align the Understructure.

Picture of table understructure positioned on bottom of old door/table top.

Picture #5 - Use screw strips on the back and sides for a table with drawers.

Picture of drawer braces being attached to underside of old door.



Build Drawers

To build drawers for this table, I used basic box-drawer construction with an applied drawer head. Each drawer is
3/4"x6 1/2"x18" long and 3/4"x6 1/2"x13" wide. The applied drawer heads measure 1"x7 1/2"x16".

Make the Drawer Head (Picture #6 - Picture #9)

Picture #6 shows you the beginning of an oak drawer head that I will apply to the front of the box drawer. First I saw out a rough-sawed board the length and width that I want. Next, I run the edge of the board across the jointer (Picture #7) to get it straight. After I have done that, I will take the board over to the table saw and cut it to the exact width that I want. All that remains for this part of making the drawer head is for me to plane the board (Picture #8) until I have it the thickness that I want.

Picture #6 - Begin the Drawer Head.

Picture of rough-sawed board for making a drawer head.

Picture #7 - Straighten the edges using a jointer.

Picture of running edge of board on jointer.

Picture #8 - Plane the drawer head.

Picture of planing oak board for drawer head.


Rout Drawer Head

Picture #9 shows me routing the edges of the drawer head. I simply choose the router bit that will produce the shape that I want. I like to put my router in a vise so that I can rout the drawer head on top of it rather than run the router around the drawer head. This is strictly a matter of choice - use whatever method you are most comfortable using.

I rout the inside edges of the box drawer (Picture #10) using a cove bit. I rout the outside on three sides only (Picture #11), leaving the face as is where I will mount the drawer head. This will result in a round surface on the top of the drawer.

Picture #12 shows you the completed box drawer and mounted drawer head.

Picture #9 - Routing the Drawer Head.

Picture of routing the drawer head.

Picture #10 - Rout inside edges of drawer using a cove bit.

Picture of routed inside edges of box drawer.

Picture #11 - Rout outside edges of drawer.

Picture of routing outside edges of box drawer.

Picture #12 - Mount the Drawer Head.

Picture of  drawer head mounted on box drawer.


Picture #13 - Fit Box Drawers in the Understructure.

Once I have both box drawers built, I put them in the table so that I can determine where to locate the drawer glides (runners). They will stay level because of the strips (see Picture #5) that I have already glued and screwed to the table top.

Picture of fitting box drawers in table undertsructure.

Make and Attach Drawer Glides (Runners)

Picture #14 - Picture #18 (Drawer Glides)

Picture #14 shows me working on a drawer glide. You can see that I am running the sander through a cove. The reason for the cove is that the back apron on the table is not as wide as the front apron, so I don't want the back of the glide to stick out at the back of the drawer. To avoid this I have cut it out as you can see here. Picture #15 shows Cody, my shop assistant, and me fitting the four drawer glides (two per drawer) in the proper position to facilitate the smooth operation of the drawers. Picture #16 shows you the mounted drawer glides.

Picture #14 - Sand Cove in Drawer Glide

Picture of sanding the cove on the back end of the drawer glide.

Picture # 15 - Mount Drawer Glides on table understructure.

Picture of Frank and Cody mounting the drawer glides.

Picture #16 - View of drawers and mounted drawer glides with coves.

Picture of cove end of mounted drawer glides.

Picture #17 - Positioning of screw blocks used to mount drawer glides.

Picture of front and back of drawer glides mounted on table aprons.

In Picture #17, above, notice the vertical screw block at the front of the table. I put glue on the block and then screwed it to the apron using two screws. I then placed one screw through the block into the drawer glide. At the back of the table, where the cove is located, I glued a horizontal block then screwed it to the apron, again using two screws. Then, I put one screw through the narrow end of the cove into the block. This picture gives you a good view of how much of the drawer will be exposed at the back of the table - that is, if you got down on the floor and looked at the back of the table.

Picture #18 gives you a good view of the rear mountings of the door glides.

Picture #18 - Horizontal Screw Blocks used to mount drawer glides.

Picture of screw block used to mount cove end of drawer glide.

Picture #19 - Completed Drawers and Drawer Glides.

Picture of underside of drawer in table understructure.

This last picture in this set, #19, shows you the drawers mounted on the glides. Of course, the table is still upside down, but you can see that the drawers do not tilt, and they operate smoothly (you will just have to take my word for that).

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