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Thread: Advise requested, Building First Cabinet with Drawers

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Peoria, IL
    Quote Originally Posted by Kenny Southerland View Post
    I finally had a chance to come back to this and wanted to come back and say thank you to everyone for the help.

    Everyone who said the cabinet carcass was out of square was correct. It was very slight. The carcass was narrowing from back to front by appox. 5mm or 3/16th. I have rebuilt the carcass and now have three drawers installed that slide in and out as they are supposed to. Made some different mistakes here and there, but learned a lot along the way. The first two drawers were functional, but not as pretty as I wanted. By the time I got to the third drawer I not only built it correctly for function and ascetics, but I also built it in a reasonable amount of time that didn't force me to take a break due to hunger.

    It took me a while, but I finally found the root cause of my carcass being out of square, other than the fact that I didn't freaking check it. As a part of going back to this I did a tune up of my table saw, which is still new-ish to me, and took it to up a level. I normally would adjust my table saw for 90* with a trisquare. My wife recently bought me one of those digital angle gauges to ensure your saw blade is as perfectly close to the angle desired as possible, and I also bought myself a better quality square from iGaging instead of the $8 one I got at Lowes. I was using the digital gauge and the square together when I noticed the digital gauge said 90*, but the square would show that I had a minute gap between the square and the bottom of the saw blade. After a few minutes I found that my table saw's throat plate was sitting slight proud on one side. It was so small that you couldn't see it, and I couldn't even feel the difference with my hand at 1st. The throat plate sitting tall made my cuts off, so that when I joined the carcass with pocket holes the angles of the joins were off as well.

    Thanks again all.

    Also, @Jim I joined the site for one year this morning.
    You have much to learn Grasshopper. A 3/16" error is even a fair amount off for carpentry work. Isn't there a fair amount of conflict when building a Roubo bench and then using pocket hole screws in the drawer box carcass? Remember a good bench can be a resume for what kind of craftsman you are, and even a reminder for your children or grandchildren who inherit it latter. I don't know how many decimal places your digital equipment has, but it is only 1 decimal point, it could be .09 degrees off before the display moves. The price of a square does not dictate the quality. Checking it in your shop by marking a board and flipping the square over and checking verifies if it is good or not. Keep at it!
    Last edited by Richard Coers; 04-06-2020 at 1:23 PM.

  2. #17
    Ok, I'll admit I thought an error of less than 5mm over 970mm wasn't that much.

    The rubou is a 4x6 roubo, and was my first really big project. If it is a reflection of what kind of crafstman I am then I hope to have to throw it out in a few years.

    The square I have now is good quality and I have verified by doing the scribe and flip check.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Kenny, 4-5mm is a big variance over just 970mm. It's actually pretty major! You did good updating your measuring tools. Also remember that you always measure the diagonals to check for square when clamping up. Both measurements should be the same if you lay the rule/tape the same way across each vector.

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #19
    I was just putting in new drawers a few weeks ago, with the same problems. 19" wide by 26 deep. I decided to use with full extension drawer slides, as I wanted to be able to get to the tools in back, easy. They were binding after I put them in.

    I had checked them corner to corner and they were square at the glue up. I had made the bottoms an extra 1/4" narrow, to make sure they'd fit in the dados when I put them together. I checked with a long rule and found that they had bowed in, along the length of the drawers by that 1/4, as I'd brad nailed them. I had to shim the drawers in the middle, so that the slides ran straight.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    May 2004
    columbia, sc
    i used to mount my drawer slides against the carcass which when you do so you do have to really make sure you box is square. when i recently had to build a lot of cabinets in the house -- where nothing is square -- i decided to use the rear mounting receivers so that only the front of the slide mounted on the stile but that back could move. So much easier. Yes you still need a square box so that the face is flush with face frame but you can move the back of the drawer slides as needed and you are not dependent on the side of the cabinet
    Bob C

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Los Angeles, California
    First, Use two story sticks to measure across the cabinet left to right at the front and at the back. If the measurements are indeed different then I see no reason why you couldn’t shim the drawer guide along the carcass side between the plywood side and the metal drawer slide using two different thicknesses of shims. I like to use veneer.

    Second, some drawer slides are more forgiving than others. Accuride has a wider range for slop than most.

    If this is a traditional wood drawer system, you know with kickers and runners, one could do the same between the case and the doubler if not already fastened.


  7. #22

    Need to Clarify

    @Richard Coers and @Jim Becker

    Sorry, your points are well made.

    I didn't phrase that well with "only". Many years ago I worked in custom art framing. There was a rough ratio we worked off of for square, at least when it came to visual appearance. On an 8x10 portrait the average person could see a frame out of square at little more than 1/32". On a 40x30 poster size frame you get almost get to 1/4" before the average person would notice. Which is why I was thinking "only" a difference of 4-5mm. I think I was working that point of view. Square in woodworking needs to be something different.

    Lesson learned.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Peoria, IL
    I'm never concerned if it looks square. It just has to be for all joinery to be tight and for every bit of work that comes after it to fit. No idea how you made the miters on a picture frame nice and tight, when it was 1/4" out of square. Did you custom cut every miter so it didn't matter if the corner was 90 degrees? Or were you working in aluminum frames and you bent the longer pieces? I never miter anything without a stop on the fence so opposite parts are exactly the same length.

  9. #24
    I found out after leaving that is was a super odd place as far as custom art framing was concerned in that it was an art related place run entirely by lawyers and accountants. We didn't get to cut the frames ourselves, they would do that at the warehouse and then mail the pieces to the store for us to assemble. Let just say the people at the warehouse were not paid well and not cared for; its quite a surprise that people would perform poorly in such conditions.

    We often had to be creative at assembly. If a cut was off bad enough we had a guy with a miter saw he would bring in a we could trim the frame after closing, which at the big box store we were in was after 9pm. On top of that, we weren't licensed be be running cutting machinery in the place, so we couldn't keep the saw there. Our art framing company leased the space from the big box store, so we didn't answer to the big box managers, but they would regularly feel entitled to come back there and tell us how to do our job. My manager would put up with it for so long until he told them to leave. A couple of times got really bad and ended with us collectively telling the big box managers just what anatomical impossibility they should perform on themselves. So with us having such a sterling relationship with the big box managers, they freak out and yell at us when we brought the saw in, so we had to figure out how to sneak it in an out. It was also difficult to sneak the cut and un-assembled frames out of the store as the big box managers would report us for theft, which happened once when the guy took the frame home. So, we had to figure out the tolerances for what we could get away with. This was in the late 90s. I was a teenager at the time and I got the job through the co-op at school. I went to school every morning until 11, then went to the frame shop to work until close. As a high schooler it was amazing. As an adult looking back it was obviously one of the most messed up work situations I had ever seen and I can't decide if it was really all that bad, or if it was just a result of living in "the bad old days"

    You would be surprised what you can patch on a picture frame with the help of elmers wood putty, glue, water, markers, and about 30 colors of framers putty. We could generally make everything look good to the point that customers were very happy with the end product, but we couldn't fix square without a saw and we had to do everything we could not to use the saw.

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