Identifying Drawer Construction
When it comes to furniture with drawers, you may be considering the specific type of drawer construction used. Believe it or not, the
way that the drawers are assembled can tell you a lot about the construction of
a whole piece of furniture.
When checking for drawer construction, you'll want to
check how the drawers are joined. For instance the specific type of dove tailing used.
Also, look at the runner system to determine whether metal or wooden runners are
used, the difference will mostly boil down to you personal preferences.
Dove Tail Joints
Dove tailing is a way of assembling a drawer so that the
corners intertwine to provide reinforcement. Dove tail joints are one of
the strongest types of drawer joints. There are two specific types of dove
tailing available: English dove tailing and French dove tailing.
English dove tailing is made of two locking joints. Each
side of the drawer features a set of “fingers” cut out and designed to interlock
when connected. Think of this as a sturdy jigsaw puzzle for your drawers. When
glue is added, this method of drawer construction is sturdy and capable of
lasting through years of use and abuse.
French dove tailing is still stronger than no dove
tailing at all, but less durable than English dove tailing. Instead of a series
of “fingers” being cut out of the wood, French dove tailing uses a slot system.
A slot is cut out of one side of the drawer and cut into another.
This system is
glued in place and used by many less expensive furniture manufacturers today.
Also, this method of drawer construction can decrease the amount of available
space inside of your drawer, which also limits the amount of available storage
that you have in your piece of furniture.
Drawer Runner Systems or Glides
When it comes to runner systems, ensuring that your
drawer will be able to glide in and out freely is incredibly important. There
are two main types of runner systems, those made of wood and those made of
metal. Typically, wood runner systems are preferred over their metal
counterparts, but the quality is always a key.
High quality furniture typically features wooden drawer
runners that allow the drawers to move in and out of the piece. Depending on the
size of the drawer, there may be a center runner to provide extra stability.
This works great in dressers and chests, since it helps to keep the drawers
properly aligned. Furthermore, any drawer runner used in furniture today should
include stops, so that you cannot pull the entire drawer out of your piece of
Metal runners can be beneficial
over their wooden counterparts. If the wooden drawer runners are not properly
installed, opening and closing your drawer can be increasingly difficult.
Furthermore, wooden runners can crack, split, or warp, also causing problems
with moving the drawer.
Most cabinets today have metal drawer runners, but you
should be sure to choose runners that are capable of withstanding the weight of
the drawer plus its contents. Some metal runners have ball bearings in
them making drawers seem to virtually glide on their tracks.