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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 Tail JointsDove 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 Tail JointFrench 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.

Wood Runners

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 furniture.

Metal Runners

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.