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size/thickeness of drawer spacer

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Forum topic by jimmyhopps posted 04-13-2016 06:20 PM 487 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jimmyhopps

222 posts in 1842 days


04-13-2016 06:20 PM

I’m building the entry table shown in the first picture. The top is about 40×10 and each of the drawers is about 14×4.

My question is regarding the size/thickness of the stretcher pieces that surround the drawer. Smaller is better for this design. Is 1/2” (high for the horizontal pieces, and wide for the vertical pieces – the lighter color in the pics) too small? the pieces are about 1” deep front to back. I would attach them to the stronger support pieces (shown in white) which i plan to attach to the top and rear stretcher. hopefully no sagging.

Thoughts?


5 replies so far

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HokieKen

1750 posts in 601 days


#1 posted 04-13-2016 07:16 PM

I would say your design should be fine. You’re basically making a face frame if I understand correctly. As long as your top is thick/stable enough for whatever will be sitting on it over that 40” span I wouldn’t think sagging would be an issue.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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jimmyhopps

222 posts in 1842 days


#2 posted 04-13-2016 08:21 PM

Thanks. I’m sure the top won’t sag.

But i’m more concerned about the drawers pushing the center runner down and pulling the front stretcher down with it.

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JBrow

818 posts in 383 days


#3 posted 04-14-2016 02:40 AM

jimmyhopps,

I have some thoughts, shared below. However, you may find the answer to your question by using the Sagulator, a calculator that estimates deformation of wood under load:

http://www.woodbin.com/calcs/sagulator/

Unifying the structural elements would, I think, strengthen the front stretchers by making the drawer support structure act as a single structure. If the front stretchers, the sub-stretchers, the center drawer divide, and the back wide rail are joined firmly together, sufficient strength would probably exist to support the pair of these relatively small drawers. Since this is a hall table, I doubt the drawers would ever carry significant weight. As drawn, the center divide implies end-grain joinery, which if only glued, would be a weak joint. Downward force applied to the front stretchers (sagging force) would impart a shearing force along the back rail and center divide joint or a pivoting force on the center divide with the pivot point at the bottom of the center divide at the back rail. The back rail and the center divide, it seems, are critical components, so the joinery associated with these elements is key to any strength derived from these two elements.

The method of joining the narrow stretchers to the legs is not clear from your description. These could possibly be weak areas, for example if the legs are abused by dragging the table along the floor. These areas could perhaps be strengthened by increasing the height of the end components of the sub-structure to that of the center divide.

I do not understand physics well enough to know whether a box beam type of design for the drawer cavities would do anything to add to the load carrying capacity of the structure, but I think it might. This box beam structure would house the drawers and have two ends, a center divide, back rail, and front sub-structure (much like what is shown) with ½” plywood setting under and over the drawer cavity (rabbet joinery to keep things flush). Tying these elements together so they act as a single structure may impart a little more anti-sag insurance by transferring more load to the legs, away from the center of the front stretchers.

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jimmyhopps

222 posts in 1842 days


#4 posted 04-14-2016 02:15 PM

Excellent feedback JBrow. I think i will incorporate some of this feedback. I’m not sure what you mean by box beam, but i think it makes a lot of sense to have a side to side support piece (red in pic) added to effectively be a second lower stretcher in the front bottom. i could pocket hole this to the orange piece which would be solidly attached to the side streatchers/legs. Also, the vertical center support (yellow) could pocket hole to the drawer divider and the top

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JBrow

818 posts in 383 days


#5 posted 04-14-2016 04:40 PM

jimmyhopps,

The red supporting stretcher should add resistance to deflection of the front bottom drawer stretcher. Since the drawers are fairly small, there should not be a lot of downward force, even when stuff is in the drawers. This additional support may be enough.

As I said, I am not sure how much additional strength would be derived from a box beam design for the interior of the drawer cavities. But if all components are firmly attached one to the other, it could enhance the structure. Functioning as a single unit, force is distributed throughout the entire box beam structure – at least that is my understanding of this structure. The ½” plywood top and bottom of the beam would be flush with the upper and lower surfaces of the front drawer stretchers so they cannot be seen after the top is installed and the project is complete. Screwing the top of the box beam in place with no glue would make it removable for access to the drawer cavities from above. The top of the box beam would also offer points of attachment for the top. The included drawing depicts what I am referring to as a box beam; maybe it is properly called something else.

You mentioned pocket screwing things together. I do not use pocket screws, but from what I understand, this method is very strong and I would think would work well. However, you mentioned pocket screwing the top in place. I also noticed the lower two shelves are let into the legs; a nice design detail. If the top and the shelves are edge banded plywood, wood movement should not be much of a problem. However, if the top and shelves are solid wood, I assume the attaching methods will accommodate wood movement of these solid wood panels.

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