Question On Drawer Fitting

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Forum topic by ChuckV posted 10-02-2010 10:19 PM 1047 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3183 posts in 3760 days

10-02-2010 10:19 PM

Topic tags/keywords: drawer fitting


I am completing a small hanging wall box. There is a lid on top over a small bin. Below the bin, there is a drawer. Without the drawer, it looks like this:

I left the drawer just a little tight. Now I am doing the final fitting. I installed the back of the box this morning. After that, the drawer starting having a lot of resistance going in and out because of the air pressure. The back of the drawer is acting as a piston. It is not binding against the enclosure, and goes in and out pretty well if done very slowly so that the air has a chance to escape or enter.

I have never made anything that has a drawer in an enclosed chamber like this.

Should I drill some holes in the back of the box behind the drawer? (This box is meant to hang against a wall from a peg.) Or should I shave down the back of the drawer? I really do not want to do that, and I think that the same problem would happen when the front of the drawer started to go in.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

5 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8548 posts in 3882 days

#1 posted 10-02-2010 10:36 PM

I usually leave the back of the drawer undersized (height wise) exactly for this purpose. this lets the air through the drawer out the opening as the drawer is closing – then you only have a bit of piston action when the drawer is fully closed.

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View Jim Crockett (USN Retired)'s profile

Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 3966 days

#2 posted 10-02-2010 10:37 PM

I’m no expert but I think what you are dealing with is what is known as a “piston fit”. If it were me, I think I would drill a couple of unobtrusive holes in the back to allow the pressure to escape. Your drawer will still fit tightly but you won’t experience the problem you now have when inserting the drawer or pushing it shut. You might need to install a couple of small stand-offs on the outside of the back to provide a gap between the wall and the wall box.


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View ChuckV's profile


3183 posts in 3760 days

#3 posted 10-03-2010 12:25 AM

Thanks for the ideas. I think I will go for the drilling at this point.

This is going to hang from a peg on a rail that already has a larger hanging cabinet that I made. Since the rail is about 3/4” proud of the wall, I plan to install some stand-offs just as I did for the hanging cabinet.

Maybe I should drill the holes in some pattern that looks like it means something and let my descendants try to figure out what I was doing :-)

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View ShannonRogers's profile


540 posts in 4021 days

#4 posted 10-04-2010 08:35 PM

Is the bottom of the drawer flush with the sides? Usually my bottom panel is set in a groove about 1/4” up from the bottom and that space created on the bottom of the drawer allow space for the air to flow. I can’t tell from the photo but it doesn’t look that big so hopefully wood movement won’t be a big problem with a fit so perfect. Let us know next summer what happens.

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View ChuckV's profile


3183 posts in 3760 days

#5 posted 10-05-2010 01:44 AM

Shannon -

Yes, the drawer bottom is is rabbeted and set in a groove such that it is above the bottom of the drawer. I think that the “piston” is the back of the drawer.

When I fit the drawer in my wide-open-to-the-elements shop. it was a very goopy, humid day. It think that the fit is as tight as it will get.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

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