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Are kitchen drawers ever not glued together?

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Forum topic by ColonelTravis posted 01-13-2018 09:35 PM 746 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ColonelTravis

1877 posts in 2014 days


01-13-2018 09:35 PM

Topic tags/keywords: drawer glue

Friend’s drawer in the kitchen came apart and he asked me – can you put it together? I said, of course. When I looked at it, I didn’t see any remnant of glue anywhere in any joint. Every side was falling apart. It was part of a set of nice cherry cabinets and drawers, machined dovetail sides. Bottom board was a bit too thin for my taste but overall well done. it seemed to me that whoever was making the drawer that day just had a brain freeze and forgot to glue anything. I didn’t see nail gun staples anywhere, either. But why would you staple dovetailed parts?

Friend said – can we try it without glue? I said, sure, but my work will come with a guarantee that it will come apart again. He is insistent to not use glue. Why? I have no idea. Since I am not a pro cabinet maker I didn’t know for sure, but am I wrong that drawers, especially in the kitchen because they are used so much with heavy stuff in them, are always glued?

I repaired a couple large drawers in our kitchen that had come apart- glued the heck out of them. Sturdy as tanks now.


20 replies so far

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Loren

10477 posts in 3768 days


#1 posted 01-13-2018 09:47 PM

Darn robots forgot the glue.

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woodman88

144 posts in 2769 days


#2 posted 01-13-2018 09:51 PM

I Live in the heart of Amish country which everyone thinks amish means quality.I know different. I recently made a mission style bed for a friend and in the middle of the build he brought 2 drawers to me because they were coming apart. They were dovetailed with no glue but they did have staples. why would you do dovetails and not glue them. The 1/4 in bottoms were stapled from the bottom not in a dado. So theres your amish quality. Don’t mean all are that way because there are some that take pride but most is about production.So I glued them up and they were fine.

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ColonelTravis

1877 posts in 2014 days


#3 posted 01-13-2018 09:55 PM

Friend is great guy, little OCD. Seriously, I think his worry is that “glue” = “permanent and if something goes wrong, I’ll have to get a new drawer.”

View HerbC's profile

HerbC

1785 posts in 2979 days


#4 posted 01-13-2018 10:09 PM

Talk him into letting you use hot hide glue, which can be reversed through the application of heat (a little moisture helps speed the process…)

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!" http://lumberjocks.com/HerbC/blog/17090

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Woodknack

12339 posts in 2500 days


#5 posted 01-13-2018 10:25 PM

I would glue it. When someone asks me to do something, they are requesting my expertise. If they want it done their way, they don’t really need me. But yeah, the dovetailed drawers in our kitchen weren’t glued either and most of them came apart, so much for dovetails being a good mechanical joint. I glued them and they have not come apart again.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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pintodeluxe

5741 posts in 2933 days


#6 posted 01-13-2018 10:32 PM

Some cabinet shops brad nail drawer parts together. Usually they feature rabbeted corners.

I theorized that because they use pre-finished plywood for the drawer boxes, glue wouldn’t do much good.

It’s no glued dovetail, but they last surprisingly long and are easy to fix.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View William Shelley's profile

William Shelley

576 posts in 1589 days


#7 posted 01-13-2018 10:39 PM



I would glue it. When someone asks me to do something, they are requesting my expertise. If they want it done their way, they don t really need me. But yeah, the dovetailed drawers in our kitchen weren t glued either and most of them came apart, so much for dovetails being a good mechanical joint.

- Rick_M

Yep. Not sure about others, but for me, I’ve stopped having ANY patience for this stuff. If someone wants to pay me to build or fix something, they don’t get to tell me how to do the job.

Can you imagine the look on your mechanic’s face if you asked him to do all the work left handed because the other mechanic you took your car to last year was left handed? That’s about as much sense as this guy is making with his “no glue” request.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

View woodbutcherbynight's profile

woodbutcherbynight

5545 posts in 2529 days


#8 posted 01-14-2018 12:23 AM

Okay so no glue. Next time when it falls apart explain you are really busy. Tell him leave it with you say 6-7 months and you will slip it in.

LOL

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Desert_Woodworker's profile

Desert_Woodworker

1591 posts in 1334 days


#9 posted 01-14-2018 02:03 AM

+1

-- Desert_Woodworker

View diversity210's profile

diversity210

5 posts in 698 days


#10 posted 01-14-2018 02:16 AM

I have seen cheaply build drawers that do not use glue and instead the drawer sides sit inside of a dado on the face of the drawer and is stapled into that dado. This is just a fast cheap way that factories build drawers years ago to save money. It is not a sound way to do so. If you are going to put the drawer back together for you friends. Use glue and staples.

Little bit of advise though. Stop doing things like this for friends. Especially fastidious friends. It may sound harsh but you take on doing someone a favor and you bare all the responsibility with no reward to yourself. I learned a long time ago to just tell friends and family no for a lot of things they want fixed or made. If you are going to fix the drawer for your friend

View ColonelTravis's profile

ColonelTravis

1877 posts in 2014 days


#11 posted 01-14-2018 05:01 AM

Thanks for the advice everyone.

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

2073 posts in 3064 days


#12 posted 01-14-2018 05:11 AM

Ask your friend if you could hang out with him and advise him how to do his job for a day. You can imagine where that will go.

If he’s a real friend, calling bulls_t shouldn’t be a big deal. Don’t forget the “You can have cheap or you can have quality, but you can’t have both” thing.

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avsmusic1

273 posts in 805 days


#13 posted 01-14-2018 05:49 PM

Id glue it and just not tell him

View William Shelley's profile

William Shelley

576 posts in 1589 days


#14 posted 01-14-2018 06:56 PM

I used to build computers for people. Same story – something goes wrong WAY past the warranty of any of the parts, suddenly the person tracks you down from another country to “take a look at it”, suddenly you’re spending 3+ hours of your time fixing a problem THEY caused, and the person doesn’t want to shell out money to buy a new replacement part so you end up throwing in some old part you had laying around and they balk when you still ask for money for the part. “Oh, but you were going to throw that away so why would you charge me for it?”. Not to mention the labor hours.

My suggestion is to figure out what your “shop time” rate is, and let the person know at the start of the conversation that “I charge a minimum of 1hr of shop time” just to hear their request.

Since I’m not a veteran woodworker, my shop time rate is $25/hr. For computer work, my “tech shop time” is $150/hr. I don’t do much computer work for people anymore, which I’m happy about. People still think that $25/hr for wood shop time is too much and I tell them that if they don’t like it, they can go spend 20 grand on tools and do it themselves.

Do I sound bitter? Maybe. Probably.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

View woodbutcherbynight's profile

woodbutcherbynight

5545 posts in 2529 days


#15 posted 01-14-2018 08:29 PM


Since I m not a veteran woodworker, my shop time rate is $25/hr. For computer work, my “tech shop time” is $150/hr. I don t do much computer work for people anymore, which I m happy about. People still think that $25/hr for wood shop time is too much and I tell them that if they don t like it, they can go spend 20 grand on tools and do it themselves.

Do I sound bitter? Maybe. Probably.

- William Shelley

Try this line I heard at Atlanta Hardwood while shopping. A guy on the other side of the isle asks how much is this board, the reply (have no idea who said it) ”if you have to ask you cannot afford it.”

My Dad and I were crying laughing. To this day we both throw this one out there from time to time. Always a good laugh!

Another one I heard at a friends shop. “The mortgage is due next week, that’s $850 so lets start with that.”

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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