Study Desk (Part 4)

Assembling the Drawers

Assemble the drawers by fastening the sides to the back and front pieces. Then fasten the bottom to square it up completely. Sides may be fastened with #4 finish nails, preferably galvanized. Bottom may be fastened with 1¼” nails with heads. The drawers are basically simple butt joint boxes. The bottoms are simply nailed on and are securely supported by the bottom mount drawer slides.

Note: If you been learning woodworking for any time you have seen many different methods for making drawers. Some fairly simple while other quite complex. The method I describe may seem over simplified since it basically involves butt joints without joinery. Naturally, you can build drawers any way you choose but I’ve always used this simple method and reinforced it with glue and angled nails during assembly. After building hundreds of cabinets and furniture pieces with unknown numbers of drawers, I was never called back for any kind of drawer repair. I suggest that you keep it simple as described in the instructions unless you’d like to impress others with your joinery prowess.

Installing the Drawers

When the finish is completely dry, install the drawer slides. The drawer sections of the slide set are installed by screwing them to the bottom of the drawer flush to the front edge with the roller to the rear. The desk section of the slide should be installed directly on top of Part C and recessed 1\16” back from the front edge of Part C. These sections should be installed on the inside of both Parts A and on both sides of Part D. Make sure the manufacturers name is right side up when installing them. If you don’t know how to install these drawer slides, get details from your supplier. Blum has a highly instructive catalog that provides valuable details on all their products.

After the slides are installed, put the drawers into the desk to make certain they work well and ride solidly on the rollers. If one side or the other is springy, you will need to correct this before the drawer front is installed. Leave one side screw in place on the cabinet section of the slide and remove the other two. Adjust the slide section up or down to compensate for the problem. To avoid this problem completely, take care to install the cabinet section of the slide square with the front edge of the desk.

Install the drawer front on the drawer unit. Drill two 3/16” holes in each side of the front section of the drawer unit. Position them 1” in from the sides; center them from the top and bottom. Drive two small nails next to each of the holes. Drive these nails from the inside of the drawer unit so the protrude slightly (about 1/16”) on the outside. Close the drawer. Lightly mark the exact center point of the desk where the drawers will meet. Align the left drawer front to the front section of the drawer unit. There should be a 1/8” space from the top edge of

Part A This can be checked by placing a level across from one Part A to the other. This will take the place of the desktop. You should also have a 1/8” space to the left side of the drawer front from Part A and a 1/16” space from the centerline. These spaces are approximate, but they should not be too tight as they may rub and cause the finish to wear.

Once the drawer front is properly aligned, press firmly against the drawer unit so that the protruding nails pierce the drawer front and keep it from sliding around while you are fastening it. Maintain pressure on the drawer front while you reach into the drawer and drive two 1” screws into the holes. For additional strength you may use 1 ¼” screws with washers to avoid piercing the face of the drawer front. Follow the same procedure for the right hand drawer front. This will leave a 1/8” space between the drawers. Once both fronts are installed, operate the drawers to be sure that the clearances are maintained.

The Desk Top

The final piece needed to complete your study desk is the top or Part L. There are various ways to complete and finish this desktop. I like plastic laminate over plywood because it provides such a smooth, easy to clean surface. You can also leave the desktop natural using iron-on veneer edging or, better yet, solid wood edging. A solid edging could be left square or could be rounded. You can also purchase a ¾” wood molding to apply to the edge. Or even use a combination of laminate and solid wood edges. I opted for plastic laminate and instructions for installing this laminate product is included in this blog in the Simplified Methods section.

To laminate the top, first laminate the edges on all four sides. These edges must be trimmed and sanded before applying the top piece. After the edge laminate is complete, fasten the top to the desk. The simplest way to do this is with screws. I use 2” drywall screws. Place the top on the desk, making sure it is centered all around. There should be a ¼” overlap on all four sides. Measure this overlap from the front, back, and sides of Parts A. Once the top is in place, drill six 3/16” holes so that there are two holes over each Part A and Part D. The holes should be approximately 1½” from the front and back edges of these parts. Reach under the top and lightly mark all four corners with a pencil. Remove the top and apply a thin line of glue along the top edge of Part B, Part D and both Parts A Replace the top making certain to align the pencil marks in each corner. Drive the six screws until they are slightly countersunk into the surface. It is important that the heads of these screws be below the surface of the wood to avoid interfering with the laminate. Immediately after driving the screws, check for any glue ooze and clean it with a damp cloth. Now laminate the top. This will cover all the screws and complete your project.

Questions? Contact me at bill@papas-woodshop.com . Thanks.

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