Introduction: How to Reproduce a Curved Furniture Drawer
This was an experiment on reproducing a missing curved face drawer from a piece of furniture. I was hesitant to take on this project. It was outside my skill level. I know there was a correct way to tackle this but I was limited on what tools I had available as well as a lack of experience. No local cabinet shop would help this lady reproduce her drawer. I absolutely love a challenge, so I agreed to give it a shot. On top of the challenge, the budget was miniscule so I would have to use scrap I had available.
I initially thought I might jig saw or bandsaw a stack of boards the same height of the drawer face. I would then either veneer the face and/or use several coats of filler to smooth it all out. It turns out that five 2” x 4” boards stacked were a match. They were as wide as needed as well.
Safety first! Always wear a dust mask, hearing protection and safety glasses.
2" x 4" pine
1/8" birch plywood
scrap 1"x 8" pine and scrap 3/4" plywood
3/4" square trim
1/2" square trim used to make the track
stain, finish, laquer spray and various toner sprays
3/4" decorative trim for the face
Pocket hole jig
Various hand tools (screw driver, hammer, chisel etc.)
Step 1: Step 1
I used a matching drawer as reference and as a template. I traced the curve of the face along the length of the first board. Using a jigsaw, I cut out the face side only. I realized I only needed the face to show and would add to the difficulty if I cut both sides out. With one side flat and square, I would more easily be able to build the drawer box to match. Well, I hit my first snag. I used the first cut board as a template. The second board just wasn't a perfect replica and I knew cutting all would really lead to extra challenges later. I decided to stay with just two but to build the face with 1/8” birch plywood laminated to the two boards I cut. Success! Not perfect but it will work. I cut the plywood to the width I needed and slightly longer than necessary. I used a generous amount of glue on one board and slowly clamped the plywood to it, straightening as I went (the clamps make the wood “walk” a little as you tighten them). After that dried, I took the other cut board and repeated the steps for gluing and clamping. I one thing I noticed in hind site, you can use the pieces you cut away as forms to help clamp the plywood. That way the clamps have a square surface to work with.
Step 2: Step 2
After the top and bottom of the drawer face was dry, I cut boards to fit in each end and clamped and/ or nailed them in place. I then cut a board to fill the void in the back of the drawer face. I regularly checked alignment with the original drawer. I used some scrap to make a spacer so that the face would line up while I checked parts. The face on the new drawer is extra deep. However, when in place it is not noticable. I started on the drawer box next. I did not make a traditional drawer box because of the approach I was taking. I cut the two sides and back piece from left over 3/4” scraps. Most boxes are 1/2” but I had lots of 3/4” and I wanted materials that were easier to work with. I rounded the edges with a router. On the fronts of the side pieces I made pocket holes to attach the face with. The back was attached to the sides with glue and nails. I then used pocket screws to attach the face to the assembled sides. 3/4” trim was glued and nailed inside the drawer box all the way around to support the bottom that was but from more of the 1/8” birch plywood. The bottom was inserted from the top and glued into place and attached with 5/8” screws.
Step 3: Step 3
I have never added curving trim before in this manner. I cut stock trim that resemble the trim on the face of the drawer that I had left over from a previous project. The ends were fine but I again over sized the long pieces slightly to adapt to the curve. I measured with a cloth tape and added approx. 1/2” to the length. Having read on Instructables (I'll try to find the author to thank properly and add full credit!) I put my long pieces of trim into the mop sink and let them soak for at least 30 minutes. I took one at a time and dried them off, added glue and clamped them into place. I repeated the step with the other piece. I use the side pieces as guides for the spacing and held them in place with tape.
Step 4: Step 4
At this point I filled holes and gaps and gave everything a good sanding. I clear coated the box with three coats of water based poly. I stained the face with a walnut stain. After it dried I gave it a couple coats of finish. I then took out various colors of toner spray and started trying to color match. The piece was an odd color and difficult to match. When I felt like I was close, I gave it a light distressed sanding to more match the grain pattern on the original drawer. I finished with about ten coats of Deft semi gloss laquer spray. Overall the match was pretty good.
Step 5: Step 5
The drawer uses a single track located on the underside. A very common design. Common except that the parts used are not available locally. Lowes and HomeDepot had similar but ultimately unusuable parts. Arrgh! So, like the rest of the drawer, the entire underside track was hand made a piece at a time. I cut a matching spacer at the back of the drawer and hollowed out the center spot at the front to match. My drawer face was deeper than the original so I had to allow for the track to advance into that space a bit. The track was at an angle and too small for me to router. I hand sanded each side down to the angle it resembled and glued them into place. After that it was finished. Although the color is not exactly a match, it blends into the large piece of furniture nicely ( no large gaping hole where a drawer should be). Updating all the hardware will help the piece blend in even better.
I hope this was helpful. If you liked this I hope you will vote for it in the Furniture Hacks contest! Please let me know if you have any comments. Thanks for reading my Instructable!