The problem with the drawer in the first photo, is simply that a 'but joint' was used. A 'but joint' pretty much means that two flat pieces of wood were stuck up next to each other and glued together. In the case of this drawer, nails were also used to re-enforce the area. In my last post I told you how much better it is to have two flat pieces glued together than having flat piece glued to a contoured piece. That is still true, but in the case of a drawer, which is constantly being pulled on, extra measures should be taken to ensure the joint does not come apart.
|Dove Tail Joint|
So now, a few examples of a drawer joint, done right! My first example is of a 'dovetail joint'. This is the most commonly used (good) 'right angle' joint used today. The benefits are that a well made dovetail interlocks giving extra stability to the joint. Also, the way they are designed, as you pull the drawer face out, the dove tails bring the sides of the drawer out with it. A disadvantage to this design is that as the wood shrinks with age, or dry weather, the wood can begin to separate and can eventually come apart. We do get this kind of joint in for repair from time to time.
|Pin and Cove Joint|
So if you are out shopping for a new bureau or kitchen cabinetry, check out the corners of those drawers. You at least want to see a dovetail pattern, but if you see a pin and cove pattern, snatch that find up! You not only have a rare piece of American craftsmanship, but you have a piece of furniture which will stay together for a very long time!