Home Desk – Drawer Framing

Home Desk – Drawer Framing

It is time to make my relatively sad, yet functional, desk a bit more functional and a bit less sad. That’s right, time to add some drawers, and more specifically, some drawer framing. The final desk design has three total drawers. Two drawers to the right of the chair location, and one long drawer above where I’ll sit. The drawers will be inset drawers, which I’ll go into more detail about in the next post.

The first step to adding the drawers was to complete the drawer framing. I added a 1×2” stretcher from the front left leg to the front right leg of the table, using pocket holes to attach it to the leg. This provides the top of the long drawer and one of the drawers on the right. It also helps to strengthen the desk frame and provide support for the eventual top. I then added two pieces of plywood that framed out the outer two drawers of the desk. 

I attached the two pieces of plywood of the right drawer framing to each other before adding it to the rest of the desk. Using pocket holes, I took a lot of care to try and make that joint a perfect right angle. Then, when attaching it to the rest of the desk, I once again did my absolute best to make sure the frame of the drawers was square. Anything out of square would be very obvious in the final product when using inset drawers.

Drawer frames ready to attach to each other. Note the pre drilled pocket holes in the back for attaching to the rest of the desk.
Nothing like a crooked photo for something you want to make square. It was really key at this point to triple check squareness as I attached the framing.
The side drawers all framed out!

It might not be immediately obvious in the photos above, but I added a small detail before building the drawer frame to create a cleaner finished product. I used small off cuts of a 1×2” piece of pine to cover the edge of the plywood. This creates a finished surface and will make it much easier to paint after everything is built.

After cutting the thin pine strips, I glued them to the drawer frame and held them in place with painters tape.
A chisel worked great to make the front trim even with the drawer. I only had to do some light hand sanding after this to make it perfectly even.
Drawer frames with front pine trim ready for assembly.

Next, I added another 1×2” piece of pine as a stretcher in the middle of the drawer frame, to create space for two separate drawers.

Again, I triple checked my measurements to try and center this perfectly.

This left just one last piece of the drawer framing to attach. The bottom of the long drawer in the front. To make sure this was perfectly level to the top of the long drawer, I used a couple of scrap pieces of wood. I cut the scrap to the right height for the drawer, and then used it as a guide to attach each side of the bottom of the drawer frame. 

Using stop blocks or guides whenever possible makes building much easier. As does having a lot of clamps.

That’s it, with the bottom of the long drawer attached, all of the drawer framing is complete. The most complicated part of the build will be covered next week. I’ll go through how I built the drawers, how I built the drawer faces, and how everything got installed to create the inset drawers. In the meantime though, here’s a picture of the desk and drawer framing complete that I took after starting to paint.

Spoiler of the paint color we chose. This is a good photo that shows how the framing is in place for all three drawers.

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