Little jobs that local folk need doing..

Little jobs that local folk need doing..

Repair a loose drawer front.


“You can’t get anyone out to fix these things any more”.

Usually followed by something like:

“There used to be a good carpenter in the village, but he retired.”

I’m told this increasingly often these days.

So, as humidity remains sky-high following the torrential rainfall, guitar building is on hold until it settles back to a stable, low level. To use the time wisely I’m catching up on some:

“Little jobs that local folk need doing..”

This particular little job has left a nice lady bereft of adequate sock storage. So I said:

“Well it needs fixing then, and that’s that.”

Here is the offending article, although an antique, the chest of drawers is of low quality. However, it’s obvious to me that it is of great sentimental value to the owner…


Little jobs that local folk need doing

No chipboard here.

Antique drawer repair

Nice looking brass knob and veneer on the front.

Loose veneer drawer repair.

The veneer is coming detached here.

Antique Drawer repair

The housing joints suffer from several failed repairs.

Antique drawer repair failed housing joint

The lining has shrunk over the years.






There’s lots of play in the housing joints where the linings and drawer front have shrunk back over the decades. The joints have suffered several failures in the past. I’ll start here by scraping away the layers of pva glue and the original cow-hide glue until back to bare wood. It’s likely I’ll need to make up the gaps in the joints with some sycamore veneer that I have for the guitar building. At 0.4mm thick¬† it makes a good packing to tighten the joint. First lets clean up the jointing surfaces..

furniture resturation drawer repair

I start to remove old pva and hide glue from the jointing parts.

furniture restoring drawer front

After the chisel, a cabinet scraper helps gently remove the remains.

furniture repairs drawers

And finally 120 grit sand paper.

furniture repair

Cleaned up ready to glue.

furniture resturation drawer front repair

And now to do the same to the housing, There’s lots of old glue in there…

fix a loose drawer front

I use a long bladed paring chisel here, followed by sanding with a block.

drawer front housing joint

That’s better!

fix a loose drawer front housing joint

There’s just enough play to fit one piece of sycamore veneer to make the joint tight again.

how to repair a loose drawer front

Marking the sycamore.

fix a loose drawer front

It’s a tight fit but will be fine with the glue acting as a lubricant during assembly.













As I suspected there’s just enough room to squeeze one piece of Sycamore veneer into the housing joints, so I cut the veneer to fit and prepare to glue the assembly. Originally the rear corner joints were only pinned, so I opened them slightly and applied pva glue to these joints and the front housing joints before closing them up and clamping the assembly. The following photos demonstrate an age-old method of clamping called “Roping”. I use the roping method regularly in my work hand crafting classical, flamenco and acoustic guitars and I decided to use it here to provide even clamping pressure over all the joints.


repair a loose drawer front

The glue is applied and joints assembled. Starting the roping.

Roping a glue joint during assembly

The rope is looped around under tension.

vintage drawer repair

Roping provides even pressure at all four joints.

how to fix a drawer

All the corners check out square.

repair a loose drawer front housing joint

After 24 hours I remove the roping and all is well!