Accurate Drawer Front Fitting and Fastening

Here's a collection of top-drawer ideas for fast and accurate attachment of drawer fronts to drawer boxes. March 28, 2010

We nest our own drawers from 12mm birch ply. Two sides, front, back and base. We then screw on whatever front we are using through the birch. This process is slow and hard to adjust. Is there a drawer front cam fitting or a smarter way to do it?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor U:
There are adjusters available from sources like Blum or Titus.

From contributor R:
We use Hafele adjusters. A nylon cylinder with a metal threaded nut inside. The nut can move up/down and side/side a few mm. The holes are drilled into the backs of the drawer front, dowel centers mark the hole locations on the drawer box, then 8-32 screws are snugged up. The drawer front is adjusted (snugged up to move under pressure, but not on its own), then locking screws are added to secure it in place.

From contributor S:
Make a 1/4" + hole and use the drawer front screws. No nylons.

From the original questioner:
Thanks. I've been trying to get something like this from my Blum supplier for a couple of months now, but he doesn't seem that interested. Happy Christmas from Ireland.

From contributor B:
Use the old school approach: Build your base cabinet with stretchers instead of a full top. Don't install drawer faces until the boxes are installed. Pull all the drawers out but the bottom. Hold the drawer face in place and reach through the top and nail it in place with a couple of 1" brads. Repeat this for the next drawer up. Run a couple drawer screws in each drawer when you are done to lock the position.

From contributor J:
I've always done an oversized (5/16") hole in the drawer box, then used a drawer front screw (washer head) to fasten the drawer front. What's the advantage of the cam fittings? I ordered several of them about 8 years ago, but have never felt the need to try them.

From contributor I:
While your router is cutting the drawer front, get it to route horizontal slots the diameter of the wood screw you are using. These slots will give you left/right adjustment. Then in your drawer slide you should have some up/down. Blum Tandem is what we use and they have a shim system; Accurides have a cam screw in the front.

From contributor O:
My system isn't all that quick, but it's not all that bad either. Very similar to contributor B's.

On a bank of drawers I place the bottom drawer front on a workbench, mark a 3/4" line on the bottom, and a 1" mark from the right (for 1/2" overlay), set the drawer box on it, line it up and shoot a couple of 5/8" brads. Slide it into the cabinet, check for alignment, shoot more brads. Then grab the next drawer without a drawer front, slide it in the cabinet. The take a 1/2" thick stick, place on the top of the now set bottom drawer. Grab the next drawer front, place it on the 1/2" stick, line it up and reach inside the cabinet and shoot more brads, then go onto the next drawer. If something doesn't go as planned the 5/8" brads are easy to pull out. When ready I screw the drawer fronts on. Perfect alignment and easy to tweak the drawer fronts with the smaller brads. I use KV 8405's, make the drawer box 1/16" small in width, then tweak the tabs, shim if needed.

But then again I see how fast using a system like the pre-finished Grass sides and drawer system, and I think of all the money I could make if I could sell those! I'm still open to a faster system.

From contributor C:
Alright, one more idea. I have a set of dimensioned spacers I use to set the reveals. I install the box, apply double faced tape to the box, and then stick the face, using the spacers to set the reveals. Then screw the box to the drawer front from the inside. The adjustment is done with the slides.

From contributor N:
When I used to have the issue you are talking about, instead of brads, double sided tape or hot glue, I would clamp them on with a deep throated clamp. Adjust as required and then screw with a couple of screws, then on site if needed loosen the screws and adjust, adding a couple new screws for final.

I now use only brackets for the drawer fronts, aka Blum slides, with 10mm bored holes for the brackets. This method, once worked out, takes about 30 seconds to mount and adjust, not counting the time on the assembly of the 2 piece drawer versus the 5 piece drawer.

From contributor M:
One more method for the inevitable face that is completely inaccessible:
Run screws from the inside of the drawer box until just protruding.
Position the drawer face (I also use gap shims for this).
Press the drawer face into the exposed screw points to mark position.
Pull the drawer out and clamp the face into the marked position.
Drive the screws home.

From contributor G:
I like contributor B's approach - follows one of my rules of thumb: when in doubt, nail it. I have been using contributor C's approach with carpet tape, but it's a pain when the tape doesn't hold.

From contributor R:
FastCap makes Blind Nails that are terrific for this application as well. They are nails with points on both ends, and a flange around the shank. Set them in the drawer front using the setting tool (a punch with a hole in the tip) and then press the drawer front onto the points. I do this all the time using spacers to align the drawer in the opening. Sort of combines a couple of the great suggestions above.

From contributor B:
Blind nails? What a concept! So simple it's one of those "why didn't I think of that" ideas. Brilliant! Thanks - I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks after all.

From contributor O:
Back in the 80's and 90's there was a huge oak furniture company in Arizona. They made desks and entertainment centers by the thousands, and quality was offset by very, very low prices. To set all of their drawer fronts someone would hold the drawer front on the drawer box while it was in the desk or cabinet, and shoot two finish nails right through the face of the drawer front. So each and every drawer front had at least two nail holes on the face. Fast and quick!

They made a lot of money, because most of their retail customers bought on price. By now the landfills are full of their junk. Now the landfills will fill up with hordes of Chinese made junk. The archaeologists in the future will find layers of junk furniture and cabinets, while American made cabinetry will still for the most part be used in people's homes. So much for the Green movement.