Table with Drawers

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Forum topic by BlueRidgeDog posted 04-01-2019 06:47 PM 496 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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703 posts in 553 days

04-01-2019 06:47 PM

Having finished the dresser, I am thinking down the road to another project. I will eventually need a desk and I currently use a large Steel Case desk that has a single drawer in the apron. I have gotten accustomed to that design as I have two drawer boxes on rollers that I move around as needed. So I think I will make something generally that shape (say 30” X 65”) and put two drawers in the apron. More of a small dinning table if you want to picture it.

I have put drawers in aprons of smaller pieces by ripping out a center section of the apron, cutting the drawer openings, then re-gluing. This is a bit longer and I worry about sag in the long run. Am I being paranoid? I have thought of putting an angle iron on the inside or a square section of wood as a doubler. In theory the apron would only span the drawer openings by two half inch pieces and that should be fine with the top.

6 replies so far

View PPK's profile


1747 posts in 1583 days

#1 posted 04-09-2019 03:10 PM

I guess it depends on what you’re using it for… and what the tabletop material is. Particle board counter tops like to sag, I know that. How deep do you want the drawer? If the drawer is only like 12-16” deep, just run a stiffener behind the back of the drawer to add strength… Otherwise, I like the idea of a little angle iron.

-- Pete

View Tony1212's profile


434 posts in 2508 days

#2 posted 04-10-2019 01:16 PM

Just in case you need it, here is the link to the Sagulator that calculates sag in shelves and desktops.

If I understand correctly, you will have the bottom of the desktop, a 1/2” piece of wood for an “apron” then the drawers, then another 1/2” piece of wood? The total apron would be the drawer hieeght + 1”?

If the bottom piece is more of a face frame and not really integrated with the top 1/2” piece, I think that only the top piece would be adding rigidity to the desk top. Whether that’s enough would depend on how thick the desktop is and how long the span is (see the Sagulator link above). If the desktop is thick enough and the span short enough, then you might not need any support and all of it will be fine.

I’m also a bit confused because it seems you’re placing a desktop on file cabinets (“two drawer boxes on rollers”). So when you say 65” in length, is that between the drawer boxes, or including the drawer boxes?

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

View BlueRidgeDog's profile


703 posts in 553 days

#3 posted 04-10-2019 02:08 PM

The drawer boxes are un-connected, modular items that can be arranged regardless of the desk. As to the apron, yes, drawer hight plus 1” to 2”, but the two apron stretchers would be joined in areas not limited by the drawers. I have used the sagulator…love it.

View SMP's profile


2119 posts in 679 days

#4 posted 04-10-2019 02:51 PM

I guess it depends on top thickness and wood. If I was worried I would go from 4/4 to 5/4 or 6/4 and chamfer the underside.

View bilyo's profile


1112 posts in 1876 days

#5 posted 05-30-2020 02:07 PM

Your apron is a beam supported on each end. When you put downward pressure on the center, the upper edge is in compression and the bottom edge is in tension. As you get closer to the center of the beam the stress, positive or negative approaches zero. So, after ripping to remove the spaces for the drawers, rather than glueing the off-cuts back on, use another 1×3 or 1×4 laid flat. The result will be a beam of approximately the same stiffness as you had before you ripped it. Of course, the grain pattern will look different. So, you could do the same on the rest of the aprons for consistency.

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703 posts in 553 days

#6 posted 06-01-2020 11:13 AM

Making a box beam so to speak. I am about to start the desk, having been pulled off on three bookcases and a sllew of non-shop projects.

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