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Drawer proportions

Pete_Jack's picture

Drawer proportions (post #106199)


I read somewhere that there are rules for proportioning drawer heights in e.g. a chest of drawers to get the most pleasing appearance. Can anyone guide me to a book or article that discusses this? Are there any simple rules of thumb?

Bob_Berner's picture

(post #106199, reply #1 of 3)

Pete, Check out the last two issues of FWW, there was an article recently that addressed how to do this. Bob

Pete_Vogel's picture

(post #106199, reply #2 of 3)

The Shakers were hell-bent (well..) on graduating there drawers in their built-ins and large chests. There are many books on building Shaker furniture, my favorites being by Thomas Moser. He has two books out and talks about design a bit but not enough. Others I have seen lack the information on your topic also. I guess that magic formula to achieve perfect timeless proportions comes with experience and research. I always save photos of furniture that I believe have a pleasing proportion and quickly draw them up to scale on the computer to "virtually build" the pieces in my head, and to understand what joinery, etc., would be needed to construct the piece. Most catalogs have the basic height/width dimensions right there in the descriptive copy so its real easy to get started with the most important measurements already set.

Anyway, if I ever run across a good design book that talks about proportion in detail I'll let you knoe.

Sgian_Dubh's picture

(post #106199, reply #3 of 3)

Here's one method. I pulled the extract from something I wrote once, and you'll have to take the dimensions used as a guide only for they are related to a specific project.

i "The next choice is how many drawers to incorporate, and eight drawers were chosen, with the top drawer front 80 mm tall so that its bottom edge coincided with the legs shoulder. The choice was made to graduate the height of the fronts incrementally, each front a consistent amount narrower than the one below it. Various ways exist to do this, but I used the following method.

i *1. Number of drawers = 8

i *2. Top drawer front height = 80 mm.

i *3. Every drawer front height must be > 80 mm, therefore calculate, 80mm X 8 = 640 mm.

i *4. To find the incremental height increase of each drawer front, subtract this 640 mm from the vertical height available, i.e., 890 mm. Therefore, 890 – 640 = 250 mm.

i *5. There are 28 equal increments [I] to divide into 250 mm (see table below.) Calculate, 250 mm / 28 = 8.928 mm. Each drawer front is approximately 9 mm taller than the one above, i.e., 80, 90, 98, etc..

i *6. For all practical purposes the figure used is 8 mm ± to ensure a gap between drawers, i.e., starting at the top, 82, 88.5, 96, 105 mm etc., and these figures reflect the practical realities of production.

i If the incremental height increase had not suited, a drawer would have been removed or added, or the height of the top drawer front adjusted and some recalculating done."

The following was originally in the form of a table, that I can't reproduce here.

i "Finding the no. of increments
b (I)
in a stack of drawers.

i *1st. drawer = 0, I

i *2nd. drawer = + 1, I

i *3rd. drawer = + 2, I

i *4th. drawer = + 3, I

i *5th. drawer = + 4, I

i *6th. drawer = + 5, I

i *7th. drawer = + 6, I

i *8th. drawer = + 7, I

i *Total
b I
(increments) =
b 28."

Also you might read this from the Knots archives.
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