Kitchen Drawer Fronts
Norm Abram shows how to reattach a drawer front
When the entire front of our kitchen drawer came off—both the solid-wood front and the front of the drawer box—I discovered that the box had been made of particleboard and fastened with staples (sigh). Can the front be reattached?
—Candi Miller, Lima, OH
Staples aren’t the best fasteners for any drawer that gets tugged open several times a day, particularly one made of particleboard covered with some kind of laminate. (I assume you didn’t know what the drawer-box material was because it was covered with a laminate like melamine.) There may also have been some adhesive holding the corners of the box together, but that glue apparently lost its grip, leaving you to make the fix.
Fortunately, it’s not hard to do. You’ll need a drill/driver, a countersink bit, four bar clamps, four 1 3⁄4-inch flathead screws, a screwdriver, and a small tube of polyurethane construction adhesive, such as PL Premium.
To start, pull the exposed staples and scrape the old glue residue off the drawer box and the back of the drawer front. Slide the box partway out, hold it in place with clamps, and run a bead of the adhesive over the exposed particleboard at the ends of the box’s sides. Bed the box front into the adhesive, then clamp it to the box. Use the clamps holding the box open as anchor points for this second pair.
While you’re waiting for the adhesive to cure, take the countersink bit and drill two pilot holes through each side of the drawer and into each end of the particleboard drawer-box front. Make sure the countersink is deep enough to recess the screwheads—you don’t want them to hit the cabinet stiles when opening or closing the drawer—then drive a screw into each hole. Cover the heads and fill the recesses with a fast-setting, polyester wood filler, such as Minwax High-Performance Wood Filler.
After the adhesive cures and the clamps are removed, you’ll never have to worry about that drawer front coming off again.
Shown: Norm Abram tightens the screws holding a bin pull to a drawer front.