Backus Realty & Development Company

How to Repair a Drawer's Corner Joint & Make It Good As New

by Debbie Backus 12/31/2020

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

They just don't make furniture like they used to. But even well-made drawers can break from time to time. And when they do, the best thing you can do is fix the drawer joint quickly rather than tugging on a loose panel, causing warping damage.

Here's the simplest way to get that drawer working properly.

What you'll need

  • Wood glue or epoxy
  • Drywall knife or box cutter
  • Drill (optional)
  • Eye protection
  • Rag
  • Furniture pegs
  • Hammer
  • Rubber mallet
  • Two corner braces (optional) with eight screws 
  • Screwdriver
  • Step One: Determine the Joint Type

    The best-made furniture has a dovetail joint. This is a triangle-shaped interlocking piece of wood that connects the sides of the drawer together as well as the front panel. Pieces slide together like a puzzle.

    In economically-priced furniture, the drawer is secured together with wooden pegs and wood glue. This kind is much more likely to give you problems. Each time you slam it shut, those pegs jostle lose slightly until you have a gap.  The solutions below will help you repair 

    Step Two: Take the Drawer Apart

    Remove any part of the drawer that isn't fully connected. For example, the face of the drawer may be loose while the back joints are intact. Don't undo what's still working. Pegs may fit firmly in one side of the wood. You don't have to remove them unless they're loose. 

    Now, you're ready to take one of the two approaches.

    Step Three A: Clear the Surface & Re-glue the Pieces

    Very carefully use the drywall knife to peel away any glue on the surfaces. Place a strip of glue across the surface where two pieces come together. Wood glue works well. But epoxy is even better.

    Then re-insert pegs on the opposite side, hammering down half-way if needed. Press the wood together firmly until flush. Hold together while wiping away any glue that squeezes out. *Pro tip* Use the rubber mallet to hammer the two pieces together if the pegs won't go in completely. This won't damage the wood.

    If the furniture has broken dovetails, you need to get creative. Drill two to four holes slightly smaller than furniture pegs. Insert new pegs. And then complete step three.

    Step Three B: Reinforce Corners with Braces

    If the drawer is in a high traffic area, you might need to strengthen the drawer. So alternatively, place corner braces inside the drawer. After taking the drawer apart, position the braces in the inside of the drawer and use a pencil to mark where to drill. Drill holes for the braces and screw them in.

    And that's how to fix a broken drawer joint. For more fun DIY home fixes, follow our blog.

    About the Author
    Author

    Debbie Backus

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