I've been working on a fairly involved project as a Christmas gift for a friend for the past few weeks. I'm building a Dungeon Master's screen for use in Dungeons & Dragons games. I'm having a couple of issues due to my design.

The first issue is that when it came time to put together one of the panels on the screen, the one holding six drawers, I ran into issues because I realized that my measurements used up the exact width and height of the box containing them, and didn't leave any breathing room for the drawers to actually slide in and out.

The drawers CAN fit in the box, but it's a very tight fit, and I worry about the surrounding supports, which are only glued together, breaking off if I pull too hard to remove a drawer, let alone the fact that it would be extremely irritating to actually use them.

The only solution I've been able to think of is to sand down the sides of the drawers enough to give the drawers some space so they won't be pressing right up against the walls. However, I don't have a belt sander or anything... I only have hand tools. I could BUY a cheap belt sander from Harbor Freight, but money is tight after the holidays and I want to avoid that if possible.

I've been using sandpaper, a file, and a cheapo detailing plane to smooth out and remove some width from the sides, but it isn't doing much.

The second issue is that I made the poor decision to use 1/4" plywood instead of 1/2" plywood for everything, so now I can't figure out how to attach hinges to the sides of the panels so that they can be folded together, because 1/4" is probably too thin to attach screws to.

I need the hinges for the three panels to fold together into a single box, some sort of handle for carrying the box, and then some sort of clasps or locks to bind it shut. Does anyone have any recommendations on how to handle this with the thickness of plywood I'm dealing with?

  • 4
    On this site we encourage a single topic per question. I see two good questions here: 1. How to fit a plywood drawer, and 2. How to attach hinges to 1/4" ply. I would encourage you to edit this question to just include one of these topics and start a second question for the other one. Commented Dec 31, 2019 at 0:17
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    It is also helpful, if possible, to include a drawing or schematic or photo, to give a better idea of what problem you're trying to solve and what options might (or might not) be available to you.
    – Daniel B.
    Commented Dec 31, 2019 at 5:07
  • Did you make the drawers first? You can sand (or plane or scrape) drawers to make them a better fit, but obviously it's better if they fit right to begin with and you do this by making the drawers last. Plus of course at 1/4" you don't have a lot of material to work with.
    – Graphus
    Commented Dec 31, 2019 at 7:51
  • I agree you need to split this into multiple questions and that a sketch/pictures would help. Especially for those of us who aren't familiar with the type of D&D box you're referring to. I will say, don't be afraid of functional aesthetics (visible latches that provide structural support), corner splines, or my personal favorite... MAGNETS!
    – BryceH
    Commented Dec 31, 2019 at 14:42

1 Answer 1

  1. The drawer being two tight.
    If the drawer still needs to be assembled (i.e. it's not glued together yet) a plane would be the idea tool to thickness it. As long as it's sharp and you only take small shavings at a time or you can just trim the drawer down slightly to give yourself a better fit. If it's already assembled sanding is the only real option on how to do it unless you own a rasp, like a file but rougher, designed to remove wood quickly but you would still want to sand it afterwards. However there is something you can do to help yourself along and that is by waxing the sides and bottom of the drawer and then opening where it fits (a jeweller's wax rather then a wax you'd use to finish something with). You will still have to sand it but at least this way you can save yourself a little work.

  2. The hinges
    Can I assume you're using you normal butt hinges? If so maybe take a look at barrel hinges, the are designed to be sunk into the wood and fixed with epoxy or some other glue. Typically used for jewellery boxes and more decorative objects but I bet they would work for this too.

  3. Handle
    If you have any spare wood left you could make a handle to secure to the centre section and have one side fold over the front and the other side fold over the back. You could then use small drawbolt latches to lock it all in place to keep it secure when moving.

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