attached photos of the deformed drawer, I found out only after reassembling!

The cabinet itself, and 3 smaller drawers on the other side are all fine, but this one shocked me! Basically, it is made of plywood, with 3 false sides made of Oak, I chose the higher quality plywood that looks nice to touch and just required light sanding.

I took weeks as I was planning, cutting, assembling, waiting for nice sunny day for the painting (I used primer, then Rustoleum white gloss paint) - the process until painting took months, about 4 months from start! Maybe 3 months for the plywood of that particular drawer, so it's hard to believe it was humid inside..

I tried clamping the edge with a bar for 48 hours but it unfortunately did not keep the shape :( It seems to be the plywood that is deformed, not the actual fake full wood panels..

What do I do now? any advice? Its so beautiful, almost ready to mount!

When I try to close it Inside deformation Outside deformation

  • you might be able to use a C channel or I beam along the back, where the level in in the 2nd photo, to force the wood flat. it doesn't look like it has too much tension for such materials.
    – dandavis
    May 16, 2019 at 19:28
  • @dandavis Thanks for your reply, I now understand what a C beam is! Will have to search for one.. its not an item that regular stores such as Home Depot sell... At this point I am thinking of taking it to a wood shop to finalize this build.. I am not entirely sure I understand correctly how to fix this - I do grooves in the back, slot in C channel steel, and screw it in, letting the C channel straighten it up? May 17, 2019 at 2:32
  • yup. they do sell them at home depot though, at least in my area. usually by either the dowels or door trim.
    – dandavis
    May 17, 2019 at 15:04
  • I will check again,so I do this vertically, although the bend seems horizontal? How do I do the straight grooves on such a thin wood, and finished drawer, to add to the difficulty? May 17, 2019 at 20:09

1 Answer 1


This is a design problem

That appears to be 3 oak pieces joined to a crossways piece (does not actually matter much if it's plywood or solid in that orientation.)

It will be a humidity indicator. At present, the face has swelled and caused the present curve. When the face shrinks, it will go back to straight, if it dries & shinks more than it was when glued (or screwed), the curve will reverse.

It's how wood behaves in varying humidity. Furniture with solid wood components is either designed to let it move, or suffers the consequences. If the oak is mounted with screws, remove them, then slot holes so the wood can move without forcing a curve into the part they mount to. If it's glued, you either live with it or rebuild (or at least break the glue bond and join with slotted screw holes.)

  • Yes, I built it DIY style.. the 3 oak pieces are glued with wood glue. I think the crossways piece (as you called it) is screwed with pocket holes screws (hidden by the front oak pieces). We live in Halifax, it can be pretty humid here, it was barely 10 degrees outside with sun when I was spraying it, and less than 50% inside the garage where I kept it for a week+ drying. I stress again - before painting, it was in my basement for weeks, to ensure there is no moisture trapped. May 15, 2019 at 0:13
  • what do you mean by slotted screw holes? I dont understand how to attempt repair without completely rebuilding that drawer? And if I were to rebuild, how do I ensure this does not happen again? May 15, 2019 at 0:14
  • If you had, say, 4 screw holes per board in a rectangle, you would want to make two of them (on one long side of the board) elongated slots (across the board), so that rather than being tightly constrained to the backing board, the face board could get wider or narrower without bending the backing board. This movement is something that happens every time the humidity around a piece changes, not a "one and done" deal. If screwed from the back, the corresponding holes in the back part would be slots instead. An alternate method for something non-structural is a narrow bead of glue in the middle.
    – Ecnerwal
    May 15, 2019 at 1:06
  • I am sorry, I dont quite understand this still... I dont have screw holes in rectangle shape, only two holes on the upper board for the handle (kind of in the middle third of the board) - otherwise, there are no holes, it is completely sealed with primer, and the Rustoleum white paint, the idea was to also make it water proof so it will be durable for a long time... Are you suggesting I somehow rip the boards off, and re-do with screws, so that I can control their inclination to make it look straight? Yet you say it can still change with humidity - how do stuff from factory, account for this? May 15, 2019 at 4:34
  • Sorry, teaching an entire furniture design course in the comments is beyond me. I suggest you visit your Library, or take a course locally.
    – Ecnerwal
    May 15, 2019 at 12:46

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