Don't get bent out of shape over an out-of-square drawer. You've got one last shot at achieving a first-rate fit.

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That's some magic trick your newly built drawer pulled -- levitating one of its corners off your workbench, photo right. Before you make the whole drawer disappear, try this technique for separating and reassembling the drawer.

Your lucky break

Separating a glue joint by force works best if you catch the problem before the glue cures completely, so check drawers for flatness and square as soon as you remove the clamps. You have two options for weakening glue joints. To soften type-1 (non-water-resistant) yellow glue, thoroughly soak the joint with vinegar until you feel the connection flex. For type-2 or type-3 yellow glues, repeatedly soak the joint with acetone in a well-ventilated area. For an odor-free alternative way to soften all three types, heat the joint with a hair dryer, photo below.

Immediately after softening the joint, clamp one side to your bench, place a scrap block against the joint, and strike the block with just enough force to separate the parts, as shown, below. Repeat for the remaining joints, soaking or heating one and separating it before moving on to the next.

Once separated, sand the joint parts smooth without sanding to bare wood, which can throw off the fit. Remove any glue build-up within dadoes and rabbets that would affect reassembly, then sand end grain smooth.

Hairdryer on side of drawer
Heating type-1 yellow glue above130 degrees and type-2 or -3 gluesabove 175 degrees softens them foreasier disassembly.
Hammer moving on side of drawer

Drawer assembly, take two

To avoid repeating the same mistakes, check drawer parts for identical lengths of opposite parts, such as sides. Check that dadoes and rabbets on all opposite parts were cut the same. Then use a straightedge to ensure your bench top rests dead flat. If it's not flat, do the reassembly work on your tablesaw top—provided it's flat.

The first glue-up filled the wood pores, so switch to a non-penetrating adhesive, such as 30-minute epoxy. Assemble the drawer and clamp the sides, front, and back as you normally would. This time, though, add two more clamps to hold the drawer assembly against your flat work surface, photo below. Then check for square.

Clamps squaring up drawer
By assembling the drawer at thecorner of your workbench, you canadd clamps to hold the glue-up flatagainst the work surface.