Making Dovetailed Drawers

Everything you need to know to build drawer boxes for your woodworking projects in this drawer building tutorial. Though reproduction builders and a few purists look down their noses at plywood drawer bottoms, they are more stable than solid wood and have great strength. Lower-quality cabinets may simply have wood-, particleboard- or plastic-triangle braces attached to the corners of the box. Accuride is a trusted name, they’re affordable, the full extension is well worth it and the self-closing action grabs” the drawer and pulls it shut when you get within about an inch of the frame.

Presumably that makes the drawer stronger, and gives more surface area for the drawer to slide on. I have done it. You can also see it from the inside of the drawer in the picture of the drawer back, above. The thickness of typical cabinet box side panels varies by manufacturer and product line. In building drawer boxes, you have three joinery decisions to make: how to join the sides to the front, how to join the sides to the back, and how to join the bottom to all four. There are many different ways to build drawer boxes, some require special tools and skill while others are are very simple but not very strong or attractive.

Another benefit is that doweled drawer boxes can be flat-packed for easy shipping and on-site assembly. The drawers pocket screws will be placed on the outside back of the drawer box, and will only be seen when the drawer is completely removed from the cabinet. Depending on the roller glide use the width of the drawer box will have to accommodate the glide thickness in the drawer bank. Loosen the new screws enough to shift the components forward or back as needed to align the drawer front flush with the cabinet when closed. Higher-quality cabinet lines use undermount drawer slides over side-mount slides.

Instead have a fastener that holds at the 4 corners, the stability of the plywood should not require mid-seam fastening. A small notch at the top back of the drawer box allows the stop to be rotated to remove the drawer. Those are usually 3-5 ply, while the plywood used in cabinet/furniture making is closer to 13-15 ply. It is heavy, but, dimensionally stable in low-moisture environments (this means the box will not warp). If you have a lot of boxes to make, be smart about how you cut your plywood (assuming you’re not using solid wood).plywood drawer construction

These Baltic Birch Plywood plywood drawer boxes are NOT offered Unassembled to the general public, because the 9 ply construction is very difficult to assemble without separating the plies if simply banged together with a rubber mallet. A solid wood bottom may be thicker than the 1/4 inch plywood – use a panel raiser or similar cutter to taper a thicker panel to fit in a 1/4 inch slot. Test number two was to clamp the drawer to a table and to put his full body weight (200lbs) onto one edge; the drawer again held. Below are nine common methods used to connect the front of a drawer to the sides.

To determine the outside dimension of the drawer box take the inside opening measurement and subtract 2 times the side clearance. There are two situations you might run into when trying to determine the height for your drawer boxes. Shaker style drawers are a special case of overlay drawers, where the overlay is normally rounded, as well as inset at the back, giving a light appearance to the drawer. I used it years ago and some of the drawers didn’t hold up. I dovetail the front of the drawer and dado the back into the sides, all solid wood. Depending on your application, allow the drawer face to hang below the drawer box.