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Old 12-14-2011, 07:27 PM   #1
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Kitchen Drawers


I need to build about 8 kitchen drawers. I am wondering, not being a tremendous woodworker, what is the easiest wood to work with for this project? 3/4 pine seems a bit thick to use. In most cabinets I see at Lowes or HD, they seem to be using some sort of lightweight wood.

Just curious for any recommendations. Obviously if it's too lightweight, it probably won't hold up very well either!

And I have looked at rockler and some of the others, but some of these are pretty deep (23 inches), and at that point, you're paying $30 a drawer at rockler.

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Old 12-14-2011, 07:48 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by dougp23 View Post
I need to build about 8 kitchen drawers. I am wondering, not being a tremendous woodworker, what is the easiest wood to work with for this project? 3/4 pine seems a bit thick to use. In most cabinets I see at Lowes or HD, they seem to be using some sort of lightweight wood.

Just curious for any recommendations. Obviously if it's too lightweight, it probably won't hold up very well either!

And I have looked at rockler and some of the others, but some of these are pretty deep (23 inches), and at that point, you're paying $30 a drawer at rockler.
I just use 1/2" ply. Birch is probably the best but pine or fir would be OK. I usually use locking rabbets for joints. If you want to use dovetail joints, solid wood would be best.

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Old 12-14-2011, 08:59 PM   #3
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Kitchen Drawers


You can use a plywood material or a solid wood material. Connecting the edges is the issue.
What was your plan?
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:05 PM   #4
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With my experience over the years with all types of drawered units (dressers, cabinets, desks) - all the rabbit, dove and other such cuts end up breaking, weakening and overall failing which require repair. I didn't think I could do better than pre-fabricated stuff. . . didn't want to find out. Also - it's more work and I'm quite lazy.

So when I built my cabinet drawers the other week: I didn't bother with any of that.

I used 1/2" birch ply for the sides.
3/4" cabinet grade pine ply for the base.
1-1/4" finishing nails.
Some glue.
90* clamps (two worked out fine)
glides

I constructed the drawers so that the force of pressure when opened would be exerted to the sides through the nails. The nails go through the outside of the side-panel . . . into the edges of the front and back panel. When assembling I ran a bead of glue along each connection so it would be tight.

The sides support the base as well (the nails go through the sides and into the edge of the base) so heavy items could be put inside without forcing the bottom apart. Since I used undermount drawer glides the sides are fully supported - taking the load of the drawer contents.

Bottom view:


Top front view:


I don't know if this makes any sense I hope it does.
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:14 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Snav View Post
With my experience over the years with all types of drawered units (dressers, cabinets, desks) - all the rabbit, dove and other such cuts end up breaking, weakening and overall failing which require repair. I didn't think I could do better than pre-fabricated stuff. . . didn't want to find out. Also - it's more work and I'm quite lazy.

So when I built my cabinet drawers the other week: I didn't bother with any of that.

I used 1/2" birch ply for the sides.
3/4" cabinet grade pine ply for the base.
1-1/4" finishing nails.
Some glue.
90* clamps (two worked out fine)
glides

I constructed the drawers so that the force of pressure when opened would be exerted to the sides through the nails. The nails go through the outside of the side-panel . . . into the edges of the front and back panel. When assembling I ran a bead of glue along each connection so it would be tight.

The sides support the base as well (the nails go through the sides and into the edge of the base) so heavy items could be put inside without forcing the bottom apart. Since I used undermount drawer glides the sides are fully supported - taking the load of the drawer contents.

Bottom view:


Top front view:


I don't know if this makes any sense I hope it does.
I'm confused. The pictures show a 3/4" material for the drawers.
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Old 12-15-2011, 07:28 AM   #6
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Kitchen Drawers


Thanks everyone! I will have to make another stop at Lowe's and see if they have "cabinet grade" lumber somewhere. I have also been haunting a Habitat ReStore here locally to see if there isn't anything I could grab!

Like you Snav, I am generally lazy, lol. I like your construction. I have tried all the dovetails and rabbits, and like you said, they always seem to come apart. I will probably do what you did!!
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:09 AM   #7
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Kitchen Drawers


Adding only a couple of extra cuts to Snav's suggestion, use full width 1x pine for the fronts, and rabbett the ends, so that your joints are hidden, then dado the fronts, backs, and sides, so that the bottoms, whether 1/4" ply, masononite, or whatever you use floats inside the perimeter. Still a quick but durable solution, with a bit more pizzazz or whatever.
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:35 AM   #8
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Kitchen Drawers


I have built plenty of drawers cabinet over the years. Dovetails and rabbets work best in solid wood, not ply or particle board.

I have made many drawers like the ones Snav has, and have not had a failure to date. Some of my cabinets are decades old.

Making them as Snav suggests will work just fine without any fancy cutting or jigs. Just make sure all your parts are square.

BTW Ron, those glides on Snav's drawers have a 1/2" lip on them. I'd say that looks like 1/2" material to me. Just MHO,
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:22 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Ron6519 View Post
I'm confused. The pictures show a 3/4" material for the drawers.
Big Stud - yes, it's 1/2" for the sides, 3/4" for the base. . .

Well technically speaking it's 7/16" for the sides and 31/32" for the base.

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Originally Posted by DexterII View Post
Adding only a couple of extra cuts to Snav's suggestion, use full width 1x pine for the fronts, and rabbett the ends. . .
Yeah. I agree - when skills and tools abide that would be better.

I actually wanted to use 1x12 pine for the sides and facing, originally - however - that stuff comes cupped more than a poor man's lawnmower truck load ramp so I scrapped that hope. When you get more narrow cuts of dimensional lumber it's less likely to be flawed - the wider it gets the more issues you have. . . I forwent plans ot use anything wider than a 10" cut for this reason.

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