Machinist Toolcart #8: Drawers: Part I

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Blog entry by PurpLev posted 08-08-2011 03:22 AM 3194 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: a Trim and a Shave Part 8 of Machinist Toolcart series Part 9: Half Finished and Drawers Part II »

I’ve been sort of stuck with this project once it was time to get to the drawers mostly because for lack of material. I wanted to keep all the drawers made of same material and not pick and choose from what I could find at hand, and the only material that I have at ~1/2” thickness range that would make a good fit is some QS oak boards mostly 3 1/2 foot long:

I ran calculations and found that If I went with my desired drawer depth of 14” I will not have enough material to make all the drawers, but at 13” depth I just might…

now was the moment I was asking myself why did I choose to use 12” drawer slides, 14” depth drawers and 15” deep cabinet?!? why not just go full 16” drawers + slides and 17” cabinet… but I digress. I sure wouldn’t have enough material for any longer drawers.

The real issue for me here is the lower taller drawers. in my design I chose to have the drawer pull on top of the drawers which physically call for the slides to be at the same level meaning on the top of the drawer. This means that a 6” drawer has to have 6” sides as the slides are installed on the top of the sides. If I had the slides on the bottom of the drawer, I could very well use 3” material for the drawers keeping the upper half of the drawer open. for tall items this would not make a difference, but it would make it difficult to stack things in those drawers, although I have a solution for that as well. the main thing is that I would have to move the drawer pull handles to the lower part of the drawers and I am not sure how that would work visually… I’ll have to play with this in SketchUp and see what I find.

Nevertheless, I really wanted to utilize some time that I had and decided to cut whatever parts I can from whatever material I have at the moment, and at least have some of the drawers done, and deal with the larger drawers later (should I choose to lower the slides, I would then have more than enough materials, or if not- at least I’ll have something to work with).

So… I started cutting all the parts in batches based on final sizes (which is why I wanted to cut all drawers parts now using one setting on the TS as opposed to having to reset it later to make additional cuts to match existing parts). Once all the parts were cut to length, I ripped the parts for the upper 4 tiers of drawers (5 drawers total) as they were somewhat shallow, and shorter than the thickness of the boards I was working with (except 1 drawer which is 3” tall) and using my sled with Incra’s precise positioning and an 1/8” drill bit (google it or see how I use it here: proceeded to cut the finger joints for these drawers:

I really like finger joints for drawers, aligns and holds well even during dry fitting and has a nice look to it. And so, I end up with the 5 top drawers (2+1+1+1):

...And then I noticed – heck…. I don’t have any 1/4” plywood for the bottoms. So my options at this point are either to use masonite which I have enough for all drawers but it’s less then 1/4” thick, or go and buy some 1/4” plywood material. I am still undecided and may end up using masonite for the time being with the option of replacing it later with thicker material if needed (I always leave the back of the drawers open with the option of replacing the bottom).

For the time being I am left with the following material:

This is good for 2 pieces per side per drawer for each of the remaining 3 drawers this is about good for the 2×5” + 1×6” drawers, and 1 piece per back+front for each of the drawers leaving the back+front parts at only a bit less then 3”. If I choose to keep the slides where they are at (high) I may end up using narrower parts for the front/back of the drawers and will have to fandangle the fronts to have proper support (doable) OR I may end up lowering the slides on those drawers and just make the drawer frames at ~3” all around with possible stackable boxed that would fit on top to utilize the entire height of the drawers for stackable items.

A little more progress, and a few new concepts to think about in the evolution of this project.

Thanks for reading,

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

4 comments so far

View ellen35's profile


2746 posts in 4073 days

#1 posted 08-08-2011 12:25 PM

Bottoms? You need bottoms in drawers?? ;-)
Your drawers are looking really nice… I particularly like the box joints…strong and attractive.

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View mafe's profile (online now)


12387 posts in 3730 days

#2 posted 08-08-2011 01:15 PM

Looking good, yes material short is a way I know…
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View SPalm's profile


5334 posts in 4522 days

#3 posted 08-08-2011 02:17 PM

Maybe put some veneer on that masonite to make it worth the beauty of this build?


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View PurpLev's profile


8554 posts in 4289 days

#4 posted 08-08-2011 03:23 PM

Thanks for the comments.

Pat – yes, I know 1/4” ply is not 1/4” but it’s thicker than the 1/8” masonite (which is also not really 1/8” but actually more like 3/16”) for some reason I have the feeling plywood would be more capable though to support heavier loads- I could very well be mistaken. Steve – I actually like the look of the masonite and the fact that it’s smooth and doesn’t stain as bad as plywood, it’s just the load factor that I’m concerned with

Ellen – yes, most drawers require bottoms but most books will never tell you that, I discovered that by trial and error ;)

mads – glad to know I’m not the only one :)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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