Machinist Toolcart #10: Drawers Part III: Decisions and Actions

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Blog entry by PurpLev posted 08-27-2011 10:35 PM 2392 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 9: Half Finished and Drawers Part II Part 10 of Machinist Toolcart series Part 11: Almost there. The end of all marking and cutting »

I was holding off on the last (lower and larger) drawers due to lack of material which in essence was a good thing as It made me rethink those drawer dimensions and ended up with what I believe is a better build, but more about that later.

What was the issue?

The lower 3 drawers are the largest/tallest at 6”, 5”, and 5”, but I only had enough materials for 3 ~2.5” tall drawers + some additional material but not enough to glue material together to give me 6” and 2×5” drawers all around. My alternatives were to make shorter drawers that would end up housing taller items but without full support all around height wise, OR, scavenge materials and make the full height drawers one way or another.

I chose the former solution and just went along with what I had at hand to make 3 ~2.5” drawers:

You can see that this time around cutting the bottoms long enough that they slightly protrude from the backs of the drawers (see earlier post drawers part I where I cut them a bit too short).

Since my original plan was to have full height drawers with the drawer pulls on the top of the drawers which align with the drawers slides, now with the shorter drawers it also meant that I had to relocate the already installed slides for those. This is something that I was hoping to avoid which is also one of the reason I was holding off with this drawer builds until I am sure this is what I want to do. And so I lowered all 3 sets of slides to accommodate the new drawers:

You can see the previous location of the slides as it was left unfinished as I did the finishing after installing the slides. not exactly the most plan oriented project. I may or may not finish those strips at a later date (I probably should, but knowing my time schedule there is a high chance it will not happen).

To make sure everything is installed and aligned left to right and I installed the slides at the same height, and used the face frame of the cabinet as my front reference line (this was also the case originally with the other slides). the lowest slides were the easiest as they simply rested on the bottom of the cabinet. Then I placed a 3/16” masonite on the bottom of the cabinet and rested the lowest drawer on top of that to give it enough clearance from the cabinet. I used 2 clamps to secure the slides to the drawer in alignment, which left me with 2 hands to drill and screw the drawer to the slides:

Once that was done, I was left with the first installed drawer of the set which slid in and locked smoothly and easily:

The next 2 drawers were a bit more challenging as the slides had to be installed at the same height on both sides. but without anything to rest them on. Now that I think about it – I should have just cut some scrap wood to be used as a spacer between the lower (already installed) slide and the next one up, but well – too late now. Instead I used a combination square that rested on the cabinet bottom, and using a 2nd square made sure that the slides are installed at the same height and also square to the front of the cabinet:

Now I can honestly tell you that if I had done this a couple of years ago, the drawers would be all crooked, not close properly, misaligned, loped sideways, uneven, and having many other similar symptoms all at the same time. What I think made the difference this time around was having more experience under my belt and being more confident as well as more comfortable doing this, and the result is smooth acting nicely locking aligned, straight, evenly spaced, and really working well set of drawers:

Going back to the beginning of this post, I believe my decision resulted in a better option (for me) as these drawers can still carry taller items, but with the lower drawer sides there is easier access to the contents of those drawers. What more I can also stack smaller boxes on the drawers to get a 2-tier configuration on the lower 3 drawers if needed which can add more versatility to that storage space as well as more organization possibilities.

Obviously I am not going by plans or common knowledge but by experiencing and tackling things as I go along. this might have gone very differently if I had wider boards, but I guess sometimes some things just happen for a reason. Take what you get and make the best with it – it might lead you to better places.

I am a happy camper at the moment with how this is coming out.

At the moment, the remaining steps to complete this project are the drawer fronts+pulls, and later on internal custom storage organization and possibly a paper towel holder (although I am not sure about the later one).

Thanks for reading,

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

4 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35276 posts in 5521 days

#1 posted 08-27-2011 11:29 PM

The revised drawers look very functional. Nice job.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 4874 days

#2 posted 08-28-2011 10:42 PM

Man, I wish I had a bit more expereince when I built the miter bench and storage…I have the issues that you describe, but mine re because two of my sides keystone….

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View PurpLev's profile


8652 posts in 4769 days

#3 posted 08-29-2011 04:31 PM

Thanks guys.

2 minutes after posting this entry I just couldn’t be at the idea of the inside of the cabinet having those unfinished strips and fixed it while also applying 3 more coats of poly to the top which is now better protected and another and richer in colour AMD depth:


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

View moonls's profile


412 posts in 4107 days

#4 posted 08-30-2011 02:13 AM

Good job Sharon! You’re coming down the home stretch now.

-- Lorna, Cape Cod

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