A Non-Plywood 4 Drawer Filing Cabinet

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Project by GCM posted 04-13-2015 08:13 AM 1735 views 2 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is my attempt to build an affordable wooden 4 drawer filing cabinet.

I ruled out:

Plwood, as it is way too expensive in Australia for anything but the most expensive style of furniture.
MDF, I built a single draw prototype and, even when using frame construction, it was way too heavy.
Melamine, may be a good choice but for this project I didn’t think it would look good enough.
Solid wood panelling, as it is too expensive.

I decided to go with premium (knot free) pine framing and pine panelling (not knot free unfortunately).

Joinery is mostly pocket screw as I have no intention of allowing Matthias Wandel to jump on any of my furniture.

The style is country/rustic/shabby chic, finished with home made chalk paint and home made finishing wax (due to Linn from the Darbin Orvar YT channel).

All in all the objective was achieved, an all solid wood (mainly premium pine) 4 draw filing cabinet (one draw is actually a stationery cabinet). The use of reclaimed pine lining helped keep costs under control. Not a skerrick of plywood in the whole thing, and, most importantly, no fat, greedy, lazy, rip-off merchant Australian plywood supplier was involved or fed during the whole of this project ;-) Oh! and the same can be said of paint suppliers too!.

Only 2 more to go!

Build blog

Sketchup plan available.

-- Make things as simple as possible, but no simpler.

4 comments so far

View djg's profile


160 posts in 3625 days

#1 posted 04-13-2015 10:44 AM

Love the chalk paint. The colors for chalk paint and milk paint are simply beautiful. Love working with it. What is your recipe for finishing wax?

-- DJG

View GCM's profile


94 posts in 3790 days

#2 posted 04-13-2015 11:01 AM

@DJG yes the colours are great, alas my photos do not do them justice.

The finishing wax was 1 part bees wax, 1 part mineral turpentine (mineral spirit), 1 part linseed oil.

In truth for this project it probably should have been just the wax and mineral turpentine (mineral spirit), but I had made it up for another project where it was a straight finish over bare wood.

-- Make things as simple as possible, but no simpler.

View robscastle's profile


8567 posts in 3667 days

#3 posted 10-20-2015 08:55 PM

From what I see there are only 3 drawers, maybe some more photos would be good.
Overall it looks OK to me, regardless of how it works, I am interested to know.
Also do I detect a bit of surprise as to the cost of living without an income?.....join the club!

-- Regards Rob

View GCM's profile


94 posts in 3790 days

#4 posted 10-20-2015 11:35 PM

Hi Rob,

On the first (of what eventually 3) I made the top draw a (stationery) cupboard – it is in all aspects the same as the drawers except for a bottom that slots in, the drawer box omitted, and the false front placed on hinges.

There are lot’s more photos in the build log – link in the description.

I have a decent (super) income – I just don’t like having to pay 4-5 times the price they do in North America – I don’t think it is fair. In addition it takes a lot of the fun out of woodworking because you daren’t experiment or make mistakes without dropping another hundred bucks or so.


-- Make things as simple as possible, but no simpler.

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