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I've been searching all over for this, but can't find anything on the subject. If it's already out there and I missed it please point me to it.

Is it possible to do box joint drawer BOTTOMS? In other words, can all joints in a drawer be made with box joints? I'm trying to visualize it and I'm not seeing how it would be done, so it seems like the answer is No, but I like the idea of it so I thought I'd ask before giving up.

The reason I like it is that the usual dado/groove or rabbet/rebate drawer bottoms are tradeoffs. With the groove/dado you lose vertical space within the drawer in order to have support under the sides of the drawer bottom. With the rabbet/rebate you don't have support underneath, but you do have greater gluing surface than you would if the bottom was simply tacked on as a butt joint. It seems like a box joint bottom would be stronger than the rabbet, while maximizing the internal volume of the drawer.

Your thoughts? Experience?

Thank you!
 

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I 2nd jmartels advice, but its all possible if you used something like baltic birch. If nothing else the experience of baltic birch box joints and why the ages of craftsman dont do it.
 

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How big are these drawers and how heavy will they be weighted that you're concerned with the rabbet decreasing the strength of the bottom? Assuming you'd be running a groove in the drawer sides for the rabbeted bottom, not gluing it on from the underside.
 

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It would be possible in solid wood, and you could even finger joint or dovetail the bottom to the front and back of the drawer as well, but there would be some heavy restrictions on your material and construction possiblities.

Just make the grain on the front and back, or on the sides, of the drawer vertical, and orient the grain of the bottom accordingly- if the front and back were vertical grained, the grain of the bottom would run front to back (not a great idea because of fit), and vice versa for the sides being vertically oriented.

The side to side joinery and widths of short grain would mean that the wood itself would have to be exceptionally strong in all directions: purpleheart, pau ferro, cocobolo, that kind of thing would really be best. And even with such woods, it would be wise to make each drawer from a single board or consecutive boards from the same tree.

For small expensive decorative work though, you could go to town.

If it's a purely practical matter of more strong drawer space, then plywood it is. Can't remember where I've seen such plywood drawers with finger-joined bottoms, boxes on shelves really, but they were full of metal somethings.

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Is it possible? Of course. Is it worth doing? Your decision, but I wouldn't (and don't)

If your drawer sides are solid wood, the fingers on the bottom will be short grain and very weak-likely to break. A solid wood bottom would have no room to expand/contract, so self-destruction would ensue.

If you are using plywood, there is no advantage over a rabbeted-in bottom, and the build is more difficult and time-consuming. But yes, possible.
 

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Is it possible? Of course. Is it worth doing? Your decision, but I wouldn t (and don t)

If your drawer sides are solid wood, the fingers on the bottom will be short grain and very weak-likely to break. A solid wood bottom would have no room to expand/contract, so self-destruction would ensue.

If you are using plywood, there is no advantage over a rabbeted-in bottom, and the build is more difficult and time-consuming. But yes, possible.

- jerryminer
In the construction I described, a solid wood bottom would have room to expand and contract. More precisely, the boards that would normally constrict it would be moving likewise. The large amount of side-to-side and end-to-side joinery would make the construction an oddity which would be hard to justify or find the materials and application for, of course.
 

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In the construction I described, a solid wood bottom would have room to expand and contract.
- bobro
Yes. Sorry I missed that, but with one side oriented horizontally and the adjoining side vertically, the box will always be fighting itself--and the short grain condition will be weak at the front-to-side (and rear-to-side) connection. Still leads to self-destruction, just in a different place.

I repeat: possible. Not something I would recommend
 

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In the construction I described, a solid wood bottom would have room to expand and contract.
- bobro

Yes. Sorry I missed that, but with one side oriented horizontally and the adjoining side vertically, the box will always be fighting itself--and the short grain condition will be weak at the front-to-side (and rear-to-side) connection. Still leads to self-destruction, just in a different place.

I repeat: possible. Not something I would recommend

- jerryminer
Yes- no matter which way you slice it, the best you can do is move the movement problem to some other part of the drawer. Solve a joined bottom, get cross-grained sides. Or you could make little decorative drawers with woods that are pretty much like stone in small dimensions, like a lot of epoxied hippy work I've seen- but even that is not going to have the lifespan of a properly made drawer.
 
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