Dresser drawer help

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Forum topic by bbasiaga posted 01-14-2017 03:27 PM 714 views 1 time favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1243 posts in 2632 days

01-14-2017 03:27 PM

Topic tags/keywords: design drawer


If any of you have happened to see my projects, you’ll see I’m working through a set of bedroom furniture. Next up is the dresser. I was thinking of building this like I have seen Norm build a bunch of his stuff- plywood case with solid wood face frame. In a lot of those designs, the drawers simply slide on a plywood support/divider, which also acts to strengthen the case.

Since this is the first time I will have done that, I’m looking for advice on how to ensure they slide smoothly, and some tips for keeping them from falling out if you pull too far. I have seen where the back of the drawer is inset a few inches so you stop pulling when you see the back, and since the sides are the same height as the opening it won’t tip out. Is there another way? I assume lots of wax gets used for the sliding motion?

I do plan to build the drawer cases out of solid wood, if that makes a difference.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

5 replies so far

View splintergroup's profile


3295 posts in 1860 days

#1 posted 01-14-2017 04:20 PM

There are lots of hardware solutions. When I salvaged a 100 or so student dorm dressers, they had a small swinging metal tab attached to the back. The tab sticks up about 1/2” above the back panel and catches on the upper case frame to prevent the drawer from being pulled all the way out. To remove the drawer, you swing the tab down.

I can get a picture if you are interested.

For the sliding, you can get nylon bushings that support the drawer sides (they mount on your dividers), otherwise wax works well, but needs reapplication.

View bandit571's profile


24647 posts in 3320 days

#2 posted 01-14-2017 04:29 PM

Or, just follow along with my Blog. Drawers for the Dresser build I am building slide on wooden web-frames.

Just for pieces of 1×2, made into a frame. The center stick sit under each frame, as a kicker, to keep the drawer from tipping down.

To make things slide easily, I just wax the frames. After a while of use, drawer sides and frame will have worn smooth, and then just wax the bottom edge of the drawer’s sides.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View JBrow's profile


1368 posts in 1557 days

#3 posted 01-15-2017 03:01 AM


I have used the toggle method, roughly the same as described by splintergroup. I have also drilled an oversized hole on the back top edge of the ¾” thick drawer back. The hole received a dowel that projects above the face frame. The drawer is easily removed by reaching into the partially open drawer and removing the dowel.

Waxing the runners can help. I have used Slick Tape, applied to the runners, and it too seems to help. Slick tape is Ultra High Molecular Weight (UHMW) self-adhesive tape. Peachtree Woodworking Supply is one supplier of the Slick Tape.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6063 posts in 3450 days

#4 posted 01-15-2017 07:30 AM

Why not use metal drawer slides? Maybe it’s a traditional piece.

Personally if I’m going to do drawers without metal runners, I do them side-hung on wooden runners. You give up a lot of function (no full or even close to full extension), and they are more susceptible to humidity changes and therefore binding and sticking.

Do some reading on the Stickley side hung method. That’s about as good as it gets for wood-on-wood slides.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View bbasiaga's profile


1243 posts in 2632 days

#5 posted 01-15-2017 08:04 PM

Pinto, I was thinkiing of metal slides, but I’ve never tried the traditional method, and I like doing new things from time to time. Plus, I’ve always found the metail ones somewhat finicky. I did the Blum undermounts, and they are super smooth but they are hard to get aligned perfectly. Maybe its my lack of drawer building skills….Also, for this six drawer dresser it would be almost $200 for them.

I have seen that side hung method, but hadn’t thought of it until you mentioned something. The UHMW tape sounds like a decent idea too….I’ll have to do some thinking.

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

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