What thickness wood for 31" drawer box

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Forum topic by icandothat posted 12-26-2017 06:02 PM 3983 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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16 posts in 1310 days

12-26-2017 06:02 PM

Hi Everyone

For holding pots/pans under the stove I’m building 2 pull out drawers boxes.

31”w by 23” d by 4” h

Will I be fine with 1/2” sides and 1/4” bottom or should I do 3/4” sides and 1/2” bottom Or something else?

Thank for the help!

23 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10606 posts in 4503 days

#1 posted 12-26-2017 06:19 PM

You’ll be fine with 1/2” and 1/4”. I would
glue the bottom in.

View a1Jim's profile


118136 posts in 4432 days

#2 posted 12-26-2017 07:00 PM

View AlaskaGuy's profile


6009 posts in 3164 days

#3 posted 12-26-2017 07:05 PM

I have drawers way bigger than that using 1/2 BB Ply for the sides and 1/4 for the bottom. As Loren says “you’ll be fine”

All of these are 1/2 with 1/4 bottoms

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View icandothat's profile


16 posts in 1310 days

#4 posted 12-26-2017 07:12 PM

Perfect, thanks!

View pintodeluxe's profile


6206 posts in 3668 days

#5 posted 12-26-2017 07:16 PM

I think 1/2” sides are marginally adequate, but I wouldn’t even consider 1/4” drawer bottoms for your application. You probably have cardboard in your shop that is stiffer than most 1/4” plywood these days.

I would use 1/2” plywood for the drawer bottoms. Even if you have to create a rabbet so the plywood bottom will fit a 1/4” groove, it will be much better at resisting sag.

I would rather you get it right the first time, instead of regretting it later.

Good luck with the project.

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

View Kelly's profile


3128 posts in 3799 days

#6 posted 12-26-2017 07:16 PM

I’m an over kill guy. I put hundred pound slides in all my lower cabinets, so it didn’t make sense to load 3’x2’ cabinets with heavy cast iron on less than 3/4.

So I lost 1-1/2” over the height? So I spend an extra hundred bucks on the entire kitchen? These will be here for decades.

View MrRon's profile


5934 posts in 4099 days

#7 posted 12-26-2017 07:48 PM

I would go with the 1/2” bottom. The weight of pots and pans sitting 24/7 on 1/4” plywood will cause it to sag over time. Add cast iron cook ware and the bottom will fall out. 1/2” sides is OK. BTW, 4” doesn’t seem to be enough drawer height. Except for some shallow pans, most pots with handles will be higher than 4”. You may have only enough room for one deep drawer. A dutch oven for example is around 6” deep and forget about tall stock pots.

View cracknpop's profile


446 posts in 3204 days

#8 posted 12-26-2017 08:29 PM

I used 1/2” baltic birch for the sides AND bottom of a 39” wide x 22 deep x 10” tall drawer for our pots/pans. Glued the bottom into shallow dado. 100# drawer slides. Working fine for 4+ years (except made the mistake of using a plastic rear mount on the slide which ended up failing).

-- Rick - I know I am not perfect, but I will keep pressing on toward the goal of becoming all I am called to be.

View 000's profile


2859 posts in 1754 days

#9 posted 12-26-2017 08:38 PM

1/4” will work, but 1/2” would be much nicer and have greater longevity.
You wouldn’t want the 1/4” to sag and drag along the bottom shelf when it does.

View AandCstyle's profile


3286 posts in 3112 days

#10 posted 12-26-2017 10:37 PM

Cando, you can plug the values into the Sagulator to get an estimate of the sag with differing loads. Plywood is at the bottom of the materials list. I made some assumptions and found that 35 pounds would be an acceptable load for 1/4” fir plywood. The Sagulator was designed for shelves, but, in essence, a drawer is a shelf with edging. Also, if you search “drawer bottoms” here on LJ, you might find a pix of Alaskaguy’s wife standing on a 1/4” drawer bottom. HTH

-- Art

View icandothat's profile


16 posts in 1310 days

#11 posted 12-26-2017 10:42 PM

Thanks for the input everyone. I’ll put in some 1/2” bottoms instead of 1/4”.

View Texcaster's profile


1292 posts in 2529 days

#12 posted 12-26-2017 11:49 PM

The sides are mostly unimportant. Standard commercial work practice for me is to butt nail and glue the bottom on to a drawer box with no grooves or rebates. Bottom mount runners cover the bottom end grain. Strong and fast and clean. Pot drawer bottoms are 16 mm.

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View AlaskaGuy's profile


6009 posts in 3164 days

#13 posted 12-27-2017 05:08 PM

116 pounds in the middle of an 1/4×22 x 44 inch BB drawer bottom. Been doing this a many years. It not going to sag enough you’ll every notice it. 100 pound rated drawer slides with fail first.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Kelly's profile


3128 posts in 3799 days

#14 posted 12-27-2017 05:54 PM

My problem, as someone who, for years, had to do repairs for folks, is all the lightweight drawers that pulled apart or otherwise went south on people. If there isn’t enough meat to dado, rabbit or groove, you aren’t going to build it as strong as you can with thicker materials.

Of course, the type that most often had to be repaired were the ones that were merely stapled or nailed.

View AlaskaGuy's profile


6009 posts in 3164 days

#15 posted 12-27-2017 06:15 PM

18 years building and repairing all types of cabinet components in the 100 schools and support building in the Anchorage School District I did not see many drawer bottom failures. And we had plenty of 1/4’’ drawer bottoms with less quality materials than BB Plywood. The 2 main problems was the one of the front drawer corners failing and on very old furniture the glue would dry and fail on dovetailed drawers.

Kelly could you go into detail on how all these drawer bottom failures occurred it all the drawers you had to repair?

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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