Do you ever start with making the drawer?

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Forum topic by KevinH posted 12-10-2019 03:23 AM 777 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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110 posts in 4414 days

12-10-2019 03:23 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I have an idea for a small cabinet for storing and accessing recorded music: CD’s and 12” vinyl LP’s (remember those?). The top will be flat so I can keep a bluetooth turntable on it. I want one drawer for three or four divided rows of CD’s. Beneath that will be room for a few dozen favorite LP’s behind a door.

Given that the whole thing will have a comfortable height for the turntable and appropriate depth for the LP’s, another critical dimension will be the width of the drawer, with combined width of the CD rows, dividers and drawer sides.

I’m thinking I can make the drawer, then determine the width of the opening to accommodate the drawer and drawer guides and build the carcass accordingly.

This is new territory for me. Is this wrong-headed?



-- Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance. --Kevin in Happy Valley

9 replies so far

View Andre's profile


3009 posts in 2413 days

#1 posted 12-10-2019 03:52 AM

Anything is possible, I hear some people cut pins before tails, when making coopered Krenov cabinets you make the door first, although usually oversized?

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Lazyman's profile


4513 posts in 1994 days

#2 posted 12-10-2019 04:14 AM

If the drawer has to have a specific dimension due to it purpose you have to start there when designing the cabinet at least. Whether you actually make the drawer or the cabinet first is sort of a personal choice and may make it easier to get it right, especially for incorporating drawer slides.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View SMP's profile


1596 posts in 512 days

#3 posted 12-10-2019 04:14 AM

I’ve done this before when making custom builtins where the drawer size is key. Especially when using certain premade drawer sides and/or specific slides etc. Have also made builtins around the size of a TV etc.

View AlaskaGuy's profile


5522 posts in 2916 days

#4 posted 12-10-2019 04:18 AM

Yes I have. They were kitchen draw modular cabinets. I’ve also a kitchen doing face frames first. In both cases it worked out just fine.

I’ve trimmed out house windows make a frame in the shop and them take it to the windows.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Lazyman's profile


4513 posts in 1994 days

#5 posted 12-10-2019 04:21 AM

I forgot to mention that I use Sketchup for doing my designs because it allows me to design the drawer first and then design the cabinet around that requirement. Because Sketchup allows me to check all of the specifications and fiet before building, It really isn’t necessary for me to make the drawer first.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View therealSteveN's profile


4642 posts in 1181 days

#6 posted 12-10-2019 05:02 AM

Any time I have made something for a very specific use both the shelving areas in a cabinet, and the drawers were pre-measured to hold what they needed to, and everything was built around it. I find it the easier way to do it.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Walker's profile


192 posts in 1079 days

#7 posted 12-10-2019 07:17 AM

Your reasoning makes sense to me. The CD drawer sounds like it will take a long time with attention to detail, careful planning, and can’t be resized. If things go wrong, it would be much easier to resize the cabinet.

When designing, don’t forget to account for the weight of the CD’s/LPs!

-- ~Walker

View CaptainKlutz's profile (online now)


2245 posts in 2101 days

#8 posted 12-10-2019 09:17 AM

+1 drawer first if that is critical dimension.

+1 Allow for weight on drawer and slides.
Stacks of CD’s are not light weight. Suggest 100lb drawer slide rating minimum.

FWIW: Leave enough room in drawer to allow sliding a CD to side, where you can get a finger on both side to slide it up.
BTDTGTTS > Like the Klutz I am: built office drawer cabinet sized for holding 3 rows of CD’s across. Left a 1/8” of wiggle room. Drawer was not functional, unless you don’t fill the rows completely full. A max capacity, 1/8 on side is not enough to get finger tip pressure to one side, and tilt it out. Was PIA to use when full.

Have a commercial entertainment center in family room where I store a 1000 disc music CD collection in drawers. There is ~1” extra on width, with 3 across. The extra space makes removal less stressful when completely full front to back.

Don’t be a Klutz like me. :-)

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View KevinH's profile


110 posts in 4414 days

#9 posted 12-11-2019 03:51 AM

Thanks, everyone, for your responses. Capt K., I especially appreciate your advice about making more room for the CD’s.

-- Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance. --Kevin in Happy Valley

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