Drawer bottoms, what do you use?

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Forum topic by skatefriday posted 07-15-2014 07:20 PM 3733 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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452 posts in 1964 days

07-15-2014 07:20 PM

I’m building some drawers for a cabinet and I’m wondering
what material people typically use for drawer bottoms?

My plywood suppliers are all quoting about $28 a sheet
for maple mdf and $57 a sheet for maple veneer core.

Seems pretty expensive for 1/4 veneer core. What are
people using these days for drawer bottoms?

17 replies so far

View Redoak49's profile


4143 posts in 2470 days

#1 posted 07-15-2014 10:09 PM

It really depends on the project. For a piece of furniture, I would use either baltic birch or veneer core core plywood. It would also depend on what type of wood is used for the drawer sides.

For shop cabinets or such, I will use just 1/4” BC plywood so that I have one pretty good side. I have also been using Arauco plywood which I get a Menards. It is a good quality plywood and better than the standard stuff. In addition, Menards stores their sheet good flat not like HD which puts them on racks with arms and puts a bend in them.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5899 posts in 2202 days

#2 posted 07-15-2014 10:40 PM

Baltic birch for nicer stuff, luan for more utilitarian applications and thicker (~ 1/2”) AC plywood for heavy duty use.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2488 days

#3 posted 07-15-2014 11:24 PM

Luan here

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View NiteWalker's profile


2739 posts in 3058 days

#4 posted 07-15-2014 11:33 PM

Baltic birch here.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View OldWrangler's profile


731 posts in 2076 days

#5 posted 07-15-2014 11:35 PM

1/4” Birch veneer at HD for $23.00 a sheet. Strong and workable.

-- I am going to go stand outside so if anyone asks about me, tell them I'M OUTSTANDING!

View Roger's profile


21010 posts in 3285 days

#6 posted 07-15-2014 11:37 PM

I agree with all above. Depends on what cabinet it’s in, and if it’s going to be holding something heavy or not

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View lateralus819's profile


2243 posts in 2371 days

#7 posted 07-15-2014 11:38 PM

I’ve seen a few reputable builders using solid wood. I don’t see a difference, does anyone else?

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 3712 days

#8 posted 07-15-2014 11:40 PM

1/4 inch Birch from HD – $24 plus tax. Just bought a sheet for some paint grade kitchen cabinets which are also being constructed from Birch (3/4 inch).

I have also used the 1/4 inch prefinished birch for cabinets which have interior pieces made from the pre finished 3/4 Birch.

I guess the question is what kind of cabinet are you building?

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View johnstoneb's profile


3125 posts in 2654 days

#9 posted 07-15-2014 11:43 PM

Any of the above including solid wood. HD and Lowe’s have 1/4” ply for a little over $20 a sheet.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 1967 days

#10 posted 07-16-2014 12:31 AM

1/4 ply from Home Depot, I find it sufficient.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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Monte Pittman

30428 posts in 2820 days

#11 posted 07-16-2014 12:43 AM

1\4” sanded ply.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 1906 days

#12 posted 07-16-2014 02:37 AM

1/4” Birch for most drawers.
Larger drawers holding heavy object usually get 1/2 solid wood.

I have been known to spline the bottoms of some drawers that I used 1/4” plywood on if I was concerned about extra support.

-- Brad, Texas,

View skatefriday's profile


452 posts in 1964 days

#13 posted 07-16-2014 02:41 AM

So in other words, nobody uses MDF for drawer bottoms. Odd because when I called
asking for a price for 1/4” maple sheets, they all quoted the MDF price first and none of
them disclosed that it was MDF until I asked if that was veneer core.

The drawer sides are baltic birch, but it hadn’t occurred to me to use 1/4” baltic
birch for the bottoms. I’ll start asking about that.

The opacity of the plywood market, combined with the “we don’t really want to
sell to non-pros” can be very annoying at times.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 3712 days

#14 posted 07-16-2014 02:52 AM

If you have a source, you could buy 3/8 inch Baltic Birch and cut a rabbit around the edge of your drawer bottoms so it fits in the drawer groove yet has the thickness and strength of the 3/8. :-)

Same goes for 1/2 inch I guess.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View NoThanks's profile


798 posts in 2010 days

#15 posted 07-16-2014 03:09 AM

I like the pre-finished birch for most, depending of course on what your building.
I’m surprised I haven’t heard any replies for melamine.
I’ve made a lot of drawers using maple melamine for bottoms. Looks nice with the pre finished baltic birch sides. Understand that 1/4” melamine on an mdf core isn’t plywood, but I’ve never had or seen a failure with it.
Also have used several other woodgrain melamines that compliment the exterior color of the cabinetry.

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

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