Joinery for drawers - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 Old 04-29-2018, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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Joinery for drawers

I made a tool cabinet for my basement. Everything came out pretty square. When it came to my drawers I was troubled because I just was not sure how to make them. I watched You Tube videos and there were a lot of different ways. I tried going to Home depot and all the wood I got was not perfectly straight. Since I do not have hand planes or a joiner or even a planer to make the boards flat I just measured the length and cut rabbits on the ends and screwed them in place. Not very pretty. Then some videos showed using 1/2" sanded BB plywood. They used a box joint/tongue type groove, glued and nailed. Here is my non-experience come into play. Why would you use nails into plywood? Everything I have read says nails will split plywood. I go to Lowes or Home Depot and the shortest common or brad is 1-1/4". That is a long nail. When I did may rabbit on a 1 x 4 or 1 x 6, I did the joining using a 1-1/4" screw which I thought was long.

This may not be the place for this part of the discussion but I made the drawers and they work however I just want to put a false front on and was thinking of screwing from inside the drawer however if I am using 1/4" I do not know how to keep a clean looking face with a very short holding length. If I screw from the outside and screw into a 3/4" board then I need to cover up a couple of screw heads. Any suggestions? I do not think Gluing is a good idea because with rough 1 X 4 or 1 X 6 not planed they have some bows or slight twist.
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post #2 of 12 Old 04-29-2018, 04:26 PM
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How about holding the face on with drawer handles. Not ideal, but nothing will show through. 1/4 plywood is not very sturdy for a face drawer, something thicker would be better.

Use double sided tape to hold it in place while you drill for handles.


In woodworking there is always more then one way to accomplish something.
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post #3 of 12 Old 04-29-2018, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scott67 View Post
I made a tool cabinet for my basement. Everything came out pretty square. When it came to my drawers I was troubled because I just was not sure how to make them. I watched You Tube videos and there were a lot of different ways. I tried going to Home depot and all the wood I got was not perfectly straight. Since I do not have hand planes or a joiner or even a planer to make the boards flat I just measured the length and cut rabbits on the ends and screwed them in place. Not very pretty. Then some videos showed using 1/2" sanded BB plywood. They used a box joint/tongue type groove, glued and nailed. Here is my non-experience come into play. Why would you use nails into plywood? Everything I have read says nails will split plywood. I go to Lowes or Home Depot and the shortest common or brad is 1-1/4". That is a long nail. When I did may rabbit on a 1 x 4 or 1 x 6, I did the joining using a 1-1/4" screw which I thought was long.

This may not be the place for this part of the discussion but I made the drawers and they work however I just want to put a false front on and was thinking of screwing from inside the drawer however if I am using 1/4" I do not know how to keep a clean looking face with a very short holding length. If I screw from the outside and screw into a 3/4" board then I need to cover up a couple of screw heads. Any suggestions? I do not think Gluing is a good idea because with rough 1 X 4 or 1 X 6 not planed they have some bows or slight twist.
Russian birch is some pretty good material to make drawer boxes out of. It's not really necessary to use fancy joints. If you glue and nail it together especially if you glue in the drawer bottom the joints should stay together for decades. Plywood isn't bad at all to split, it's solid wood you sometimes have it split a little.

As far as the size of the nail I put together most things I build including drawer boxes with 1 1/2" nails. A screw would be functionally better but unless you used a finish screw the head would look unsightly. It would give the appearance the drawer had come apart and someone repaired it with screws.

The term false front really means a drawer front which there is no drawer attached to it. It's just looks like a drawer front which covers something behind it like a sink bowl. Anyway when I put a drawer front on a drawer box I always put a couple of screws from the back side. Some people glue and nail them but if the drawer front gets damaged you end up tearing up the drawer trying to get the front off. Mounting it with screws firmly mounts the fronts and easily makes it removable. It can be a bit awkward screwing the box to the front because the front tries to move while you are doing it. I usually nail the drawer box to the front with a few short nails to hold it in place until I put the screws in. The nails can be put in underneath the bottom of the drawer so they don't show.
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post #4 of 12 Old 04-30-2018, 08:32 AM
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Drawers are "boxes" ....

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Originally Posted by scott67 View Post
I made a tool cabinet for my basement. Everything came out pretty square. When it came to my drawers I was troubled because I just was not sure how to make them. I watched You Tube videos and there were a lot of different ways. I tried going to Home depot and all the wood I got was not perfectly straight. Since I do not have hand planes or a joiner or even a planer to make the boards flat I just measured the length and cut rabbits on the ends and screwed them in place. Not very pretty. Then some videos showed using 1/2" sanded BB plywood. They used a box joint/tongue type groove, glued and nailed. Here is my non-experience come into play. Why would you use nails into plywood? Everything I have read says nails will split plywood. I go to Lowes or Home Depot and the shortest common or brad is 1-1/4". That is a long nail. When I did may rabbit on a 1 x 4 or 1 x 6, I did the joining using a 1-1/4" screw which I thought was long.

This may not be the place for this part of the discussion but I made the drawers and they work however I just want to put a false front on and was thinking of screwing from inside the drawer however if I am using 1/4" I do not know how to keep a clean looking face with a very short holding length. If I screw from the outside and screw into a 3/4" board then I need to cover up a couple of screw heads. Any suggestions? I do not think Gluing is a good idea because with rough 1 X 4 or 1 X 6 not planed they have some bows or slight twist.

Boxes are used in so many woodworking projects, you'll need to make them efficiently. You will eventually need to flatten your boards by hand or what ever means. Hand planes and sanding blocks will do the job. You can take two sheets of 80 grit and tape/spray glue them to a flat surface. Then slide the drawer across back and forth until they are flat.

For this project, I assume it will have handles or knobs to secure the fronts. In addition, a few spots of glue will hold them on. I wouldn't use fasteners of any type. Hot glue is another option and it is tenacious in holding power, a few spots will work and set up quickly.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 04-30-2018 at 08:34 AM.
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post #5 of 12 Old 04-30-2018, 01:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scott67 View Post
I made a tool cabinet for my basement. Everything came out pretty square.
Nice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scott67 View Post
Here is my non-experience come into play. Why would you use nails into plywood? Everything I have read says nails will split plywood. I go to Lowes or Home Depot and the shortest common or brad is 1-1/4".
I think it depends on what one's definition of "split" is. I use finish nails into plywood a lot. Sometimes they create a bulge, sometimes not. Usually it doesn't matter for what I'm doing.

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I do not think Gluing is a good idea because with rough 1 X 4 or 1 X 6 not planed they have some bows or slight twist.
When you say rough, do you mean rough as in not surfaced at all? It still has the splintery surfaces? Sorry if I'm misunderstanding.
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post #6 of 12 Old 04-30-2018, 01:33 PM
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I agree, 1/4" faces are really too thin.
To fasten a face on, drill two holes into the box front. Insert two sharp screws that are large enough to hold in the holes (one size larger than what you are going to use for the attachment) so they just stick through about 3/32" Put the drawer box in place, fully closed. Position the front and hit it with your hand. It will make two dents where you need to drill the pilot holes to hold the front on.

If you are going to do woodworking a basic hand plane will come in really handy. The cheap Chinese ones you can buy at Home Depot can be tuned up to work OK. You will need to flatten the sole and adjust the frog so you have a gap appropriate for the work you do. The cap iron needs to be trued to the plane iron and adjusted close to the opening so it will cause the chip to break rather than run. I'm sure there are demos on YouTube.
If you can't find one e-mail me and I can walk you through the setup. A little time consuming but you only have to do it once.
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post #7 of 12 Old 05-01-2018, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gj13us View Post
Nice.



I think it depends on what one's definition of "split" is. I use finish nails into plywood a lot. Sometimes they create a bulge, sometimes not. Usually it doesn't matter for what I'm doing.



When you say rough, do you mean rough as in not surfaced at all? It still has the splintery surfaces? Sorry if I'm misunderstanding.
The rough I mean is just how I got it from the Home Depot. To fit the drawers, I first put two 3/16" spacers (long pieces of strip wood) on the inside wall where the drawer was going. Then I cut two pieces of rough lumber, 1x4, the depth of the drawer. Next, I put two rabbit cuts, one on each end. After I butted those pieces which will be the sides against the spacer pieces I measure the remaining distance, did some math for a bottom drawer to slide into a dadoe and poof, I have a drawer. Then I test fit the drawer and did some sanding for it to slide smoothly. I did add a 1/4" false front by screwing into the frame of the drawer and used some finish washers (chrome finish) and added a cheap handle. It looks pretty nice for something that will only be seen by me in my shop. I will show pictures later.


I am going to try the plywood way to make drawers and maybe attempt using one of those box joint to hold them together. I am wanting to make a room organizer for my daughter's room so I am practicing before making something I will show of to friends and family.


-Scott
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post #8 of 12 Old 05-02-2018, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by scott67 View Post
The rough I mean is just how I got it from the Home Depot. To fit the drawers, I first put two 3/16" spacers (long pieces of strip wood) on the inside wall where the drawer was going. Then I cut two pieces of rough lumber, 1x4, the depth of the drawer. Next, I put two rabbit cuts, one on each end. After I butted those pieces which will be the sides against the spacer pieces I measure the remaining distance, did some math for a bottom drawer to slide into a dadoe and poof, I have a drawer. Then I test fit the drawer and did some sanding for it to slide smoothly. I did add a 1/4" false front by screwing into the frame of the drawer and used some finish washers (chrome finish) and added a cheap handle. It looks pretty nice for something that will only be seen by me in my shop. I will show pictures later.


I am going to try the plywood way to make drawers and maybe attempt using one of those box joint to hold them together. I am wanting to make a room organizer for my daughter's room so I am practicing before making something I will show of to friends and family.


-Scott
I think maybe I'm stumbling over your terminology. The pic on the top is what HD typically sells. The pic on the bottom is "rough,"
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post #9 of 12 Old 05-02-2018, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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I think maybe I'm stumbling over your terminology. The pic on the top is what HD typically sells. The pic on the bottom is "rough,"
I think you are right. I am talking about the top image from Home Depot. When I saw rough I mean no planning hand or machine. I attach some photos of my drawers. The front face is 1/4" plywood screwed on with finishing washers. The drawers were put together using rabbit joints and screws. I need to either learn how to use a hand plane or invest in a planer. I tried the sand paper technique for trying to level out boards...I just do not have that kind of time.

I thank everyone for their advice and comments and on my next project I will try to incorporate them so my project will look nice maybe even professional looking.
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post #10 of 12 Old 05-17-2018, 02:16 PM
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Looks like you got it all together! I wanted to share that using brads in plywood works fine, at least in the sanded birch ply I was working with recently. Box joint is certainly stronger, but it takes a lot more time. My aunt built a small dresser with 16 gauge wire brads, butt joints, and glue. With the plywood bottom glued into place the drawers are really solid, and have been in use for 20 years.

I used 1 1/4" 16 gauge nails for similar drawers made of 1/2" birch plywood, and had no problems.
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post #11 of 12 Old 05-17-2018, 02:43 PM
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When I built my bathroom vanity last fall, I used butt-joined 1/2" oak ply to make the drawer sides, with 1/4" oak ply bottoms in dados on the sides. It's all held together with 1" 18 ga brads and glue, lots of glue. When I build my shop cabinet, I'll use 1/2" ply for the bottoms because 1/4" is too light for the heavier loads of tools.

<Chas>
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post #12 of 12 Old 05-18-2018, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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When I built my bathroom vanity last fall, I used butt-joined 1/2" oak ply to make the drawer sides, with 1/4" oak ply bottoms in dados on the sides. It's all held together with 1" 18 ga brads and glue, lots of glue. When I build my shop cabinet, I'll use 1/2" ply for the bottoms because 1/4" is too light for the heavier loads of tools.
I am going to build my daughter a room organizer next. I used 1/4 hardboard for the drawer bottoms. I my try something different. I did not find any 1" brads when I was shopping at the local home center.
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