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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I want to build four large drawers to serve as pullouts from inside two bottom kitchen cabinets. There will be two drawers 39 inches wide by 23 inches deep. The other two drawers will be 32 inches wide by 23 inches deep. There is no support frame for the drawers, so I plan to install a pair of metal slides underneath each drawer.

The drawers will hold a lot of weight - pots and pans, dishes, serving platters, etc. The idea is to make it easier to retrieve items by pulling out the drawers instead of getting on hands and knees to reach deep inside the cabinets. The person I am building them for is 85 years old, but active.

I plan to make the front, back, and sides from 1/2 inch maple boards and use dovetail joints. I plan to make the bottom from 1/2 inch baltic birch plywood. I thought about using a rabbet joint around the edge of the plywood so that the front, back, and sides would cover the plywood and also be supported by the plywood.

HERE ARE MY QUESTIONS:

1. 1/2 INCH BALTIC BIRCH PLYWOOD BOTTOM?
Would you use something other than baltic birch plywood? Joint some boards together instead? Is 1/2 inch baltic birch plywood thick enough to support the weight of pots and pans? If not, how thick should it be? 5/8 inch? 3/4 inch?

2. 1/2 INCH MAPLE FRONT, BACK, and SIDES?
Good choice? Would some other type of wood be better? Is 1/2 inch the right thickness? (Bonus: I have a couple of 1/2 maple boards in my garage.)

3. USE A RABBET JOINT TO ATTACH BOTTOM TO FRONT, BACK, AND SIDES?
Good idea? Bad idea?
How would you attach the front, back and sides of the drawer to the bottom of the drawer? Would you make dados around the front, back, and sides instead? If so, how would you attach the drawer slides to the bottom? Add wood strips underneath?

4. CAN YOU RECOMMEND GOOD BOTTOM SLIDES AND WHERE TO GET THEM?
I need good bottom slides that can support the weight of each drawer and its contents from underneath the drawer when extended. The extension should be sufficient to make the drawer usable, but it doesn't have to be a full-length extension. Close is good enough.

Your comments and advice would be most appreciated. Thanks in advance!
 

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You could put a 1/2" wide 1/4" deep groove 1/4" up from the bottom on the inside of all the drawer parts. Then your bottom panel is completely captured and that's the strongest.

I can't give specifics on slides. I've only used bottom mount Euro 3/4 extension (which really means bottom of the sides) and side mount ball bearing full extension. I'm not sure if you meant undermount, which are completely hidden.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Honestly, I am not sure about the correct type of slide to buy. What I THINK I need are ball bearing (heavy load bearing) slides that are mounted to the cabinet shelf, where the slides support the drawers from the bottom. Perhaps there is a better solution.

The cabinets have a face frame for the doors, but there are no walls on the inside, where the drawers will go. That is why I was thinking of slides that support the drawers from the bottom.

One cabinet is against a wall. The other cabinet is a freestanding peninsula. The back of that cabinet is probably some type of plywood, and I don't know how thick it is.
 

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I just helped a friend re-do drawers just like you’re talking about.
The weight on these large drawers was very heavy when loaded with dishes.
The original slides only last about a year before the bearings came out. The original slides were too light for the weight they were expected to carry.
Replaced the old slides with heavy duty full extension drawer slides rated for 150 pounds.
Shimmed the new slides to make sure they were exactly square in the cabinet. The originals were off by about 3/16” from front to back. Used larger screws than original for extra support.
A 3/8” bottom is sufficient. This can be plywood.
If you build your drawer box out of 3/4” Baltic Birch Plywood, cut a 3/8” deep dado about 3/4” from the bottom to support the drawer bottom. This will make a very strong drawer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You could put a 1/2" wide 1/4" deep groove 1/4" up from the bottom on the inside of all the drawer parts. Then your bottom panel is completely captured and that's the strongest.

I can't give specifics on slides. I've only used bottom mount Euro 3/4 extension (which really means bottom of the sides) and side mount ball bearing full extension. I'm not sure if you meant undermount, which are completely hidden.
That's the dado solution. My concern is that you are assuming a 1/4 inch thick drawer bottom, which is typical, but will the 1/4 inch drawer bottom support the heavy pots and pans over a 39 inch width? Or are you proposing that I thin the edges of the bottom to fit the 1/4 dado groove with a rabbet or a tongue?
 

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You could put a 1/2" wide 1/4" deep groove 1/4" up from the bottom on the inside of all the drawer parts. Then your bottom panel is completely captured and that's the strongest.

I can't give specifics on slides. I've only used bottom mount Euro 3/4 extension (which really means bottom of the sides) and side mount ball bearing full extension. I'm not sure if you meant undermount, which are completely hidden.
That's the dado solution. My concern is that you are assuming a 1/4 inch thick drawer bottom, which is typical, but will the 1/4 inch drawer bottom support the heavy pots and pans over a 39 inch width? Or are you proposing that I thin the edges of the bottom to fit the 1/4 dado groove with a rabbet or a tongue?
Nope, I meant 1/2" wide to accommodate the 1/2" (probably more like 7/16") plywood bottom. Think about width and depth of the dado when the boards for the drawer box are laying flat.
 

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I made similar drawers.....mine aren't quite as wide. The front and sides are 3/4" cabinet grade plywood. The bottoms are 1/2" plywood and completely captured. I used side mounted slides.....KV8400 series. These hold a lot of weight.....loaded with canned goods.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Nope, I meant 1/2" wide to accommodate the 1/2" (probably more like 7/16") plywood bottom. Think about width and depth of the dado when the boards for the drawer box are laying flat.
Doh! Of course you meant 1/2 inch. I misread what you wrote. Yes, I can use a dado blade on the table saw or a router to do that.

Thanks for the advice and the correction.
 

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The 1/2" plywood would be alright. Over time there will be a certain amount of sagging on the shelf even if you used 3/4" plywood. What would help is if you used undermount slides. This would enable you to more evenly distribute the weight. If you use side mount slides you might leave 1/4" space under the drawer so it won't drag the bottom when it sags.
 
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