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I fail in order to learn
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I am using 1/2" mdf for drawers. 4" tall and 20" deep. Is it ok to glue and just nail the sides together or do I need something more?
 

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crosseyed & dyslexic
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I would say you need something more, it's called plywood :yes:
Seriously though mdf has got to be one of the worst materials out there for building. I mean it has it's place, like making jigs, maybe a work surface but not in a drawer.
If you're dead set on using it, at least use screws, not nails and make sure to predrill it first as it's prone to split.

Good luck!
 

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Wood Snob
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By the time you put anything in it the drawer will be so heavy you'll be very disappointed.

If you have to get your wood at one of the box stores. Get some of that 1/2" white wood plywood. It's fairly flat and consistent. Also if your not so experienced or have limited tools, read up on some of the simpler ways of constructing a drawer. There are many.

Al

Nails only hold themselves.
 

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Agreed as above. A poplar core plywood or baltic birch will make a great drawer. I use the prefinished plywood in 1/2 or 3/4 depending on drawer size. I make a 1/16" deep rabbet where the front/back meet the sides. This takes away the clearcoat allowing good glue surface which I clamp until dry. I then pop a couple of brads in it for light use drawers or a few equally and attractively spaced, neatly countersunk zinc wood screws for extra strength. Added bonus is that the clearcoat makes glue cleanup super easy so no need to be conservative with the glue. I've been using this style construction for ten years of commercial and school cabinetry work and have never had a failure.
 

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I agree, MDF is just not the material to use... I had some pieces big enough for two 24x24x12 inch deep drawers...
They were so heavy they were hard to handle.... I used glue and brads, and so far, they work just fine, but I wouldn't
do it again..... Go with Plywood, or my favorite, 3/4 pine....

Sent to y'all offen' a iPad thing......
 

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Drawer construction doesn't have to be complicated. Recently I tore down my work bench I built when I moved into this house in 1987. I had made three drawers using 3/4 inch CD plywood. They were assembled with butt joints glue and a finish nailer. Through the years , the drawer slides gave out (cheap) so I had replaced them with the 100# rated ball bearing slides. To break the drawers apart, I had to use a four pound sledge hammer and beat them apart (after 26 years of service). I saved the plywood for other uses. These drawers usually had 20-30 pounds of stuff in them at all times and they never came apart.

Did I mention I hate MDF? Well, I do. The dust is a killer and screw holes always seem to swell, or split the board no matter how careful I am. Predrilling helps but not always.

If I were in the OP's shoes, and didn't have any tools to mill the lumber, I would go to the local Lowe's and buy 1/2 inch poplar boards to make the drawers out of. They look nice and will hold up. I made my own by planing some poplar down to 5/8 inch and finished them with Deft Gloss Clear Wood Finish. They look really nice in the cabinets. See below.
 

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preserving the past
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Mdf

As it becoming obvious MDF is not good for drawer sides. I use MDF only for my painted radiator cover tops and not much else.

I have had great results making drawer boxes from polar when I just cant afford maple which is my first choice.

I have done a couple projects recently that were cost driven and i ended up making the drawer boxes with a nice 3/4 birch plywood. I did simple dado and rabbet construction that was glued and stapled. I round over the top edges inside and out (not the outside where the drawer front goes) and fill any voids before I sand them. Even clear coated these drawers look fine and are very affordable and strong.

Three pics of simple plywood and one of dovetailed maple
 

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Wood Snob
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shopman said:
As it becoming obvious MDF is not good for drawer sides. I use MDF only for my painted radiator cover tops and not much else.

I have had great results making drawer boxes from polar when I just cant afford maple which is my first choice.

I have done a couple projects recently that were cost driven and i ended up making the drawer boxes with a nice 3/4 birch plywood. I did simple dado and rabbet construction that was glued and stapled. I round over the top edges inside and out (not the outside where the drawer front goes) and fill any voids before I sand them. Even clear coated these drawers look fine and are very affordable and strong.

Three pics of simple plywood and one of dovetailed maple
Nice drawers. But oh my! What a mess your shop is in. Now I don't mean that in a bad way. :)

Al

Nails only hold themselves.
 
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