How To Make Drawers

Making drawers can be a tedious and time-consuming job and it is unlikely that you would want to go to all the trouble of making dovetail joints for the fronts. Housed joints will do the job just as well and, if you prefer it, you can use plastic extrusions instead of wood.

There are one or two different plastic drawer systems, but most include a corner joint which enables the drawers to be assembled using only square cut materials. Using these drawer systems does limit the depth of the drawers to that of the extrusions. If you want to have a more varied choice you will have to use wood and chipboard.

The easiest type of drawer is the one with the front wider than the sides so that it fits over the face of the cabinet. The drawer itself is then made as a square box with the ends housed or rebated into the sides. These joints are glued and pinned.

Ideally, the bottom of the drawer is fitted into a groove in the sides and front, and the back of the drawer is made shallower than the sides, finishing level with the top edge of the groove so that the bottom can be slid into place and pinned to the bottom edge of the drawer back.

A rebate can be made for the drawer bottom, but it is not very good as it does not leave much for the drawer to run on. The drawer will not run freely if the bottom is simply fixed directly to the bottom edges of the sides.

Side runners are therefore the best solution. A strip of hardwood, glued and screwed to the outside of each side of the drawer, slides on a similar strip of hardwood fixed to the inside of the cabinet. This means that the drawer tray is made 20mm narrower than the opening to make a space for the two lOmm runners. The false front, which overlaps the sides of the cabinet, is screwed into place.

Using side runners means that there need be no cabinet rail showing between the drawers which will then present a flush finish. If rails are needed to strengthen the cabinet, they can be fixed by letting them into the sides or screwing them through the sides, dependent on the quality of finish required. In this case the width of the drawer front will have to be adjusted to cover the rails.

Drawers can be run on bottom rails if the drawer bottom is fixed to battens glued and pinned to the inside of the drawer about 10mm above the bottom of the sides, but this reduces the storage depth of the drawer.

Always remember to make your drawers as strong as possible so that the weight they bear will be well supported.

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