LumberJocks

Drawers out of plywood?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Designing Woodworking Projects forum

Forum topic by tblake1984 posted 08-11-2015 06:17 PM 949 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View tblake1984's profile

tblake1984

28 posts in 639 days


08-11-2015 06:17 PM

Hey everyone,

I am in the middle of my first big woodworking project; a new master vanity. I have finished the carcass and am moving on to the face frame, drawers, and doors. It will all be painted so expensive figured woods are not a concern.

My question is this. The plans we commissioned for the thing call for six drawers to be made of hardwood but the cut list calls for 1/2” x 7-1/4” stock to make the drawer boxes. Needless to say, finding 1/2” stock is not easy and a few millyards have offered to mill it for me from 4/4 stock but its expensive even for poplar (like $3.50 a foot plus $55 for milling and a 3-5 day wait). It would come to roughly $170. I am thinking of building these things out of 1/2” plywood instead and making them 1/2” shorter to accomodate a hardwood trim piece along the top so you don’t see the ugly plywood edge when you pull the drawers out.

I don’t have a bandsaw, planer, or jointer otherwise I would mill it myself from rough stock.

What do you think? I would much rather work with hardwood but I just can’t seem to find what I need at a decent price.


18 replies so far

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

6579 posts in 1618 days


#1 posted 08-11-2015 06:24 PM

Plywood is just fine for drawers. I’ve done it a few times. Maybe use Baltic Birch so that you don’t have to worry about any voids showing up?

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View tblake1984's profile

tblake1984

28 posts in 639 days


#2 posted 08-11-2015 06:29 PM

Another option is to make these boxes out of 3/4” stock and simply make them so the outside dimensions are the same. I would give up a 1/2” of interior space in all dimensions but that is another option.

Not really sure what is typically done in this situation… Im lacking experience in cabinet building.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1777 days


#3 posted 08-11-2015 06:33 PM

Yes to 1/2 BB plywood. I’ve made a bunch of drawer out of it. Forget fancy dovetails and all that stuff, a simple lock rabbet works fine.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Earlextech's profile

Earlextech

1159 posts in 2158 days


#4 posted 08-11-2015 06:52 PM

Don’t confuse fine furniture with cabinetry. Nobody expects solid wood drawers in a built-in vanity cabinet. It’s a nice surprise, but not expected. I like the look of clear coated plywood with exposed top edges, rounded over and full extension slides. Dovetailed or not is okay too.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View timbertailor's profile

timbertailor

1592 posts in 892 days


#5 posted 08-11-2015 06:57 PM

I agree with the others. Quality plywood is fine.

Here is a nice way to dress up the edges of the plywood for this and other projects. It does cost up front but it saves on labor in the long run. I hate trimming edge banding and gluing and I love routing.

-- Brad, Texas, https://www.youtube.com/user/tonkatoytruck/feed

View Todd's profile

Todd

385 posts in 1144 days


#6 posted 08-11-2015 06:58 PM

Ditto all comments regarding ply drawers. They look reasonably nice and are sturdy. Lock joints similar to Alaska’s are what I use and once set up on the table saw you can run through a lot of drawers in a reasonable amount of time.

-- Todd, Huntsville, AL

View tblake1984's profile

tblake1984

28 posts in 639 days


#7 posted 08-11-2015 07:35 PM

Thanks guys. I see that you recommend baltic birch ply. Is there a particular reason for this?

Would you recommend cabinet grade or is shop grade good enough?

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1837 days


#8 posted 08-11-2015 07:46 PM

Another vote for plywood. Baltic birch ply is recommended because it has less voids, more plies, less prone to warping when cut, and is overall a much nicer plywood to work with. Exposed edges of course still look like plywood, but they can be routed/sanded smooth and do not look objectionable.

Once I realized what plywood I could get when I didn’t get it from HD/Lowes (which was recently), I haven’t looked back.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View tblake1984's profile

tblake1984

28 posts in 639 days


#9 posted 08-11-2015 07:50 PM



Another vote for plywood. Baltic birch ply is recommended because it has less voids, more plies, less prone to warping when cut, and is overall a much nicer plywood to work with. Exposed edges of course still look like plywood, but they can be routed/sanded smooth and do not look objectionable.

Once I realized what plywood I could get when I didn t get it from HD/Lowes (which was recently), I haven t looked back.

- BinghamtonEd

Thanks for the explanation. Ill have to go spend some time at the lumberyard this weekend and see what they have. Thanks for the help!

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1837 days


#10 posted 08-11-2015 08:11 PM

Helps to call around, too. I was looking for pre-finished maple ply, and the place I used to get my hardwood (used to) from quoted me about 50% more than what it seemed everyone else on this board was paying. I called 3 or 4 places, and only 1 could get it, but the price was right about what I thought it should be.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View timbertailor's profile

timbertailor

1592 posts in 892 days


#11 posted 08-11-2015 10:18 PM

True Baltic Birch Plywood is great stuff but may be overkill for your project. By the way, it only comes in 5’x5’ sheets so if they try to sell you something else, tell them you know better.

That being said, a quality Birch Plywood BB\B or close will be just fine. Especially if you band or edge them in some manner.

Here is a link that I hope you find useful.

-- Brad, Texas, https://www.youtube.com/user/tonkatoytruck/feed

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

706 posts in 855 days


#12 posted 08-11-2015 11:47 PM

Baltic Birch is nice plywood to work with. Our local Woodcraft even has BB that has been cut to some standard widths with the groove for the drawer bottom already cut along the entire length, saving some time.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 1829 days


#13 posted 08-12-2015 12:06 AM

1/2” Baltic birch ply is perfect for drawers.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View bc4393's profile

bc4393

21 posts in 610 days


#14 posted 08-12-2015 02:08 AM

I haven’t done drawers yet but one of my lumber yards even sells standard height boards for drawers at diff lengths for just a few bucks. Don’t quote me but like a 5.5 inch 3 foot long 1/2 inch bb plywood board for maybe 6 bucks or something. They even come already slotted for the bottoms. It was a real eye opener to drawer making. Half the work is already done!. All of our kitchen and bathroom cabinets in our new home are made with bb plywood and wood fronts. Even the big pot and pan drawers. Coat of laquer on them and they look very nice even seeing the sandwich on the top edge.

View fuigb's profile

fuigb

404 posts in 2425 days


#15 posted 08-12-2015 02:46 AM

I use good quality plywood for drawers when better material isn’t on hand. Works fine with a lock-joint and wood glue.

One other point about Baltic: some (iincluding me) realy like the look of the exposed edge. At work there is a team that designs sets, displays, etc. and the chief “creative” guy is a fanatic for Baltic birch, incorporating it and the multi-hued edge into a lot of the properties.

Finally, while I believe that ply is just fine for the OP’s project I’ll add that the Dupa, Lowes, and Menards all carry hardwood “project boards” in 1/2” dimension. Not cheap, but it is available if nothing else will do.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

showing 1 through 15 of 18 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com