Drawer Oops - need advice

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Forum topic by ChunkyC posted 12-02-2009 03:38 AM 1156 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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856 posts in 3251 days

12-02-2009 03:38 AM

I’ve made an oops, again! I managed to assemble a large drawer, ~20×14x9, using 1/2” finger joint construction, 1/2” Birch Ply, without cutting the grove for the drawer bottom. Dummy me.

Any safe ideas on how to install the drawer bottom? I’m out of 1/2” ply and I hate to trash that much ply building a new drawer. The drawer is for shop furniture so I’m not too particular on the finish looks, more about the finish function. I suppose I could just attach a drawer bottom to the bottom of the sides (glue and brads) and be done with it but I’m concerned about the weight. A draw that large is going to carry some weight. Or is this another mountain / mole hill situation?

Thanks for taking the time,


-- Chunk's Workshop pictures:

10 replies so far

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3482 days

#1 posted 12-02-2009 03:51 AM

You may could glue in some ledges, say 3/4×3/4 inch strips along the bottom of all 4 sides and drop in and glue a piece of 1/2 inch ply. You can also install some runners along the underside of the bottom for support. I came real close to making a similar mistake but realized the error before glue-up. That was a close one…

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3337 days

#2 posted 12-02-2009 03:58 AM

sounds like david got it right !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3288 days

#3 posted 12-02-2009 04:04 AM

David’s method is easier (therefore better), but here was my first thought: use a router and a slot cutting bit to cut a slot around all 4 sides where the groove should have been. Then, cut clean through the groove on the back. Slide the bottom in from the back and anchor it so it doesn’t slide back out. You’ll also have to do some cleanup at the corners.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View Northerner's profile


88 posts in 3157 days

#4 posted 12-02-2009 04:14 AM

im with jjohnston, i was going to say a router would be the way go but he beat me to it.

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning!

View bigike's profile


4052 posts in 3285 days

#5 posted 12-02-2009 04:32 AM

do it easy like dave said, thats the easy way to go i think plus you dont have to worry about the weight cuz the strips u screw and glue in will hold. and u got the grain matching with the sides and the strips so u get good glue strenth.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View ChunkyC's profile


856 posts in 3251 days

#6 posted 12-02-2009 04:39 AM

I hadn’t thought of the runner idea. That sounds pretty easy to me. A little glue, a couple of brads, easy peasy, jap and easy.

I don’t have a slot cutting bit, but that wouldn’t stop me from getting one. I was thinking maybe using the router table, use a straight bit and cut a rabbet all the way around the inside. But this would trap the piece between the bit and the fence and that sounded like a recipe for disaster as I’m still pretty new to the idea of having a router table.

Sounds like not all is lost. Thanks for the advice!


Now if anyone knows how to get this new puppy of mine to allow me more than 5 minutes in shop, that would be a huge help.

-- Chunk's Workshop pictures:

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51457 posts in 3477 days

#7 posted 12-02-2009 05:33 AM

I vote for the router method too.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View map's profile


98 posts in 3510 days

#8 posted 12-02-2009 05:43 AM

David’s method is quick, easy and appropriate for a shop drawer.

-- measure once, cut once, swear, start over

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10479 posts in 3425 days

#9 posted 12-02-2009 12:24 PM

Sounds like you have some ideas that will work for the drawer. Now, as to the puppy, No problem! Everybody needs a shop dog….or cat….or both!
Before the owls got my cat, he used to wait until I was working at the TS then, jump on my shoulder and lick my ear.
The dog just lays under the bench.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3283 days

#10 posted 12-02-2009 09:42 PM

I did that once. I cut the 1/2” ply wood to fit tight inside the drawer. Then I carefully drilled 1/4” holes through the sides into the bottom. I used 1/4” dowels glued and pressed through the sides, into the bottom. I also glued the edge of the bottom to the sides. I clamped it to make sure everything pulled up. It all worked perfect. The drawer guides hid it so no one but me will ever know.

The mark of a good woodworker is not being perfect, but being able to hid your mistakes.


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