Swinging drawer on bathroom vanity - hardware?

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Forum topic by Woodknack posted 07-09-2016 04:14 AM 749 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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11481 posts in 2346 days

07-09-2016 04:14 AM

Topic tags/keywords: swing out drawer

I will be building a vanity to fit an oddball space and want to make swing out drawers for the triangular sides. There would be two or three drawers per side, one atop the other. They will be used everyday so need to be sturdy and dependable. I know on small tables they are built using a brass or steel pin directly through the drawer front as a pivot point but for everyday use it would need a metal sleeve or bushing and thicker wood. I have seen commercial swing out drawers in workbenches. Or can I get away with using regular hinges? Or do they sell hardware for this? (I checked Rockler and didn’t find any) Just want to run this by some other woodworkers and see if I’m thinking this through properly.

Hinge will be on the outsides, orange boxes represent drawers.

-- Rick M,

7 replies so far

View JoeinGa's profile


7735 posts in 1973 days

#1 posted 07-09-2016 01:05 PM

Just brainstorming ( before anybody says “That’s a crazy idea” )

What about a small (narrow) piano hinge? Leave the cabinet side full length and cut the hinge on just the drawer side so each drawer is independently hinged?

The hinge would be completely inside the cabinet so the only thing you’d see is the pin-edge of the hinge along the wall.

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View Roger's profile


20923 posts in 2770 days

#2 posted 07-09-2016 01:53 PM

I think it’s pretty cool. I agree with Joe about the piano hinge

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View JBrow's profile


1348 posts in 886 days

#3 posted 07-09-2016 02:54 PM

Rick M.,

The issue I foresee with a regular hinge or the piano hinge is ensuring the design provides enough support on the drawer side for attaching the hinges. The piano hinge may be a better solution than butt hinges since the drawer height could limit you to one butt hinge.

In your description it sounds like you would like to consider knife hinges or pivot hinges. While I have not used commercial knife hinges, I have made my own version of a pivot hinge for use in the shop; a ¼” steel dowel at the top and bottom of the door frame that set in aligned holes in the door frame and door opening. The homemade versions of the pivot hinge have held up well, but have only supported the weight of the doors; not a drawer loaded with stuff.

There are lots of knife and pivot hinges. These links can get you started if you want to look into these options.

Knife Hinges…

Pivot Hinges…

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11481 posts in 2346 days

#4 posted 07-09-2016 08:55 PM

Joe, I like your idea, especially since I already have a piano hinge. :)

Jbrow, good info. Makes a world of difference when you know the correct search term! Thanks I will consider my options. The pivot hinge is what I was originally looking for.

-- Rick M,

View fatman51's profile


335 posts in 1803 days

#5 posted 07-10-2016 01:40 AM

I have gotten by with piano hinges on jewelry boxes but your vanity drawers may me a little big for this to work out. What I would do is…and mind you that I do tend to take the long way around… fasten a heavy (slightly modified) T-hinge to the back of the inside leg of the drawer such that you would fasten the other side of the hinge to the back wall of the carcass. You can bend the hinge to wrap around the outside corner of the drawer and to fit the inside corner of the carcass. I would use just as much hinge, or hinges, as will fit for height and length. This will, hopefully, give you steel enough to stand the gaff. It will be hidden so looks are not crucial. I should note that I would probably weld my own hinge assemblies up of steel bar stock, steel tubing, and brass rod, but a heavy T-hinge should work if you can find them with tight enough pins.

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View BradN's profile


31 posts in 675 days

#6 posted 07-10-2016 07:01 PM

Not sure on the wood thickness or if you wanted the hinges invisible at a certain point. I have been working with Barrel hinges but not sure if the weight is too much.

-- Woodworking is the best therapy

View Woodknack's profile


11481 posts in 2346 days

#7 posted 11-30-2016 10:54 PM

Getting ready to build this, wanted see if there is any last minute advice. I have 2 hinge designs and will probably build a prototype and test them before committing to making the entire cabinet. Drawers will be about 4.5” tall, 20” wide in the front. If the hinge won’t support the weight (probably won’t) I have a plan to deal with that. I will probably go with a butt hinge if anyone can suggest a very strong, tight, brand?

Left to right: 1) butt hinge, 2) pivot hinge
Pivot hinge would look cleaner but only allows an inset drawer. Butt hinge allows a partial overlay drawer front but you can see the hinge.

The forum shrinks the image so here is a link to a larger version

-- Rick M,

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