Need help on drawer design

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Forum topic by Joel_B posted 07-31-2016 03:26 AM 709 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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349 posts in 1553 days

07-31-2016 03:26 AM

I am making some drawers for the nightstand I built.
I have the sides and fronts cut and used a drawer lock router bit to make the joints.
The front, back and sides are prefinished baltic birch ply.
My question has to do with how the bottom fits to the drawer.
I am using 1/4 inch baltic birch ply for the bottom so I will be cutting dados in the front and sides.

How far from the bottom should the dado be? I am thinking 1/4 inch.

Should I cut the back of the drawer with bottom higher so that the bottom can slide in after the drawer is glued?
This way the bottom could be replaced in the future although I think that is unlikely.
I could secure the bottom to the back with a few screws.

Thanks for any advise.

-- Joel, Encinitas, CA

5 replies so far

View MT_Stringer's profile


3181 posts in 3403 days

#1 posted 07-31-2016 06:55 AM

Yes. Cut the back short. Slide in the bottom and pin it.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View JBrow's profile


1366 posts in 1092 days

#2 posted 08-01-2016 01:17 AM


If you are crafting you own drawer slides, I would think a ¼” recess to the bottom edges of the sides would leave sufficient material to keep the bottom in place. However, if at some future point you decide to add manufactured drawer glides, a ½” bottom clearance is generally required for under mount slides.

I capture the drawer bottom in a groove all around the perimeter for the added continuous support. I figure if I ever had to replace the bottom of a drawer, I could rip the back of the drawer to install a new bottom. Nonetheless a back that is shorter than the front and sides should work fine, but the weak point is where the bottom is attached to the drawer box back. Since you are using screws and it is a nightstand where the contents of the drawers will weigh very little, I fail to see any problems. I have noticed drawers where the bottom is nailed to the back do not hold up very well.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5783 posts in 2986 days

#3 posted 08-01-2016 05:21 AM

1/2” is pretty standard, but plan everything around the drawer slides you plan to use.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View rwe2156's profile


3134 posts in 1653 days

#4 posted 08-01-2016 12:09 PM

1/4” is pretty standard but keep in mind with plywood depending on the quality you may end up with it breaking off especially if your bottom is a little snug. You also see this frequently in mass produced drawers just from use and a couple drops on the floor.

Another option, perfectly acceptable, is to make a a groove out of 2 runners top and bottom of the drawers One is set, then the drawer is placed, then the other is glued on.

Yes, you cut the back short and slide the bottom in, use screws. I usually do this while the glue is still green helps square up the drawer.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Joel_B's profile


349 posts in 1553 days

#5 posted 08-02-2016 04:47 AM

I went with 3/8” from the bottom, turned out great.
Now just have to glue it up.

-- Joel, Encinitas, CA

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