Stupid mistake on shop drawer construction need advice

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Forum topic by juicegoose posted 03-07-2011 08:37 PM 2184 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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117 posts in 3057 days

03-07-2011 08:37 PM

So I’ve been cutting down some leftover plywood(trying to use it all up) for some lower base cabinet drawers for my shop. Last night I thought I had finished all the cuts and when did a baccheck of dimensions murphy slapped me in the face. I seems that I accounted for no rabbits in the frontand back of the drawer which essentially left my drawer fronts & backs 3/4” too short. What do you guys think I should do from here. I’m trying to keep this as cheap as possible and use the ply I have at hand. I have no more ply to recut the fronts and backs so i would have to rebuy the stock to cut them.

As a side note the drawers in question are 24” deep 11” tall and roughly 13” wide. 3/4” ply sides with 1/2” bottom. I’ll be using them to store handheld power tools and such.

1. Should i use some leftover 3/4 material and glue it into the rabbits. Then cut down my fronts and backs to the right size and glue and nail them together. Essentially butt jointing the drawer instead of rabbits? will this be secure?

2. Should I bite the bullet and go spend 30 bucks on a 1/2” sheet of ply and recut the drawer fronts and backs.

9 replies so far

View juicegoose's profile


117 posts in 3057 days

#1 posted 03-07-2011 08:51 PM

Barry thanks for the reply you know in my disgust with myself i had completely forgotten about pocket screws. You think that pocket screws would hold up to going through that little strip i would need to add?

Also I like your name. I was supposed to to fly the wife over to lafayette in a g1000 sky chicken today but a discovery flight at the rental place yesterday didn’t go to well and the owner called to tell me the plane was down because they had to get a professional cleaning firm out there to clean up the up chuck!!!! So friday I’ll be flying out instead.

View Loren's profile


10379 posts in 3643 days

#2 posted 03-07-2011 08:57 PM

If you do it right, pocket screws will work in 1/2” stock to add that strip.

I’d probably just use biscuits because they are fast and hard to mess up
for something like that. Pocket screws tend to push the parts out of
flush when you put them in. The problem can be reduced with clamping,
but biscuits don’t have that particular problem.

View Bertha's profile


13525 posts in 2688 days

#3 posted 03-07-2011 08:58 PM

I’ve used pocket screws for years and find them to be exceptionally strong. The Kreg screws seem to be of high quality, as well. Pocket screws can have an aggressive thread, so I’d probably predrill your flimsier pieces first. I’ve made every mistake possible in drawer construction, from oversizing to undersizing, even to cutting dovetails backward on my final drawer. Such is life! Good luck.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View juicegoose's profile


117 posts in 3057 days

#4 posted 03-07-2011 09:17 PM

Thanks for the advice guys Think i’ll add some strips and put the biscuit jointer to work.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5654 posts in 2808 days

#5 posted 03-07-2011 10:02 PM

Edgeband the plywood fronts. Cut the fronts short on all sides, and use hardwood scraps to bring the drawer to its final dimension. It will look better than plain plywood anyway, and wear better too.

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

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2650 days

#6 posted 03-08-2011 04:43 AM

Doweled drawers are very common. When drawers are specified by an architect for a commercial job, drawer joinery is dowels. Works great.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2918 days

#7 posted 03-08-2011 02:48 PM

Pintos idea seems the best option. Is it possible to make a “frame” for the front and make them overlap drawers?

Now if you will kindly move to the rear and exit you will find the rest of us that have done something similiar. Not dumb mistakes…a learning experience.

-- Life is good.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4120 days

#8 posted 03-09-2011 06:16 PM

Yeah: Dowels or biscuits should work fine. I Domino’d my kitchen drawers together and they’re bomb-proof.

Though if I compare the $30 for a new sheet of plywood to the work it’s gonna take to fill those rabbets or the cost of wood for just about any other thing you’d build in the shop, I think I’d be headed back to the lumber yard…

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View juicegoose's profile


117 posts in 3057 days

#9 posted 03-09-2011 06:37 PM

Well guys the route i ended up taking was this.
First i split the difference on the missing measurement, divided it in half and used some leftover 4/4 red oak to make extensions onto my fronts and backs. I glued them to the fronts and backs and then glued the whole assembly to the rabbits in the sides. I also but a little 1 -1/4 screw in the top and bottom of each side just as backup. Was only able to get to one drawer last night but seems that it should be fine.

Any advice fr a drawer that when set on a level surface has a little wobble? Like it’s got a high side. It’s not much maybe 1/16” but it buggs my perfectionist nature.

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