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Plywood drawers

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Forum topic by Belg1960 posted 09-18-2011 02:05 AM 2338 views 1 time favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Belg1960

827 posts in 1783 days


09-18-2011 02:05 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Are there any really good videos on line on creating the most solid plywood drawers? Any links that show the joinery clearly would be much appreciated too.

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!


10 replies so far

View LeeG's profile

LeeG

40 posts in 1739 days


#1 posted 09-18-2011 02:43 AM

I don’t have videos, but I have made all of my cabinet drawers from 1/2” Baltic Birch plywood. I use pocket hole joinery to assemble the sides of the drawers, and usually just glue/staple the bottom to the sides.

I use the Micro Pocket Drill Guide with the 1/2” screws instead of the standard jig with the 3/4” screws. The larger screws easily dimple through on 1/2” plywood.

-- Lee in Phoenix

View Grandpa's profile

Grandpa

3193 posts in 1393 days


#2 posted 09-18-2011 03:14 AM

I use a groove around the sides to slip the bottom into. I never attach the bottom to the sides because I feel it can push the joints loose in the corners. I round the top of the sides with a round over bit inside and outside the drawer. Just the way different people do it….

View KayBee's profile

KayBee

1016 posts in 1964 days


#3 posted 09-18-2011 03:26 AM

I’ve used box joints and rabbets (not at the same time) for ply drawers. Something that gives a lot of glue surface to hold it together. Put the bottom in like Grandpa says.

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

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Jerry

2233 posts in 2265 days


#4 posted 09-18-2011 03:29 AM

We build drawers that will be around for 100 years. We dovetail 1/2” baltic birch with a jig and insert the bottom into a groove.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

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Grandpa

3193 posts in 1393 days


#5 posted 09-18-2011 03:45 AM

I vote for Jerry! That is what I do. The corners depend on what I am making. Sometimes you can’t afford to spend the time to make decent joints in the corners of the drawer.

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2710 posts in 1295 days


#6 posted 09-18-2011 03:55 AM

I like to do a groove for the bottom and a tongue and dado for the front. For the back either the same tongue and dado as the front works or a simple dado would work too, but would require an extra pass with the straight bit. You can use a single bit on the router table to do it. Here’s woodsmith's tip page about it, but they use a dado and tablesaw. Same thing applies to the router table and (usually) a 1/2” straight bit.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Belg1960's profile

Belg1960

827 posts in 1783 days


#7 posted 09-18-2011 02:51 PM

I believe for the shop cabinets the method that nitewalker suggested will work great and add plenty of stability. Why would I not want to glue in the bottom? since its all plywood would it not all expand and contract at the same rate? I’m thinking to make the rear piece just short of the dado for the bottom so I can screw the bottom panel to it. Any other thoughts are VERY WELCOME.

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

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NiteWalker

2710 posts in 1295 days


#8 posted 09-18-2011 03:04 PM

Yep, making the back shorter to screw the bottom into is a great way to do it. I learned that by watching Norm.
The only reason I can think of to not glue plywood bottoms into plywood drawers is for repairiability. Should the bottom ever need to be replaced, and provided you made the bottom as mentioned with the back shorter, you could just unscrew the bottom from the back, slide it out and slide a new one in.

EDIT:
In my post above this one I said a 1/2” straight bit; I meant 1/4”.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

2233 posts in 2265 days


#9 posted 09-18-2011 03:51 PM

Great observation nitewalker

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

View Sawkerf's profile

Sawkerf

1730 posts in 1786 days


#10 posted 09-18-2011 04:04 PM

I’ve always built my drawer boxes with 1/2” ply. If I’m using side mounted glides, the sides and front get a 1/4” or 1/2” rabbet ~1/4” from the bottom edge which carries the drawer bottom. The drawer back doesn’t
get a rabbet. The bottoms “float” in the rabbets and are nailed or screwed to the back. Only small drawers get 1/4” bottoms.

If I’m using those 3/4 extension glides, I skip the rabbet and nail/screw the bottom directly to the box. Those glides wrap under the box and provide the necessary support.

I don’t glue bottoms to the boxes in case repairs are ever needed. I’ve built a few hundred drawers over the years and never had a failure.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

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