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drawer bottom thickness & do you rabbit thicker bottoms

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Forum topic by JesseTutt posted 688 days ago 2434 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JesseTutt

802 posts in 735 days


688 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question drawer construction shop cabinets

I am working on more drawers for workshop storage. The current set is 16” wide x 22” deep x 12” high and made of 3/4” plywood (it’s what I had on the rack). A couple of drawers will be holding close to 100 pounds each. Instead of using 1/4” ply, should I switch to 1/2”? If so, do you suggest that I cut a 1/2” grove in the sides or 1/4” and rabbit the bottom?

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri


28 replies so far

View nwbusa's profile

nwbusa

1016 posts in 911 days


#1 posted 688 days ago

Yes to 1/2” ply. Yes to a 1/2” groove (dado) as opposed to a rabbet joint. You’ll lose a bit of drawer space but it will be stronger.

-- John, BC, Canada

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

1712 posts in 1118 days


#2 posted 687 days ago

Another vote for the 1/2”...but I’m thinking (if I understand it correctly) the choice between that 1/2” groove or a 1/4” groove isn’t really that big a consideration (the 1/4” rabbet would have just about the same strength I think). But it would be easier to just make a 1/2” groove. Is there a reason to not do it that way? BTW, skip that floating panel/bottom concept…glue those suckers in!

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, we sent 'em to Washington.

View MJCD's profile

MJCD

452 posts in 996 days


#3 posted 687 days ago

Absolutely dado the 1/2”. Since it’s all plywood, you can glue all joined edges

-- Lead By Example; Make a Difference

View kizerpea's profile

kizerpea

746 posts in 992 days


#4 posted 687 days ago

100LBS? in one drawer…need to find somewhere else to store the fishing lead…

-- IF YOUR NOT MAKING DUST...YOU ARE COLLECTING IT! SOUTH CAROLINA.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2163 posts in 1475 days


#5 posted 687 days ago

Another option to consider: 1/4” tempered hardboard (“masonite”). It won’t break.

Actually I think 1/4 fir plywood would be fine as well, glued in. I would avoid mdf-core 5.2mm material.

1/2” material seems overkill to me.

Once you get all the gold ingots in there, the drawers will be fine so long as you don’t use them as a pullout stepstool.

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Domer's profile

Domer

244 posts in 1991 days


#6 posted 687 days ago

Stickley website shows people standing in their drawers and they use 1/4 in plywood.

I made a kitchen island that has pretty large drawers and it is full of dishes. I have never weighed them but they are pretty heavy and have not had any problems.

Make sure your slides are adequate to hold the weight.

Domer

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2788 posts in 1868 days


#7 posted 687 days ago

My vote is for a 1/4” rabbit and 1/2” plywood.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2478 posts in 976 days


#8 posted 687 days ago

I also vote for some kind of rabbet joint and dado because as we all know 1/2” plywood is not actually 1/2”.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

5501 posts in 2053 days


#9 posted 687 days ago

I’m an overkill kinda guy I guess. I would use 1/2” ply on a drawer of that size an the weight you have.

-- 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 AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

590 posts in 934 days


#10 posted 687 days ago

post deleted

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View teejk's profile

teejk

1208 posts in 1309 days


#11 posted 687 days ago

100 lbs is a lot! I’d opt for dado over rabbet. weight will be on the drawer box as opposed to relying on glue/nails.

with that weight you only want to do it once otherwise you have to pull it all out and start over. 16”x22” will certainly “test” 1/4” anything even at half that load so I’d opt for 1/2” (I’d even think about 3/4” but then think about a snow load on a roof where 1/2 seems to be ok).

View nwbusa's profile

nwbusa

1016 posts in 911 days


#12 posted 687 days ago

I’ve made drawers that are 46” x 28”, one of them 15” deep and loaded with well over 100 pounds. 1/2” Baltic birch plywood bottom dadoed into the 3/4” BB drawer carcass was plenty sufficient.

-- John, BC, Canada

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

590 posts in 934 days


#13 posted 686 days ago

I have built a lot of drawer over the years. When I make all plywood drawers I use 1/2” Baltic Birch sides and 1/4 Baltic Birch bottoms set in a 1/4 dado. The 1/4 Baltic Birch is dam near a full 1/4 and fits in the 1/4 dado perfect. Its pretty darn strong too. All my shop drawer, kitchen drawer are made this way. At my work place with the School District I’ve built a lot drawers with 1/4 bottoms for years. No problems.

I the picture below my wife who weight in at 120 lbs is standing smack in the middle of a 22 X 44’’ drawer that has a 1/4’’ BB bottom. I measured the deflection in the middle and it was 1/4’’. I generally use 100lbs rated full extension ball bearing side mount drawer slide which I figure will fail before the drawer bottom will. If you like to over build I’d say you’re well on your way.

BTW what you using for drawer slides?

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View JesseTutt's profile

JesseTutt

802 posts in 735 days


#14 posted 686 days ago

Thanks!

It sounds like we are about evenly split.

Last night I went ahead and used the 1/2” (slightly less) for the bottoms. It may be over-engineering but I will feel safest, also it allowed me to use up some 1/2” scrap.

For drawer slides, I use the 75 lbs white epoxy slides for smaller (and lighter) drawers and 100 lbs Centerline (Rockler) for the large (and heavy) drawers.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

5501 posts in 2053 days


#15 posted 686 days ago

Good choices, Jesse.

-- 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

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