Reinforcing drawer bottoms

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Forum topic by Posty posted 12-16-2013 03:53 AM 3303 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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67 posts in 1693 days

12-16-2013 03:53 AM

So my dad asked me to help him with a problem he is having with the drawer bottoms in his motor home. The drawer bottoms are somewhat weak and they flex a little when loaded. Was wondering if there is a way to reinforce the bottoms without replacing the bottoms. There is about 1/8 of an inch space under the drawer bottoms, don’t know if I could put something in that space or not? We will also be replacing all the drawer slides so I will have all the drawers completely out to do any modifications.

8 replies so far

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2639 days

#1 posted 12-16-2013 04:07 AM

Glue oak strips on the bottoms. Clamp then they should be stiffer.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3272 days

#2 posted 12-16-2013 04:19 AM

Put a thicker piece of drawer bottom (plywood) on top of the old drawer

View MT_Stringer's profile


3160 posts in 3194 days

#3 posted 12-16-2013 04:34 AM

+1 what Greg said

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2934 days

#4 posted 12-16-2013 04:50 AM

If the bottoms are typical of motor home drawer bottoms they are probably 1/8” Masonite or hardboard. Possibly they are 1/8” plywood, but in either case you could glue a new 1/8” thick layer on top of the existing bottom.

That would give you 1/4” thick drawer bottoms and would be much sturdier. The loss of capacity would only be 1/8” and probably not even noticeable.

You only want to glue the new bottom layer onto the existing bottom and not to the drawer front, back or sides. Exception to this suggestion would be if the drawer bottom is already stapled to the drawer sides. Some manufacturers, to save money, cut a rabbit in the sides and then staple the bottom into the rabbit. Not very strong and prone to coming loose under load. Proper construction would have a bottom panel captured in dados in the sides and not glued or stapled at all.

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 2527 days

#5 posted 12-16-2013 04:51 AM

Both my wife and I have cheap flatpack dressers from target that are 4-5 years old and have been through multiple moves. With both of them I’ve replaced the cardboard bottoms with a plywood and laminate panel. I actually just finished my wifes today. I mostly just screwed through the sides into the edges of the plywood and then covered it with the laminate on top to give it a better looking surface. If it was a finer piece of furniture I might have tried for pocket hole screws so they wouldn’t be seen but for this situation I really just needed to put lipstick on a pig.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View TheGermanJoiner's profile


847 posts in 1601 days

#6 posted 12-16-2013 05:09 AM

+1 to greg. It helps that he has a great name too ;)

-- Greg - Ferdinand and Son Construction: Do it right the first time. Like us on Facebook

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3048 days

#7 posted 12-16-2013 04:02 PM

Some of these drawer bottoms are not even 1/8” thick, I think the manufacturers order a special thin stock
to save a few pennies. I found out when I replaced on of the drawer bottoms and had to plane the edges
of new 1/8” hardboard to get it to slide into the groove, so gluing a piece of hardboard to either the top
or bottom of the existing drawer bottom would strengthen it quite a bit.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View danoaz's profile


222 posts in 2133 days

#8 posted 12-16-2013 04:16 PM

+1 with grampa – You want the wood strips to go in the short direction of the drawer. Depends on how big the drawer is but figure on at least 3 strips about 1 to 2 inches wide and 1/8 inch thick. If you put something in the drawer as suggested you do want it to be something that you can wipe clean and won’t snag or harm the clothes.

-- "Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art." Frank LLoyd Wright

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