Drawer Thickness

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Forum topic by Brett posted 01-22-2014 03:49 AM 1414 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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657 posts in 1926 days

01-22-2014 03:49 AM

I’m building a tool cabinet for my workbench. The drawers are approximately 24” by 18” and will provide storage for the usual mix of hand tools, including several hand planes. The drawer sides are 1/2 inch plywood. Is 1/4” plywood sturdy enough for the drawer bottoms, or should I use 1/2” plywood?

-- More tools, fewer machines.

12 replies so far

View Whiskers's profile


389 posts in 1270 days

#1 posted 01-22-2014 04:37 AM

1/4 ply should be fine, for the type tools you describe it’s just the right step up from using masonite which is also common for drawers. Luann ply is cheap and would work good.

View TheGermanJoiner's profile


846 posts in 880 days

#2 posted 01-22-2014 12:13 PM

If you already have the 1/2 inch plywood why not use it on the bottom too. I always over build shop furniture. It takes a beating and you want it to last. Last thing you want is to struggle pulling the drawer out cuz the bottom sagged. Just my 2cents

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

View Tennessee's profile


2364 posts in 1757 days

#3 posted 01-22-2014 12:18 PM

+1 for Vertigo. Shop drawers ALWAYS have more weight in them in the end than we imagine in the beginning.

-- Paul, Tennessee,

View brtech's profile


803 posts in 2166 days

#4 posted 01-22-2014 03:48 PM

I’d use the 1/2”.

An idea: rabbet the edge of the bottom to create a 1/4” x 1/4” tongue with the tongue on the top. Then cut a 1/4×14” dado (I’d actually make it a touch deeper) in the drawer sides placed so that the bottom is flush with the sides. Since its all ply, you don’t need to make the bottom float, and you can glue it in place. This will increase the rigidity of the drawer.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2093 days

#5 posted 01-22-2014 04:15 PM

Drawer bottoms are 1/4” tempered hardboard. Built in 1986. 27 years of fulltime professional service.



-- " 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 MrRon's profile


3609 posts in 2486 days

#6 posted 01-22-2014 04:43 PM

I tend to build shop projects robust. I use 3/4” pine for sides and ends; 1/4” ply for the bottom.

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


2065 posts in 1652 days

#7 posted 01-22-2014 04:44 PM

1/2 would of course be better depending on what you plan to store in them. My question would be what kind of drawer slides do you plan to use? If you plan on loading this thing up with heavy stuff I would rec heavy duty 100-150lb roller bearing slides. If you don’t mind the overbuild with using 1/2 ply splurge some more and double the slides up. Any drawer I make for shop use over 3 inch tall gets heavy duty slides, any over 10 inches get double set. I tend to load them up with all kinds of heavy items I find. Just my pennies worth, I use the other one on the slides…(laughing)

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Brett's profile


657 posts in 1926 days

#8 posted 01-22-2014 05:40 PM

I’m planning to use 100# drawer slides on all the drawers. Most of the drawer will be 3-4” deep, but one will be over 6” deep.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

View darkone's profile


63 posts in 1199 days

#9 posted 01-22-2014 06:10 PM

I’d say go with 1/2” sides and bottoms and the 100# slides. That’s exactly what I did and I have no complaints. Some of my drawers are deeper than yours as well.

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View Texcaster's profile


1055 posts in 917 days

#10 posted 01-22-2014 06:46 PM

If a draw bottom starts to sag, retro fit a support batten front to back in the centre of the bottom. Cut a blind housing on the bottom, inside of the front, nail or screw the batten into the front and back.

-- Bill....... " was you dryin' your nails or a wavin' me goodbye?" Tom Waits

View Woodbum's profile


677 posts in 2308 days

#11 posted 01-22-2014 08:41 PM

+1 Lee Barker. All of my shop cabinet and tool chest drawers have 1/” tempered hardboard or 1/4” ply bottoms. If I worry about sagging, I use 3/4” stock for the sides and front and cut the rabbet/groove for the bottoms 3/8” to 7/16” deep for just a little more support

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


13008 posts in 1861 days

#12 posted 01-22-2014 08:49 PM

+1 to Woodbum’s +1…

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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