Cabinet Drawer Boxes

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Forum topic by jlt posted 04-18-2014 12:33 AM 1278 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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30 posts in 2554 days

04-18-2014 12:33 AM

I am building a bathroom vanity. My question is about the drawer boxes. I have the drawer slides that are designed for a 1/2 inch clearance per side. My boxes are not exactly 1” less than the face frame opening. How much tolerance on the size of the boxes. I am within about 1/16 of an inch on most of them, although one may be closer to 1/8 inch. Most are under size. At least one may be exactly 1” less than the opening.

Am I going to get binding of the slides? I do not have much experience with the drawer boxes. I made them with solid wood and used a 45 degree locking miter bit. The joints are not perfect due to some variation in the solid boards so that is where the variation has come from.

I have not routed for the drawer bottoms yet and have not glued them up. Looking for some advice on whether I can expect them to work OK.

Thanks in advance for your comments.

6 replies so far

View kdc68's profile


2691 posts in 2478 days

#1 posted 04-18-2014 01:07 AM

I’ve had success making the drawer boxes 1-1/16” less than the opening for slides requiring 1/2” clearance on each side. That way I have an extra 1/32nd fudge factor on each side.

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View guitchess's profile


85 posts in 3910 days

#2 posted 04-18-2014 02:46 AM

The cheaper epoxy coated 3/4 extension slides are more likely to let you get away with your variances. If you were going with the ball bearing full extension type, you may have to do some shimming/planing. They will only give you +/- 1/32”. These fussy tolerances are why most cabinet makers use U backs(slide mounting brackets attached to a 1×3) for extra adjustment.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 3432 days

#3 posted 04-18-2014 03:21 AM

It is much easier to shim the drawer slide if the box is a little too small. A deck of playing cards can be used for shims. I have also use the tin caps roofers use. I have a box full left over from a roofing job many years ago.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Yonak's profile


986 posts in 1722 days

#4 posted 04-18-2014 03:29 AM

If your drawers are too wide, could you cut dados to set your slides in ? If the drawers are too narrow, shims should do the trick.

View DS's profile


3033 posts in 2622 days

#5 posted 04-18-2014 04:29 AM

Many full extension guides ask for 1/2” plus 1/32” clearance per side. (17/32 just seems odd I suppose)
Your boxes could fit fairly good if they are slightly under.

You might notice a tabbed mounting hole on the cabinet member of these same guides. These allow the guide to adjust to width tolerances of the drawer box as well.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View jlt's profile


30 posts in 2554 days

#6 posted 04-20-2014 11:45 AM

Thanks for the tips. It looks like I will be doing a little shimming. Is it better to shim under the slide part mounted to the drawer or the face frame?

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