Drawers in the stairs- Anyone done this?

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Forum topic by Bob #2 posted 03-13-2009 07:06 PM 10815 views 2 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Bob #2

3809 posts in 3442 days

03-13-2009 07:06 PM

Topic tags/keywords: stair drawers drawers space saving stairs question

There’s always some thing on the floor around the back door at home. I ‘m thinking this might help .
I was just wondering if I should replace the tread with something stronger as the bracing might have to be conpensated?
If you have done this how do you safety lock the drawer so they don’t pop open in the middle of the night.

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

11 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3639 days

#1 posted 03-13-2009 07:14 PM

Bob, if the stairway in question is wide enough to have a center stringer, I think the only safe option would be to put two smaller drawers under each step. Putting a full-width drawer would basically mean doing away with the middle stringer. That doesn’t sound like a good idea to me.

If you are only talking about putting one drawer at the bottom, like in the photo. I would want to be able to get under the stairway to brace that middle stringer to the floor. I don’t think the tread would be a real problem if the drawer front was sturdy and extended full height so that it would bear the weight of any spring in the tread.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Karson's profile


35032 posts in 3821 days

#2 posted 03-13-2009 07:22 PM

Bob: that’s an interesting solution to storage problems. I remember a childs steps to an upper bunk posting here in LJ’s had shelves like that but the steps were probably about 16” wide and a childs weight.

I think I agree with Charlie about the support for the step probably be the design problem.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View TomK 's profile


504 posts in 3295 days

#3 posted 03-13-2009 07:28 PM

My grandfather did this years ago on the steps down into his basement and it has withstood the test of time. On the underside of each tread, front and back, he drilled and screwed 1 and 1/2 inch angle iron from the edge of one tread to the other. It means each drawer is a little shallower, but the oak treads still do not sag after at least 45 years. The only steps without drawers are the bottom two, presumably to avoid moisture issues. He was in the lumber business though, so materials were at cost.

-- If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until it's free! PJ O'Rourke

View odie's profile


1690 posts in 3261 days

#4 posted 03-13-2009 07:32 PM

I’m still recovering from when someone left one open.

-- Odie, Confucius say, "He who laughs at one's self is BUTT of joke". (my funny blog)

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3409 days

#5 posted 03-13-2009 07:51 PM

I don’t think I would make one with kids in the house, unless you put a lock on it.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View relic's profile


343 posts in 3357 days

#6 posted 03-13-2009 08:49 PM

Would rare earth magnets help hold it, or maybe cupboard catch of some type? I like Charlies idea with the center stringer.

-- Andy Stark

View Bureaucrat's profile


18337 posts in 3073 days

#7 posted 03-14-2009 01:07 AM

I would think that if you left a pair of shoes in front of it, it wouldn’t open very far. Wait a minute…

-- Gary D. Stoughton, WI

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3314 days

#8 posted 03-14-2009 01:21 AM

most stairs that width dont have center stringers, rather the risers and treads are routed into the stringers at each side. I like the idea of steel angle iron to beef up the tread…...............that said, why not

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 3442 days

#9 posted 03-14-2009 01:35 AM

Hoping you would chime in as I know your experience Roman.

When I looked at the idea and the stairs I saw myself pulling the stair and routing a torsion rod(s) ( threaded 5/8” rod) into the new step and building a self close drawer under the new stair.

I fgure a little more at the beginng is a lot less at the end.

Charlie’s right about splitting the drawers on a wider span but I only have 32” right now.
Reloc, the magnets woud definitely keep the drawer shut but don’t speak to Gary’s concern with kids.

I am so glad mine grew up without permanent scolding scars. ;-)



-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Bahremu's profile


21 posts in 2822 days

#10 posted 03-14-2009 01:37 AM

I’ve been considering this addition to my own stairs. I thought about sloping the slides so the drawer want to roll back into the tread. As for a lock, I would use Tot-Locks, by Safety 1st.

LeeValley carries them, as do most department store with baby sections. I’ve used them on drawers and cabinets in the kitchen to keep the kids out. They work very well. When the rare earth “key” is placed on the drawer face where the latch is installed, it draws the latch open, then one can open the drawer. It’s a two handed operation, hold the key in place and pull the drawer open (OR, if in a rush, yank really hard without the key and it usually will pop open).

The key is a strong enough magnet that i keep it on drywall screw or the corner beading in the drywall.

Lee Valley Magnetic Secret Latch

View TomK 's profile


504 posts in 3295 days

#11 posted 03-14-2009 04:02 AM

I would use the type of drawer slides that are used in camp trailers / motorhomes, that you have to lift slightly as you pull. Also helpful if you live in a seismically active area. :) :)

-- If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until it's free! PJ O'Rourke

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