1/2" or 3/4" ply for my shop drawer boxes?

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Forum topic by Sailor posted 08-05-2009 03:34 AM 6636 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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543 posts in 3261 days

08-05-2009 03:34 AM

Topic tags/keywords: shop drawers drawer boxes

I am building my first set of cabinets in my shop and so far they are going great (except that I forgot to take pictures). The are going to be frameless cabinets with full overlay drawer fronts.

I have was wondering what I should build the drawer boxes out of, 1/2” or 3/4” birch ply. I am going to be putting things like power tools in the larger drawers and smaller hand tools, drill bits, hand planes and such in the smaller drawers. I have been looking around the net and seeing alot of 1/2” drawer boxes being used but I am not sure if that will hold up for me or not.

My deepest drawer (which will probably be the heaviest) is going to be 10” and 21” deep. Although, I am considering making the drawer box sides only about 4” or so in order to save on wasted materials if I made the drawer box sides the full 9”-10”. Of course on my 10” drawer I will have a 10” face made from 3/4” ply, or should I use 1/2” for that?????

Thanks everyone, I should have some photos tomorrow…

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page

5 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3573 days

#1 posted 08-05-2009 03:48 AM

Hey Sailor
I have used 1/2” for shop drawers many times with out problems The thing that I would also be concerned about would be the drawer bottoms and how there installed. As far as drawer fronts you can make your whole drawer and add a drawer front afterwards. If you make larger drawers you might consider 3/4”.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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543 posts in 3261 days

#2 posted 08-05-2009 03:59 AM

I plan on cutting a dado into the bottoms of the drawer boxes for a 3/8” ply bottom (good enough?). If I use 1/2” stock then my dado would be 1/4” deep, 1/4” from the bottom. If I used 3/4” stock I would make my dado 3/8” deep, 3/8” from the bottom.

When you say with larger drawers I may want to consider 3/4” do you mean just for the face or for the drawer as a whole? How large would you say?

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 3750 days

#3 posted 08-05-2009 05:44 AM

Norm’s plans uses 1/2” ply and I have found it to work just fine. All of the Drawers in the Miter Bench and Storage project have 1/2” ply bottoms also…

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3644 days

#4 posted 08-05-2009 06:47 AM

I think for drawers 3/4” will add nothing but excess weight… 1/2” should be more than enough to handle the load of your powertools and everything in between.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


706 posts in 3269 days

#5 posted 08-05-2009 07:10 AM

Half inch plywood is normally sufficient.

The only other thing to consider is how much weight you are going to load in each one. If the drawers are to be large and loaded, and you;re going to beef up the drawer slides, consider 3/4” sides so that you can use 5/8” screws to attach the slides so that the screw points don’t pop through the sides.

Often times, shop drawers get slammed and otherwise abused. The 3/8” screws that are most often used with the slides really aren’t long enough.

But if this won’t be an issue, then stick with the 1/2” and save yourself some money and material.

Good luck!

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

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