Freaking Drawers

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Blog entry by Matt posted 11-07-2015 02:54 AM 837 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So as most of you know I finished my cabinet a few weeks ago save the drawers. Since my mother’s garage cabinets that some of you have seen, I have had an outright war with drawers. I cannot seem to get them right, ever. I have tried the expensive soft close all the way to the under and side mount white roller slidey ones.

This time was no different.

I bought those crappy white roller wheel sliders because they were cheap and I wanted to try something new (not to mention it was for MY shop and if it failed, so what).

I bought 8 sets of them for $48 total from Menards. After I finally decided to use 1/2 ADX (I think it’s a grade higher than CDX) plywood for the drawers, I quickly realized why people don’t. I wanted to try to use pocket holes, but unfortunately even though I set my setting’s for 1/2” and used 3/4” fine thread (they don’t make coarse) screws, for some reason they wouldn’t watch the wood and the screws didn’t seem long enough.

Alas, I was forced to use glue and brad nails. This being said, they drawers themselves weren’t bad as I used the 1/2” i spoke of earlier along with 1/8” dadoes cut in them for the bottoms that were 1/8” hardboard backed with under runners for strength. I wanted to try my hand at thin dadoes with the table saw as I hasn’t experimented with it yet. It is much more work, but seems ok. Next time i’m using pocket holes and 3/4” plywood. I don’t care how much extra weight it is. I’ll get bigger casters damnit. :)

So…..I took the drawers and started to put in the sliders for them when I realized that the front of the cabinet opening was narrower somehow than the back of the opening and when I put the sliders on, they pulled out of the sliders at the back and went off track. I think that I am going to have to put in a shim back there to make them work better. They do work, but pull funny. If I was using the ball bearing ones that are more expensive, when the sliders reached the back they would bind, and not close all the way because they are a closed system and nowhere to open up to like the ones I have were.

That being said, I guess the ones I got were actually better due to that fact that I can just shim them to make them more efficient.

Anywho, that’s about it. I felt like sharing this and didn’t care that it made me look like a suck. haha It says in my disclaimer on the front that I am NOT a finish carpenter or a pro woodworker. LOL


-- Matt

7 comments so far

View David Taylor's profile

David Taylor

326 posts in 506 days

#1 posted 11-07-2015 03:18 AM

The best thing about life is that we learn from our mistakes. The worst thing about life is that we make mistakes to learn from. Quote from my dad, which I am duly passing on to my son :)

-- Learn Relentlessly

View Matt's profile


44 posts in 467 days

#2 posted 11-07-2015 03:53 AM

Wise words indeed. He seems like a wise man. Thank you for that. I will remember this.

-- Matt

View Daruc's profile


459 posts in 552 days

#3 posted 11-07-2015 04:31 AM

Shimming them is OK.
Here is a little hint:
Take a look at the guides (the part that mounts to the drawer) and you will see that one side has a lip that keeps the rail on the bearing and the other side is flat.
You will get them to work better if you can shim the side that is fixed first, so that it rides at a 90 degree from the face. Then shim the other side as necessary. This will help keep your drawer front flat to the face as well.

That is….If you feel like going through the trouble. ;)

-- -

View Redoak49's profile


1817 posts in 1408 days

#4 posted 11-07-2015 05:17 PM

I have made drawers with 1/2” plywood but was a better grade (Aruaco Ply). Accuracy of determining the drawer size and cutting piece s is critical. I put the drawers together with the Kreg micro pocket hole setup. You have to be careful to not over drive the screws. I started mine with a drill driver and f finished with a screwdriver. I also built a simple jig to hold drawer sides so they won’t move when putting together. For a bottom I used 1/4” mdf that fit snugly.

Building drawers takes time and some experience. I have made my share of bad ones that ended in the scrap pile.

Good Luck

View JoeinGa's profile


7364 posts in 1426 days

#5 posted 11-07-2015 07:26 PM

As to making (and learning from ) mistakes…

I worked as a carpenter’s apprentice when I was about 18. Worked for a company that built homes in a very exclusive, gated golf community. 6-figure homes back in the early 70s, which would easily be multi-million dollar homes in today’s market.

First thing they put me on was a roofing crew. So I got me a 22oz “waffle-headed” Estwing hammer and went to pounding. After about 4 months, the Foreman came to me and said “Dave who works on the finish crew just quit. You wanna learn to do finish work?”

Me: “Oh hells yes!”

So day one with the finish crew was helping a grizzled old carpenter put up fascia and trim boards at the front door. On day 2, the grizzled old guy called in sick and I told the foreman that I was sure I could finish the job by myself. (I mean, after all, I had spent all day yesterday with their best finish carpenter and he had taught me everything he knew., right?)

About lunchtime, the foreman and one of the other finish carpenters came to check on me. First thing they noticed was that big ol’ Estwing hammer hanging from my nail pouch. Looking up, they quickly pointed out that those HUGE ELEPHANT TRACKS around every nail head were NOT “kosher” !

The foreman shook his head and said “Well Joey, if you never make mistakes, then you’re probably not working.”

The other guy chipped in “Looks like Joey here has been working his ass off today. “

He didn’t fire me, but instead took me under his wing and taught me a TON about woodworking and carpentry. I found out several months later that my screw-up cost over $10,000 to fix, and the foreman blamed the cost overrun on the lumber yard, saying they had sent us the wrong materials and we had to tear it down and re-do it.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View AandCstyle's profile


2537 posts in 1676 days

#6 posted 11-07-2015 11:04 PM

Matt, the first thing I would do is to make certain that the boxes were square to begin with. If they aren’t, then practice until you can make square boxes. Everything will be much easier when you start from square. Also, drawers aren’t assembled with pocket holes/screws. Here is one reference that may be of value. FWIW

-- Art

View Matt's profile


44 posts in 467 days

#7 posted 11-08-2015 02:06 PM

I didn’t use them after attempting the first one. I used glue and braid nails. The ones I made for moms cabinets worked great with 3/4 stock. These were 1/2 and didn’t. Either way the drawers are perfectly square, it’s the width of the back is wider somehow than the front. Either way I fixed it.

Thanks for commenting.

-- Matt

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