Thursday, February 23, 2012

Multi-Drawer Home Office Cabinet

Multi Drawer Shop Cabinet

Except for my Craftman tool box, My shop had no drawers which is one reason that drawers are being added to all the shop projects. 

  1. Top/Bottom: qty 2,  24 1/2" x 19 1/2"
  2. Sides: qty 2, 21 1/2" x 19 1/2"
  3. Cleats: qty 2, 4 1/2" x 25 1/2"
  4. Caster blocks: qty 4, 4" x 3"
  5. Casters: 2"
  1. Sizes:   2", 3", 4", 4", 5"
  2. Spacing Top/Bottom: 1/4"
  3. Spacing between drawers: 3/8"
  4. Vertical drawer space: 1/4 + 2 + 3/8 + 3 + 3/8 + 4 + 3/8 + 4 + 3/8 + 5 + 1/4 = 20"
  5. Slide Positions: 1 1/4", 4 1/8", 8", 12 3/8", 17 1/4"
  6. Slide type: full extension Liberty D80618C-ZP-W
  7. Drawer depth/width: 18 1/2" / 23 1/2"

Monday, February 13, 2012

Euro Drawer Slide Mounting

If a full extension slide is not required, the Euro slide at less than half the cost can be used. The discussion here assumes the use of side mounted Euro drawer slides, not bottom corner slides. Because we are using side mounts, the full extension drawer slide method can be used with two exceptions:
  1. On the Euro slide the screw holes in drawer part are 5/32 lower than the holes in the cabinet part where the screw holes in the full extension ball bearing slide are aligned. Check it out.
  2. The Euro slides are not full extension, so the drawer depth is about 4" shorter than the slide length unless part of the drawer remaining in the cabinet is acceptable. In the picture below, the drawer is 16" deep using 18" slides.
 For a full discussion of drawer mounting see the post on full extension slide; however, below find pictures of drawers mounted with Euro slides. In these pictures the slide is mounted on the drawer at approximately 3/4 of nominal draw height which for the 4" drawer is 3" and 5 1/8" drawer 4". On the drawer an additional 1/8" ( 5/32") must be added to adjust for screw hole vertical alignment. The cabinet slides are at the following positions measured from the top of the opening where the drawers are 4" and 5 1/8" in height.
  1. Top Drawer: 1/4" + 3" = 3 1/4"
  2. Second Drawer:  1/4" + 4" + 3/8" + 4" = 8 5/8"
For the slide positions on the drawers:
  1. Top: 3 1/8" from top of drawer
  2. Second: 4 1/8"
where the 1/8" (5/32") compensates for the hole alignment.

One more note, when mounting the slides in the cabinet, use one screw at the back and one screw in the vertical slot in the front of the slide to allow for final adjustment. When you finally get to the point of mounting the fronts to the drawers and aligning the seams around the drawers one or both of the cabinet slides may need to be moved up or down a little to even the horizontal seams.

Front view

With drawer at full extension. 20" slides with 18" drawer

Simplified Drawer Construction

After making several drawers for shop cabinets, the following procedure has been worked out.

Procedure Steps:
  1. Cut sides from 1/2" plywood
  2. Drill pocket holes in the front and back pieces
  3. Using jig, glue and screw sides
  4. Use corner blocks and clamps to square up drawer
  5. Cut bottom from 3/16" plywood
  6. Glue and nail to drawer bottom
To make a 4" high drawer that is 16" deep by 22 1/2" wide. This is a drawer used in the bandsaw cabinet and is mounted with 18" euro slides. These slides are not full extension, so about 2" of the drawer remains in cabinet. The plywood used for the bottom was 3/16" thick underlayment plywood sold at HD with the back of the plywood face up in the drawer. The sides were cut from 1/2" Blonde plywood from Lowes which has been pre-cut to 4 ft by 2 ft panels for easy car transport.

Step by Step Drawer Construction

  1. Cut four side pieces 3 13/16" wide from 2 ft wide, 1/2" panel (note1)
  2. Clamp two pieces together, aligning the edges
  3. Use miter saw to trim one end to square (note2)
  4. With straight edge, mark pieces at 16" and cut with miter saw
  5. Clamp the other two pieces, repeat above steps but measure to 21 9/16" (front, rear) (note3)
  6. With Kreg fixture drill front and rear with two pocket holes per end
  7. Place a side piece on the bench, clamp as shown in the picture (note5)
  8. Clamp jig at end of piece
  9. Spread glue on front piece end, place against jig and side piece. Clamp in place. (note6)
  10. Fasten with 1" Kreg screws, do not over tighten. Use drill break.
  11. Repeat steps 9 and 10 for other pieces.
  12. With box complete use squaring blocks and clamps to guaranty squareness.
  13. Cut bottom to size and glue and nail (5/8" brads) in place.
  14. Sand sides and edges, then round over with 1/8 roundover router bit 
  15. Finish with a good hand sanding
  16. Sealcoat drawer and finish inside with polyurethane.


  1. To cut width accurately, make table saw test cuts in 3/16 ply scrapes.
  2. This Blonde plywood surface splinters easily, so take your time or place a piece of scrap wood under piece being cut.
  3. Measure after cutting and make sure length is within 1/32"
  4. Use the 1/2" Kreg guide block and drill
  5. The front and back pieces fit between the side pieces making the drawer width 22 1/2"
  6. All this clamping is necessary to keep the front piece from pulling out of place when the screws are tightened. This happens because the screws are going in at an angle and want to pull the piece out of place as the screws are turned..

Kreg pocket hole jig with 1/2" guide block

Pieces clamped in place with jig ready for screws

Clamp jig closeup.

Squaring corner clamp blocks

Shows drawer with bottom glued and nailed on.

Full Extension Drawer Slide Mounting

The method we use for installing a stack of drawers in frameless cabinets assumes the following:
  1. Drawer fronts will indent into opening
  2. The spacing around the drawer front edge and cabinet wall will be 1/8"
  3. The drawer slides will be side mounted
  4. The top and bottom drawer will have a 1/4" clearance with the drawer opening cabinet edge
  5. The spacing between drawers will be 3/8"
  6. The drawer front height will be 1/4" larger than nominal drawer vertical size,i.e., a 1/8" lip
The picture below shows an example cabinet with 5 drawers using this method. The above dimensions provide a 1/8" lip for the drawer front relative to the drawer body.

5 Drawer cabinet on wheels using full extension slides.
The first step is to determine cabinet slide positions for the drawer set. For example, the drawers shown above are: 2", 3", 3", 4" and 5". With the drawer slides mounted centered on the drawer sides, the following arithmatic will determine the slide positions:
  1. 2" drawer: 1/4 + 1 = 1 1/4", 1/4" for top spacing + 1" for 1/2 the drawer height.
  2. 3" drawer: 1 1/4 + 1 + 3/8 + 1 1/2 = 4 1/8", (2" drawer position) 1 1/4 + (remain drawer width) 1 +  (drawer spacing) 3/8 + (1/2 3" drawer height) 1 1/2
  3. 3" drawer: 4 1/8 + 1 1/2 + 3/8 + 1 1/2 = 7 1/2"
  4. and so on.
So we have the following positions: 1 1/4", 4 1/8", 7 1/2". The next step is to mark these positions on the inside side of the cabinet measured from the inside top of the opening as shown below. The slides must be indented 9/16" from the front edge so when completed the drawers sit flush with cabinet front.

Step 3: position slide on a line centered in the screw holes. Mark two or three hole positions and use a nail or center punch ( I like a 1/16" center punch McMaster #34155A11 ) to make a starter hole for the screw, then screw slide in place.

Mounting cabinet full extension slides.
Step 4: Mounting slide to drawer side. At either end of the drawer make a mark at 1/2 the drawer height and then draw the line.
Marking slide position on drawer.
Drawing slide position line.
Screwing slide to drawer.
Step 5: Position slide on drawer with slide end aligned to drawer front as shown. Make starter holes and screw slide in position. Repeat for other drawer side.

Step 6: Insert the drawer into the cabient slides. When you push the drawer into position the first time you will encounter some resistance, since the bearings are repositioning themselves. Once the drawer is inplace this resistance should not occur. A couple of drops of DuPont Silicone lubricant on each slide before insertion will work wonders.

Making the Drawer Fronts:

The following method works for both full extension and Euro slides.

Step 1: From 1/2 (12 mm) plywood cut the front 1/4" smaller than the horizontal opening and 1/4" larger than the nominal drawer height. 

Step 2: With a 1/8"R  round over bit dress the front edge of the drawer front. After filling any voids in the edge sand and seal the drawer front both sides. Then coat with polyurethane.

Drawer front marked for handle.
Step 3: Find vertical and horizontal of the drawer front and mark with pencil. Using center punch, mark position of handle holes. Then drill holes using a 3/16" brad pointed or dowel bit to prevent tearing around hole. 

Front drilled for handle.
Step 4: Clamp the drawer front to front part of the drawer. Use 1/8" spacers at bottom edge and center the front. Use a mini clamp to hold front in place will handle holes are drilled through. Insert handle screws from inside draw and fastened handle. If it was a wide drawer, 3/16" holes would be drilled through the front of the drawer at each end, then 3/4" #8 screws would be used to hold the drawer front in place. After that, drill and mount the handle. 

Squeeze clamp holding drawer front in place with 1/8" spacer at bottom edge.
Front positioned and ready to be drilled.
Finished drawer front.
Step 4: The method used above will not work for the top draw, so I use two small pieces of carpet tape on the front of the drawer. A spacer is used to space the drawer fronts. Set the drawer front at an angle on the spacer then tip the front forward until the tape is contacted. Clamp and drill handle holes.

Drill Press Cabinet

The drill press cabinet is similar in design to the miter saw cabinet including a removable top panel. Though in the miter saw cabinet design the drawer front overlays the cabinets sides, I decided for this frame-less cabinet  the draws would look better indented into the cabinet as seen in the picture below. In addition, I wanted the drawers to be 16" deep; therefore, full extension drawer slide were used. These are twice the price of the Euro slides but can carry bigger loads.

As seen in the picture below, the bottom is open. This space could be use for additional drawers or storage space with an non-overlap door. The common euro door hinge is designed for 3/4 or full overlay; however, non-overlay versions are available from Lowes and other supplies.Using these hinges the door will inset to match the drawers and give nice clean lines.

As with the other projects, this is a project using Kreg pocket screws. There are many ways that cabinets like this could be built, but this method is fast and the joint is strong. I have seen projects elsewhere that use brads and glue for assembly. But whatever the case, all the dimensions are here and you can use whatever method you want. For this project, the construction process is very similar to that used for the miter cabinet project.

Completed cabinet with drill press.
Back view showing cleats indented 3/16"

Partly completed cabinet with 2 1/2" draw.

  1. Sides: qty 2, 27 1/4" x 19 1/2"
  2. Top/Bottom:  qty 2, 22 1/2" x 19 1/2"
  3. Standoff: qty 2,  11/2" x 19 1/2"
  4. Top Plate: qty 1,  22 1/2" x 19 1/2"
  5. Front Cleat: qty 1, 2" x 22 1/2"
  6. Back cleat: qty 1,  3 1/2" x 22 1/2"
  7. Corner Cleats: qty 2,  4" x 4" with diagonal cut
  8. Caster blocks: qty 2,  4" x 3"
  9. Back cleats: qty 5', 3/4" x 3/4"

  1. 18mm (23/32") Cabinet grade plywood, HD
  2. Poplar plank 1/2", Lowes
Drawers: A detailed discussion of drawer construction can be found elsewhere in this blog. The picture below show one drawer for this project being constructed.

4" drawer being assembled.

Attaching drawer slides to drawer. Note center punch.
The cabinet slide positions using 1/4" spacing at top and 3/8" between drawers. With this spacing the drawer fronts will be have a 1/8" lip top and bottom. The final look will be a 1/8" spacing between adjacent drawer fronts and the cabinet walls, as seen in the picture. The following assumes that the slides are centered vertically on the drawer sides.

  1. 2/1/2" drawer: 1 1/4" + 1/4" = 1 1/2"
  2. 4" drawer:  1 1/2" + 1 1/4" + 3/8" + 2" = 5 1/8", position of top slide + remaining drawer height + 3/8" spacing between drawers + center of 4" drawer.

Mounting slides in cabinet.

Drawer BOM:

Drawer 2 1/2" x 16"

  1. Front/Back: qty 2, 20 9/16" x 2 5/16"
  2. Sides: qty 2, 16" x 2 5/16"
  3. Bottom: qty 1,  16" x 21 1/2" x 3/16"
  4. Slides: 1 set full extension, 16" Liberty D80616C-ZP-W, HD

Drawer 4" x 16"

  1. Front/Back: qty 2, 20 9/16" x 3 13/16"
  2. Sides: qty 2, 16" x 3 13/16"
  3. Bottom: qty 1,  16" x 21 1/2" x 3/16"
  4. Slides: 1 set full extension, 16" Liberty D80616C-ZP-W, HD
Drawer Fronts
  1. 2 1/2" Drawer: 22 1/4" x 2 3/4" x 12mm
  2. 4" Drawer: 22 1/4" x 4 1/4" x 12mm

Material for Drawers:

  1. 12mm Blonde plywood, Lowes
  2. 3/16" underlayment, HD
  3. 1" Kreg screws