Monday, February 13, 2012

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.

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