Building Drawers: Understand Options for Drawer Joints, Mounting Methods and Fronts

There are three main elements to the anatomy of a drawer. Understanding them is the secret to building drawers that glide smoothly, hold their weight and never jam.



Building Drawers
Set off by the simplicity of a metallic single-pull handle, a solid wood drawer glides smoothly in and out of a frame-and-panel cabinet. Grooves routed into the drawer sides run along supports attached to the frame of the cabinet.
Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
Cabinet Construction: Straight Talk for Today's Woodworker
“Cabinet Construction” by the editors at Skills Institute Press is a woodworking guide with all the technical information you need to succeed, written in language anyone can understand. 
Cover Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
Lipped Front Drawer
Lipped Front Drawer: A rabbeted front creates a lip that serves as an overhang; useful for concealing commercial runners when the drawer is closed; lip performs double duty as drawer stop.
Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
Anatomy of a Drawer
Sized to fit between grooves cut in the sides of a drawer, a plywood bottom panel slides into position. The panel will bottom out in a groove in the front and be nailed to the back to secure it in place.
Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
False Front
False Front Drawer: A separate front is nailed over the structural front; conceals end grain of drawer sides.
Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
Through Dovetail
Through Dovetail Joint: Strong, decorative joint for any drawer corner; end grain of drawer sides can be concealed with false front; appropriate for solid wood but not plywood.
Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
Flush Front Drawer
Flush Front Drawer: Allows the drawer to fit entirely within the cabinet; also known as an inset drawer.
Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
Rabbet Joint
Rabbet Joint: For back-to-side joints on most drawers; also strong enough for joining the front to the sides if reinforced with screws or nails; suitable for solid wood or plywood.
Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
Dado
Dado Joint: Can be used to join the front to the sides and the back to the sides; for solid wood or plywood.
Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
Double Dado
Double Dado Joint: For any corner of small, light-duty drawer; conceals end grain of sides and front; suitable only for solid wood.
Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
Half-Blind Dovetail
Half-Blind Dovetail Joint: The traditional joint for connecting the front to the sides; conceals end grain of sides; suitable only for solid wood.
Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
Side-Mounted Drawer
Side-Mounted Drawer: Wooden slides screwed to carcase side panels run in grooves routed in drawer sides.
Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
Bottom-Run Drawer
Bottom-Run Drawer: Drawer slides on rail and runner assembly. Twin tenons at ends of rail are glued into double mortises cut into carcase panels; one edge of runners is rabbeted and fits into groove cut into panels.
Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
Commercial Slide Runner Drawers
Commercial Slide Runner Drawer: Metal slides screwed to drawer sides mesh with runners screwed to carcase.
Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
Parts of a Set of Drawers
1. Drawer Slide: Sits in groove routed in drawer side; screwed to carcase side panel. 2. Bottom Panel: Typically 1/4-inch plywood; fits in groove routed in drawer sides and front. 3. Drawer Side: Joined to front and back with any of a variety of joints; groove shown meshes with drawer slide. 4. Drawer Back. 5. Drawer Front: Typically thicker than sides, back and bottom; may be covered by a false front.
Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing











Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.