How to Make Drawers From Wood

Written by jim wildman
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Wooden drawers are used throughout your house from the cabinets, dressers and furniture. A wooden drawer adds a decorative touch where ever it is used. Hardwood drawers that are built correctly will last a lifetime if not abused. Drawers a fairly easy to build with the proper tools and techniques.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Safety glasses and hearing protection
  • Planer
  • Table saw
  • Mitre saw
  • Router-table
  • Palm sander
  • Wood glue
  • Clamps

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  1. 1

    Put on your safety equipment.

  2. 2

    Plane down the drawer material to a thickness of 1/2-inch or 5/8-inch depending on your preference. A planer works best for this. Do not take more than 1/8-inch of material for each pass.

  3. 3

    Determine the drawer height. Most drawers require a minimum of 1/2-inch clearance from the top of the drawer and the face frame. Also check the specifications on the drawer guides you are going to use to help determine the drawer height.

  4. 4

    Cut the drawers to width using the table saw. Use a sharp blade to keep the blade from burning the drawer material.

  5. 5

    Cut the drawer pieces to length. Check the specifications on the drawer slides for the required width and lengths. A mitre saw set at 90 degrees to the fence works best for this.

  6. 6

    Mark the drawers with a pencil to show the interior side and the drawer number so that you can reference them as you mill then assemble them later.

  7. 7

    Use a router to cut the dovetails, box joints or any other jointing method you prefer to use to cut the drawers for assembly. Refer to the owners manual for the different cutting methods for step-by-step instructions for the specific joints.

  8. 8

    Cut a groove into the bottom edge of the drawer's interior. Leave 1/2-inch of wood below the groove. This groove needs to match the plywood thickness you plan on using. For most drawers this is 1/4-inch for small drawers and 3/8-inch for larger size drawers. This can be cut on the table-saw with the fence set at 1/2-inch for the first pass then adjust the fence for the remaining distance needed to fit the drawers bottom plywood. This cut needs to be 1/4-inch to 3/8-inch deep.

  9. 9

    Cut the plywood bottom to fit the inside of the drawer. It is best to dry fit the drawer and measure the interior dimensions, then add the groove depth on both sides of the drawer for the overall width and length of the plywood. Subtract 1/8-inch for expansion and contraction of the wood. Use the table saw to cut the plywood.

  10. 10

    Sand the interior side of the drawers and the plywood before you assemble the drawer.

  11. 11

    Assemble the drawer to check for fit. Disassemble and glue the joints then reassemble the drawer. Put the drawer in clamps to dry, make sure the drawer is square before you let it dry. Use a small square for this. Wipe off any glue that squeezes out before the drawer dries.

  12. 12

    Router over the top edge of the drawer with a 1/4-inch round over router bit. Sand the exterior of the draw and it is ready to be installed.

Tips and warnings

  • Use painters tape around the joints before you glue the drawer to make cleanup easier of any glue that squeezes out during assembly.
  • Make sure the draw is flat and square before you set it aside to dry.

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