Question about building a drawer

I got so many helpful replies about a corner tv cabinet measurement, I'm hoping there might be help to this question as well.
My plan is to build furniture for my living room, the tv cabinet was one piece. Another is a large bookcase with a drawer for hanging files on the bottom. There will be two of these on either side of a desk with hutch unit. My question is about the file drawer. I would like to make a drawer that is 11" high x 13 3/4" deep x 38 1/2" wide. This part I have already worked out. I will have a shelf mounted directly above this drawer, that will also slide out, for a printer and scanner to sit upon. For aesthetics, I'd like to make the drawer face to cover both the front of the drawer, and the slide shelf, which would make that drawer face very large - 29 1/2" high x 40" wide. I don't think the drawer operation will be a problem, there won't be a lot of weight and I'll get heavy duty glides. My concern is the drawer face. Is that just too large to be practical? Any thoughts? The drawer would likely be opened only once a day at most if that makes any difference. On my hand sketched drawing it looks okay, but I don't want to just rely on the drawing.
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Melissa
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Melissa wrote:

If I have understood your description correctly, it seems kind of inconvenient. Having the drawer face cover the shelf means that every time you want to use the shelf you have to open the drawer. Also, by making the drawer face so large, it will be difficult to access the files from in front of the drawer. Have you considered splitting the face in two pieces with part attached to the drawer and the other part attached to the shelf? This would give you almost the same look.
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<snip>
Hi Melissa,
How about cutting the 'drawer face' into two pieces and using a hinge so that the top can fold down for easy access? Also would make it easier to reach into the open drawer.
Good luck.
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next time try sketching your plan on paper instead of your hand! lol
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Depends on the weight of the contents. A typical drawer has 1/2" sides and back, ply bottom, and 3/4" thick front. The large drawer you describe should have one or two muntins on the bottom for added strength. You can still have 1/2" sides, but use a high-quality ply. Half-inch for the bottom too. Design for full-extension heavy-duty slides that will carry the fully-loaded weight.

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Thanks for the reply guys, with your help, and that of some guys in rec.woodworking as well, I've rethought the plan. Your responses are exactly what I needed to hear, whether it would be practical in reality rather than just on paper. Looks like I'm going to go with 2 doors that open in the center instead of the large draw, and have them be the sort that can fold back into the cabinet, pockets or slides, not sure which is the right term. Then I will have two large pull out shelves instead of a large drawer and shelf. I'm quite obviously still in the planning stage, so I appreciate your patience with this building newbie.
Any tips on easy to use software to try and draw this out? I've done it on the grid paper, to the best of my ability, but I couldn't figure out how to draw out that the bottom half of the furniture pieces would be 14" deep, and the top (hutch) pieces would all be 12" deep. I think if I could draw it out more accurately it would be easier to plan for what size each piece of wood would need to be cut to, and to plan for how much wood to buy. I tried on some home planning software, but the program wouldn't allow me to build my own cabinet (at least not that I could see), and the pre-desgined cabinets couldn't be adjusted enough to work. Nothing fancy, as this job will probably do me in for quite some time and I likely won't contemplate another for a long time. :)
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Melissa



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