No, just common 1/4 cabinet quality birch plywood, probably 3 ply. I
place my drawer bottoms in groves on all 4 sides. That gives the bottom
significantly more support than the typical method of sliding the bottom in
under the drawer back and fixing with a few screws or brads. Plus those
particular drawer sides, front, and back were made from 3/4" thick
lumbercore and the groves for the bottoms were 3/8" deep.
And much more difficult to repair if the bottom fails and needs to be
replaced. But I have almost always built drawers this way and none have
failed, that I know of. Now I did build about 30-40 drawers for some
bathroom cabinets for Swingman in 2011. His specs called for the bottoms
to be slid in under the back of the drawer and fixed in place. Those
drawers did however have 1/2 thick maple veneer plywood bottoms.
For some reason I thought the drawer bottom should be enclosed on all
Is there a minimum height above the bottom for the groove? In solid
sided drawers I used 1/4" with a 1/4" x 1/4' groove when replacing
drawers in my grand kids chest of drawers. They had 1/2" sides.
It would seem to me that a 3/8 grove should have a 1/2" space between
it and the bottom of the sides, ends? Or is that excessive?
Were the drawers used as compartmental/bunk beds in an orphanage? :)
LOL, It is for me, I build them like I would a box.
That is a good amount to go with. I basically have my 1/4" drawer
bottom "top side" 1/2" from the bottom of the sides. In real world
reality the bottom side of the bottom ends up being a bit over 1/4 from
the bottom of the sides as the plywood is narrower than 1/4" and I fit
the slots to match the actual thickness of the plywood bottom.
It is all dependent on what you expect to put in the drawer and if you
expect the bottom to bow from the weight. On my wide kitchen drawers
that holds pots and pans I expected the plywood bottom to bow somewhat
at times. I probably cut the groove 1/2 to 3/4" from the bottom.
I can't really allow too much but can certainly not allow enough.
no.. ~) Those were drawers built to last in to the next, next
millennium. The sides were solid 3/4" maple.
That way is, of course, very typical furniture drawer construction and
in a lot of commercial cabinetry.
For heavier or larger kitchen drawers I don't think it matters terribly
if one uses at least 3/8" instead of 1/4" ply or the more costly and
labor intensive solid stock.
It generally has not been the bottom pulling away from the rear side
that is the failure observed in my experience but the thin ply itself
just isn't stiff enough and so bows excessively w/ time. This is only
exacerbated by the thinner material available now and by more than just
the relatively thickness as bending moments are ~bh^3 where the
thickness is the height, h. Hence, a 64th short on a quarter isn't just
7/8 ~ 90% as stiff but (7/8}^3 or only 2/3-rds!
I knew that seemed too bad even as I sent it...it's
> 15/16 ~ 94% as stiff but (15/16}^3 or only approx 80% more closely.
Still, you lose more than just proportional which can be significant for
wide, deep drawers.
Why I do this to the bottom of wider drawers (you can see the supports
in the bottom of the drawer next to the one in the foreground.
Just cut them from drawer side scraps.
Is the drawer bottom supported on all four sides? The problem that
usually happens with a too-light drawer bottom in the usual design where
it slides in from the back and is only supported on three sides is that
it bows and then slips out of the dadoes on the sides. Turning the
drawr upside down and standing on it doesn't offer that failure mode.
Yes! the drawer bottom is supported on all four sides on the bottom. I
only turned it upside down so that when I stood on the bottom that it
did not bottom out against the floor. Upside down gave the plywood more
room to flex.
I use either 1/4" crown staples, or appropriately sized screws and
washers, or both on wider drawers, into the bottom edge of the drawer
back to mitigate that greatly
If you need more, simple to screw a support across the same area.
Easily replaceable drawer bottoms can be thought of as a "feature", and
will stand the test of time if executed properly, and it's easy to do that.
I can attest that wide drawers can have a lot of wobble back and forth
when the drawers are extended. This is with any side mount full
I replaced and added deep deeper drawers to our kitchen island about 5
years ago. They are soft close and apparently my alignment for one was
not perfect as over time one drawer does not soft close properly. It
still works smoothly and shuts but every now and again the soft close
seems to be defeated on one side or the other. The fix for that drawer
is to simply open and close it several time and it corrects itself. I
am sure that is not always going to be the case with each one that may
begin to have issues with the soft close.
BUT tolerances seem to be important with the slide engaging the built in
soft close mechanism. If the slides have a lot of wobble they could
over time become a bit too sloppy for the soft close be engaged when the
drawer is closed and reload when the drawer is opened.
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