I'd say the Baltic or Russian Birch is pretty standard fair now days
for cabinetry. Most of the drawer/door shops do offer solid stock
with/without dovetail or box joints but it is just for the highest end
For furniture it's a different story and depends on the piece. I've
seen both box and dovetails done with Baltic but I think it's a waist
and it's had to avoid the chip out.
So if you want box or dovetail jointed boxes then solid and especially
if the box dovetails into the drawer front.
I don't think standard plywood would every be right except maybe is
some utility/workbench type situation.
I did a couple of drawers for my DP table in Baltic Birch with through
dovetails. The result of the exposed plies in the ends of the tails is
"interesting" for shop furniture, but not be viewed as kindly
elsewhere. But as a box to receive an applied drawer front, it is very
Being a fan of handcut dovetails, I can't relate to the chipout
problem you mention, but chopping out the waste in BB is a strange
sensation, and gives one lots of opportunity to practice sharpening
Alex -- Replace "nospam" with "mail" to reply by email. Checked infrequently.
If I am using mechanical metal drawer slides I prefer to use Baltic Birch.
If I am not using mechanical metal drawer slides I use Hard Wood for the
drawers and the pieces supporting the drawers. The harder the wood the
smoother and easier it is to push and pull the drawers.
I once made a set of drawers using BB ply and milled a stopped dado in each
side. Attached a hardwood runner to the case which fit inside the dado. The
BB sliding on the hardwood runner was perfect. The drawer held table silver
service so it was heavy and it still worked well.
I just used 1/2" maple on my last batch of drawers, but prefer 5/8" if I
didn't have to loose so much to waste.
Also just used the Hittech full extension slides for the first time and like
them, although they are a bit fussier to make a drawer for than Blum or
Besides being very quiet, with an expensive feel, they are completely
undermounted (but mount in the cabinet like a side mount Accuride) and since
you don't have to tip them to mount them, you can get more drawer height in
the opening. You also get 3/8" more drawer width when using them (inside FF
width, less 5/8", instead of the 1" I usually have to allow.
Hey Swingman, I just finished up on my kitchen job today. I had to
coordinate around the granite counter top people. They are suppose to put
the top and sink in Friday. I am glad to be finished with that job.
Most of the time I use solid maple. My lumber supplier also is a
millworks shop so I get his "cut offs" for next to nothing. Most run 2
to 4 foot. I also got a deal on the pre-finished sides. I think they are
from nova or something like that. I got a box of 12". It's pre-finished
both sides with a 1/4 slot, 8' long.
I have tried plywood, birch, maple and oak.
What I prefer now is birch for sides, false front and back -- 1/2 inch
stock. Couple of dovetails, plywood bottom with appropriate veneer. --
1/4 inch (roughly) with most suitable finish for rest of furniture.
Screw on false front, then I can change drawer faces to change finish
and style if need be...
Works for me. :-)
Just my non-professional opinion. Plywood is a good material for probably
90% of drawers. It is stable and works, cost effective and practical. If I
was making a solid wood top quality piece of furniture, I'd definitely use
solid wood for drawers also. I've not made anything in that category yet.
Speaking as I do, for only a miniscule portion of the wReck, I'll share my
I'm redoing the master bath vanity and master closet system. I brought
home from my professional plywood vendor today, prefinished Appleply drawer
stock, with appropriate bullnoses already in place.
1/2" x 12" x 8' was about $30, not at all cheap, but those rascals can be
drawers in under an hour, with no further finishing required. And I can
handle them much more easily by myself than I can full 4' x 8' sheets.
Prefinished edgebanded maple ply was noticably less, and will likely be
fetched on the next run, as the project scope has already crept.
That reminds me of the last New Yankee Workshop TV show I watched. Norm
produced some drawer siding stock that he bought prefinished with the top
edge banded and a precut 1/4" slot for the drawer bottom. Apparently, it
comes in a variety of sizes up to 12" high I think he said. Has anybody used
this stuff? I can envision it saving a great deal of time in drawer
construction, especially for contractors.
We usually use 1/2" BB for kitchen drawer sides but a local lumber
yard recently aquatinted one of our builders with 1/2" apple ply. It
still comes in the 5'x5' size and is 9 ply. The skin is not quite as
nice as the birch but it is somewhat less expensive. That last point
seemed to be the one that impressed the builder.
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