I am building a cherry island for our kitchen and am looking for opinions on
what kind of material I should use for the actual box part of the drawer not
the drawer fronts. Should I go with 1/2 inch maple plywood or solid wood
and what if any kind of finish should I apply to the inside?
Plywood works nicely, but the look and appeal of hardwood drawers is hard to
Maple is an excellent drawer wood, and poplar works well also if you stay
away from the multi-hued heartwood.
Many folks prefer to leave their drawers unfinished on the inside ... I
personally prefer to use a few coats of shellac on mine. The choice is
Speaking less as a woodworker and more as an ex-commercial cook, I
would recommend plywood material for the boxes because of the greater
stability it offers. I assume you will be using ball-bearing drawer
slides, there is no wear issue from the edge of the plywood on solid
wood. I would also seal them very well, either with shellac or even
with thinned poly. Sometimes it is nice to be able to really *wash*
the inside of a drawer - like after you have just knocked over a
gallon of syrup, half of which ran down the front of your cabinets and
into the drawers. (don't ask)
Make them solid, with good fitting bottoms so that they continue to
work well for many years and you won't be sorry.
|I am building a cherry island for our kitchen and am looking for opinions on
|what kind of material I should use for the actual box part of the drawer not
|the drawer fronts. Should I go with 1/2 inch maple plywood or solid wood
|and what if any kind of finish should I apply to the inside?
I'm using poplar for the sides and Baltic birch ply for the bottoms in
the bath vanity I have under construction at the moment. I haven't
tried maple plywood, but I have tried Baltic birch and there is no way
that I can cut dovetails in the stuff without chipout or outright
delamination. (Any tips on doing this appreciated)
I plan to use several coats of Enduro clear WB poly with the final
coat souped up with crosslinking additive. Too many wet things and
stuff like polish remover to use anything less bulletproof, I think.
The next project is the kitchen and I plan to do the same unless I
learn some new tricks. (Always a distinct possibility)
On Sat, 10 Jul 2004 08:47:46 -0400, " email@example.com"
|Used a Keller jig and bits for 1/2" BB. I used backer of ply and the
|drawer stock was no chips.
Good to know. I have a D4 and brand new Whiteside bits. A backer
board usually handles the chipout on the back side but I had some
problems on the front (entry) side when doing the tails.
I've had the surface lamination actually tear off, similar to planing
the endgrain of a stick and having the edge split off.
I know of two local sources for BB, one about 50% higher priced, maybe
I'm getting what I pay for at the lowball source.
On Sat, 10 Jul 2004 11:59:51 -0400, " firstname.lastname@example.org"
|I used a slow climb cut on front.
Don't have that option when the pins are the width of the DT bit. It's
a straight thru pass.
BTW, I have read the D4 manual and realize that it states that you
should forget about dovetailing plywood. But who believes the manual.
|>Good to know. I have a D4 and brand new Whiteside bits. A backer|>board usually handles the chipout on the back side but I had some|>problems on the front (entry) side when doing the tails.
I like solid 1/2" maple with dovetail joints. Seal the wood with poly,
lacquer or shellac. You can use melamine bottoms to have a cleanable
drawer. Baltic birch ply also works well if you don't mind the plywood
Blum has a realy nice slide with a built in side (metabox)....
I found some replica at Lee valley that are realy affortable...
These make some nice, sturdy easy to clean drawers (my wife loves ours)
"Jim Sharman" < email@example.com> wrote in message
This is a personal choice. I like solid wood for drawer sides and
back with ply on the bottom. A secondary wood such as pine or poplar
is suitable. A spit shellac finish (dilute with equal amount of
alcohol) for the inside of drawers is what I'd use, or no finish at
I'm curious, where does the "no finish at all" on the inside of
drawers come from? I suspect that insides weren't finished in the past
because of cost, but it really doesn't add much to the cost and makes
the drawers much more useful.
Can anyone offer any sort of practical reason why you might not finish
the inside of a drawer other than to save work/finish?
I'd sort of forgotten about lingering odor - more of a problem if you
are going to be storing clothes than for kitchen utensils. I guess it
takes me so long to finish anything that by the time I actually get it
to the point where I'm putting stuff in it any fumes are long gone.
Drawers in some old furniture and cabinets have no finish except for
the false front. Lack of finish probably results from money savings,
skill in smoothing wood, and use of wood without defects or species
and cuts that don't warp easily. Look at any production furniture and
you find that very little of the hidden part of a furniture is
finished. When I looked at oak dining tables, about the only thing
with a finish was top surface and the observable outside. When I
bought an unfinished oak table, I finished every surface I could
reach. Didn't take much material or extra time since I didn't sand
the normally hidden parts. Putting finish on one surface, especially
large surfaces of a table is a guaranteed board-warper. May take a
while but eventually.....
Lots of modern kitchen cabinets are mostly plywood and often have
little finish except on the outside. Lack of finish is "tacky" in
more than one sense of the word. On absolutely straight grained
quarter sawn, dense, beautifully colored wood lack of finish might be
acceptable, but most of us either can't find or can't afford such
Finish every surface, except maybe direct contact sliding surfaces and
put an oil finish on those is my motto.
I know that I'd want to be able to clean out my kitchen drawers with a damp
rag or cleaning solution. Bare wood does not take that very well. If you
make them early in the project the lingering odor would be long gone before
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