Watching Norm and others make drawers, they always slide the bottom panel in
from the back and hold it in with brads. My preferred way is to rabbit all
four sides and totally enclose the bottom panel.
Why do the slide in? It would seem that enclosing all four sides would make
a much stronger drawer, especially as support for the bottom goes.
I have made drawers both ways and I found that I had an easier time
assembling the unit if I made the square first and slid the bottom in.
Also, from the perspective of replacing the bottom- for whatever
reason- it is easier if you slide it in.
O.K., I guess I don't understand. If you rabbit all four sides, you still
slide it in and attach the back? Don't you? If you need to replace the
bottom you still have to take off the back in both cases. Don't you?
Thanks for all clarifications.
No. The back can be narrower in depth than the front [false or not]
by the amount necessary to slide the bottom in and out. The bottom is
supported by the rabbet on the front and sides. That is sufficient
for normal abuse. So, the bottom can slide under the back portion for
insertion or extraction. It can then be tacked to that back portion
if the fit is near as dammit is to swearing.
No. Rabbit the two sides and front. Raise the blade up (assuming table
saw here) and run the back through so it literally cuts all the way through
right where the rabbit is on the other pieces. Assemble the pieces, slide
the bottom in and attach the back of the bottom to the underside of the
drawer back. Make sense? Probably not. Perhaps someone else can come
through and explain it better.
Ok, these are nits to be picking, but technically (and since you seem to
be well-humored :-)...
(1) It's "rabbet," not "rabbit."
(2) Dadoing is cutting a groove across the grain. Cutting a groove with
the grain is ploughing. OTOH, I suppose the distinction could be
considered archaic if the work is done with power tools.
As long as we are being pedantic (and I love to be pedantic).....
In that case the verb would be "plough", but the object of that verb (the
noun) would be "groove".
This is confusing because "dado", at least in the modern WW vernacular, is
both a noun and verb.
Nope ... the drawer back, while flush with the drawer sides at the top, only
extends down to the top of the groove that holds the drawer bottom. (IOW,
there is no groove in the drawer back).
This allows you to slide the drawer bottom in from the back, then use
fasteners to attach the drawer bottom to the bottom edge of the drawer back.
... a classic drawer construction technique that has stood the test of time
for at least a couple of reasons:
By sliding the drawer bottom snug to the groove in the drawer front, then
fastening it to the underside of the drawer back with mechanical fasteners
(no glue, or spot gluing to allow for side to side expansion in a solid wood
bottom), you have made the drawer assembly a bit more resistant to racking
by effectively uniting the drawer back and drawer front into a more solid
unit, and in a direction that is not normally prone to wood expansion to any
And anyone who has ever had to rebuild/restore/replace an entire drawer just
because the bottom failed/cracked is much more likely to appreciate the
method and consider it for future drawers.
As long as the bottom isn't glued in, I don't see
the problem in changing a bottom even if it is
captured. You just rip the back on your table saw
at the top of the bottom (top of the dado) and
pull that thin strip out (which makes the drawer a
standard non-captured bottom). Except you have
a saw cut in each side at the back, which no one
will ever see. And if you want to do extra and
work you won't even have that cut.
I know that I missed a" one heck of a "whing ding" I hope to one day
participate in your world famous get together.
This year we had way too much going on. But maybe next year with a little
No you don't. The back is not grooved, it stops at the top of the side
grooves. The bottom overlaps the bottom of the back and is attached
with one or two screws, depending on drawer width.
To remove the bottom, just undo the screws and slide it out.
P.S. Note I changed "rabbet" to "groove". A rabbet is along the edge
of a piece. A groove (with the grain) or a dado (across the grain) is
within a piece.
I use a slightly different method. I do what Norm does, just slide it
in on three sides, but the drawer back I trim the height equivalent to
distance between the drawer bottom and top of the drawer. Then after
sliding the drawer bottom in, I screw up from under the drawer bottom
into the drawer back.
This gives the stronger construction aspect that you're talking about
while also permitting the option at any time of removing the screws and
sliding the drawer bottom out.
The ability to easily replace a part that is often the most abused, without
destroying the unit, is a prudent design consideration.
IME, the "slide in" method makes for a stronger drawer as there is arguably
more resistance to racking forces, due to the mechanical fastening of the
drawer bottom to the back, than you get with a "floating" drawer bottom
captured in a groove.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.