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What Are the Best Tips for Making DIY Drawers?

A man working on an MDF chest of drawers.
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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 April 2014
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Before beginning any project for making DIY drawers, it is important to determine how the drawers will be used. If, for example, the drawers are meant to replace existing drawers in a cabinet, it will be important to measure the old drawers and opening, and take note of the hardware used to secure the drawers in the opening. If the DIY drawers are being made for a cabinet that is also being built from scratch, it will be important to have an overall plan for construction in terms of measurements, hardware, function, and so on.

It is a good idea to assemble all the necessary tools before the project begins. It is likely the builder will need various types of saws, a router, a palm sander, a drill, and other tools in order to make the DIY drawers. An adequate workspace is also necessary; it should be well lit and well ventilated, as sawdust is likely to form when making cuts for the DIY drawers. It helps to have a tape measure and carpenter's square on hand for making accurate measurements as well as markings for angled cuts. A miter saw or chop saw is a good choice for much of the cutting that needs to be done for the drawers.

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Choose materials carefully. The DIY drawers are likely to be made from wood, but there are many types of wood to choose from. Hardwoods generally make the best DIY drawers because they are durable and attractive, but they will be more expensive than softwoods, which tend to be susceptible to warping, cracking, and splitting. The bottom and back of the drawer does not necessarily need to be made from solid wood at all; particle board or multi-density fiberboard, or MDF, can be used instead, as these materials are adequately strong but much less expensive than solid woods.

Consider how the various pieces of the drawer will be secured together. The joints can be as simple as gluing two pieces of wood together, or as complex as making dovetail joints. Gluing the drawer sides together is adequate if the drawers are meant for light duty use only. Screws can also be used, but these tend to be less attractive. Dovetail joints are attractive and strong, but they can be difficult to cut without the proper tools and skills. Other types of joints are options as well, but the builder will need to do some research to find the ones that are best for him or her.

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