Plywood Drawers

A worksheet for calculating dimensions for plywood drawers constructed with a simple rabbet joint.

Simple plywood drawer

Inside dimensions of the cabinet:

cabinet width = 20.000in
cabinet depth = 19.750in
cabinet height = 9.500in

number of drawers = 2                    # the vertical space is evenly divided between the drawers

Clearances, margins and reveals:

material thickness = 15in/32             # 1/2 plywood
bottoms material thickness = 0.25in      # 1/4 plywood
saw blade kerf = 0.100in                 # not particularly important
rabbet depth = 0.250in                   # should be fine for both the 1/2" and 3/4" plywood sides
slot depth = 0.250in                     # slot for the drawer bottom

wood movement = 0.0625in                 # used only to calculate the size of the drawer bottoms
slide clearance = 0.500in + 0.030in      # drawer slide thickness + the requisite tolerance of 0.030"
back clearance = 0.750in                 # clearance between the back of the cabinet and the back of the drawer
bottom margin = 0.500in                  # distance to the bottom of the slot from the bottom of the drawer side
reveal = 0.250in                         # reveal between the drawers

Parts

Drawer parts’ dimensions:

height = (cabinet height - (number of drawers + 1) * reveal) / number of drawers
    => 4.375in
front = cabinet width - slide clearance * 2        # same applies to drawer back
    => 18.94in
side = cabinet depth - back clearance - (material thickness - rabbet depth) * 2
    => 18.5625in
bottom width = front - material thickness * 2 + slot depth * 2 - wood movement
    => 18.44in
bottom height = side - wood movement
    => 18.5in

Some additional measurements:

# the inside hight of the drawer
drawer depth = height - bottoms material thickness - bottom margin
    => 3.625in

# these guys usually come in 2" increments, so plan accordingly
slide length = side + (material thickness - rabbet depth) * 2
    => 19in

# estimate for the amount of plywood required to build the drawers
plywood length = front * 2 + side * 2 + saw blade kerf * 5
    => 75.505in
plywood width = height * number of drawers + saw blade kerf * (number of drawers + 1)
    => 9.05in
bottoms plywood length = bottom height * number of drawers + saw blade kerf * (number of drawers + 1)
    => 37.3in
bottoms plywood width = bottom width * number of drawers + saw blade kerf * (number of drawers + 1)
    => 37.18in

September 23, 2013 |

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George Sudarkoff Climber of rocks, maker of things, husband of wife and father of kids. Manage DevOps @SurveyMonkey. Views are my own, but damn they are good views!