Building of Drawers for Workbench

Topics Covered
Carcass Notes and Photos
Drawer Notes and Photos
Drawer Slide Notes and Photos
Photos of Drawers as Currently Being Used
In Closing

If you have no need for additional drawers in your shop, then you will probably not want to read any further.

But there are probably few, if any, woodworkers who don’t need or want more drawers for storing stuff.

And underneath your workbench top is an ideal place for drawers, and that is what this post will cover.

Shown in Photo 1 below is the area underneath my workbench top where I plan to install two drawers, which will be side-by-side.

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Photo 1

What follows is a collection of notes and photos regarding this build.

Carcass Notes & Photos
1. The 13-1/8”-length 2 x 4 shown standing on the shelve (Photo 1) beneath the workbench top represents the maximum height that will clear any holdfast inserted in a dog hole on the workbench.

2. The game plan is to install two drawers side-by-side on the shelf under the workbench top. And each drawer will be housed inside a dedicated box carcass to limit dust from getting inside each drawer.

3. For building the carcass boxes, I used 3/4″ plywood for the sides and 1/2″ OSB for the top, bottom, and back.

Why 1/2″ OSB for the top and bottom? Two reasons—first, I have a ton of 1/2″ OSB that I need to make use of, and second, I have a 13-1/8” maximum height to work with for the carcass height.

A table saw rip fence and a panel sled were used to cut the plywood and OSB to size.

And Photo 2 below shows the panel sled set up to make a plywood cut for one of the carcasses.

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Photo 2

4. The dimensions for the boards making up each carcass box are as follows:

a) Each plywood side is 3/4″ x 12” high x 22-3/16” long.
b) The OSB top is 1/2″ x 18-3/4” wide x 24” long.
c) The OSB bottom is 1/2″ x 18-5/8” wide x 21-11/16” long.
d) And the OSB back is 1/2″ x 13” high x 20-1/8” wide.

To help reduce dust from the shop working its way to the inside of the drawer, an overhang is provided on the OSB top board that is why it’s longer than the OSB bottom board.

5. Photo 3 and 4 show how I went about holding the carcass top and one carcass side together at a right angle to one another.

Photo 3 below shows one of the carcass sides clamped with my workbench face vise. The carcass side is clamped flush with the top of the face vise.

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Photo 3

This next photo (Photo 4) shows the carcass top fastened with five deck screws (1-5/8” in length) to the carcass side shown above in Photo 3.

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Photo 4

Now, since the top of the face vise is about 1/4” below the workbench top, I was able to butt the OSB shown in Photo 4 up against the side of the workbench top. And therefore, this enabled me to position the outside surfaces of the OSB shown in Photos 3 and 4 such that it was coplanar with the 3/4″ plywood that is clamped in the vise.

The five deck screws are spaced as follows:
a) 1-1/2” in from each end of the carcass side member beneath the carcass top member,
b) one deck screw centered between the two outermost deck screws, and
c) a deck screw centered between each outermost deck screw and the center deck screw.

6. The workbench face vise also worked out well for attaching the other carcass side to the carcass top as shown in Photo 5.

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Photo 5

Fasten the carcass top, shown in Photo 5, to the carcass side with five deck screws (1-5/8” in length) spaced as noted above in Note 5 for the other side of the carcass top.

With the carcass top fastened to the two carcass sides (shown in Photo 6), this partially assembled carcass is already rigid.

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Photo 6

(There have been times when I have thought of replacing my face vise with a leg vise. But times like this where I can attach the carcass sides and a top together as shown in Photos 3, 4, and 5 make me glad that I have not.)

7. Photo 7 shows the carcass bottom clamped and squared up with the rest of the carcass. And then the carcass bottom is fastened to the two carcass sides.

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Photo 7

Fasten the carcass bottom to the two carcass sides with five deck screws (1-5/8” length)into each carcass side as follows:

The five deck screws are spaced as follows:
a) 1-1/2” in from each end of the carcass top member,
b) one deck screw centered between the two outermost deck screws, and
c) a deck screw centered between each outermost deck screw and the center deck screw.

8. The finished carcass is shown in Photos 8 & 9. All five sides are butt-jointed together and fastened as follows:

a) Deck screws (1-5/8” in length) were used for fastening the 1/2″ OSB to the 3/4″ plywood.
b) Drywall screws (2” in length) were used for fastening the 1/2” OSB top and bottom carcass members to the 1/2″ OSB back carcass member.

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Photo 8

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Photo 9

And that completes the building of the carcass boxes, which will house the drawers with one drawer in each carcass box.

Drawer Notes & Photos
What follows is an eclectic collection of notes on the drawer building.

1. The drawer is made out of 1x boards for the sides and back. The front board is 3/4″ plywood, due to the width required for this board. And the bottom is 1/2″ OSB.

2. And here’s the cutlist for the drawer:

a) Dimensions for each side 1x board are 3/4″ x 10-3/4” high x 21-3/8” long.
b) Dimensions for the back 1x board are 3/4″ x 9-3/4” high x 16-1/4” wide.
c) Dimensions for the plywood front are 3/4″ x 12-3/8” high x 18-11/16” wide.
d) And dimensions for the OSB bottom are 1/2″ x 15-1/4” wide x 22-1/8” long.

3. Set your table saw rip fence to cut the front, back, and the two sideboards for your drawer.

4. Typically, for the drawer bottom, you cut a groove in all four of the boards just cut, sized as required for the thickness of the bottom board, which you elect to use. However, right or wrong, I elected not to cut a groove on the front board. Typical thicknesses used for drawer bottom drawers are 1/4″ for small drawers and 1/2″ for larger drawers.

I used a 1/2″ OSB board for the drawer bottom. Therefore, I cut a 1/2″ groove in the backboard and the two sideboards for the drawer.

5. What works out well for installing the drawer bottom, plus being able to remove the drawer bottom at a later date if need be, is to size the backboard so that the bottom board can be installed by sliding it underneath the backboard and then into the grooves on the two sideboards.

This means that the bottom of the backboard must be coplanar with the top of the groove in the two sideboards.

Now, if you use your table saw and a stacked dado set to cut the groove in the back board and two side boards—then here is how to easily alter the height of the backboard so that the bottom board can slide underneath and just clear the bottom of the backboard.

To alter the height dimension of the backboard, first—do not change the table saw fence setting used to cut the grooves for the bottom board, and then raise the stacked dado set to cut through the groove and the rest of the backboard. This will result in a back board whose bottom end will be coplanar with the top of the groove in the two sideboards. And the top of the backboard will be coplanar with the tops of the two sideboards– Perfect.

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Photo 10

6. Shown in Photo 10 is the start of the drawer assembly. After clamping the backboard to the sideboard, as shown in Photo 10, I shot a #18-ga. x 1-9/16” brad at the top and bottom about 3/4” down from each end.

And Photo 11 below shows the back fastened to the side boards with 2-1/2”-length drywall screws.

The three screws on each end of the back 1x board are positioned as follows:
a) One screw is in the center.
b) And the two outside screws are 1-1/2” from each end.

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Photo 11

7. The 3/4″ plywood front, shown in Photo 12, is sized to equal the outside width of the carcass box. And the height of the plywood front is cut to be 1/4″ less than the distance from the bottom side of the carcass box to the bottom side of the carcass box top.

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Photo 12

Position the plywood front such that you have 1/8” clearance between the bottom of the plywood front and the bottom side of the carcass box bottom. This will, in turn, leave a 1/8” clearance between the top of the plywood front and the bottom side of the carcass box top.

The plywood front is attached to each side of the drawer with three deck screws (#8 x 2-1/2”). One screw is centered, one screw is 1-1/2” from the drawer front bottom, and one screw is 1-1/2” from the drawer front top.

I angled the two outside screws towards the center screw, and I ran the center screw straight in—no angling of the center screw.

I felt that angling the two outside screws would somewhat replicate a dovetail connection and that the drawer front would be less likely to pull loose from the rest of the drawer. Although, the drawer moves smoothly on the ball-bearing drawer slides. So in all likelihood, the drawer front pulling loose from the rest of the drawer would probably not happen, regardless of whether the outside screws were angled or not angled.

8. Using my panel sled and table saw, I cut the 1/2″ OSB for the drawer bottom to size. For my drawer bottom, the dimensions for the OSB were 1/2” x 15-1/4” wide x 22-1/8” long.

And that completes the building of the drawers.

Drawer Slide Notes & Photos
1. For the drawer slides, I used Liberty drawer slides with bearings. The bearings make for a drawer slide that easily slides in and out.

2. The drawer slides, I am using, call for the outside drawer width to be 1” less than the width of the carcass opening that the drawer will slide in and out of. In other words, a 1/2” clearance is required between each side of the drawer and the adjacent carcass side.

3. The drawer slides consist of two members. One member is stationary, which attaches to the inside of the carcass. And the other member, which attaches to the drawer, slides in-and-out of the stationary member.

4. Since both my drawer and carcass sides for the drawer were built of 1x type lumber, I used #8 x 3/4” pan head type screws for fastening the drawer slides to the drawer and carcass for the drawer.

Maybe the screws that came with the drawer slides would have worked, but I was just more comfortable using the #8 x 3/4” pan head screws referenced above, instead of the smaller screws that were included with the drawer slides.

5. The drawer slides that I used are 22” length Liberty ball bearing drawer slides, D806 series. I purchased the drawer slides at Home Depot for $15.48 per pair, plus tax.

6. Installation of the stationary portion of the drawer slide to the carcass—Shown in Photo 13 is the stationary portion of the drawer slide (on the left side of the carcass) spaced off the bottom of the carcass with a 3/4” x 2” x 22” wood spacer.

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Photo 13

And I shot two #18-ga. x 1” brad nails into the wood spacer to hold the wood spacer in place until I finished fastening the drawer slide to the carcass with five pan head screws (#8 x 3/4”).

Next, remove the 3/4” x 2” x 22” wood spacer and repeat the process described in the above two paragraphs on the right side of the carcass.

Note—for the stationary portion of the drawer slide, I used a 1/4” Brad bit to get perfectly centered points in the drawer slide holes for screwing in the #8 x 3/4” screws.

7. Installation of the movable portion of the drawer slide to the drawer—first, remove the wood spacer shown in Photo 13.

Next, place two temporary 1/2” OSB boards (1/2” x 3” x 22”) inside the carcass as shown in Photo 14. Don’t fasten the two temporary 1/2” OSB boards to the carcass since you will need to remove them after the drawer is installed.

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Photo 14

Now, insert the drawer into the carcass, and then pull the drawer out about 4” as shown in Photo 15.

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Photo 15

Next, insert a screw (#8 x 3/4”) through the hole in the movable portion of the drawer slide and into the side of the drawer as shown in Photo 15, and do the same thing on the other side of the drawer, also.

Note—for the movable portion of the drawer slide, I used an 11/64” Brad bit to get perfectly centered points in the drawer slide holes for screwing in the #8 x 3/4” screws.

8. Next, pull the movable portion of the drawer slide out until the second circular screw hole in the movable portion of the drawer slide is exposed. Then, insert a screw (#8 x 3/4”) through the drawer slide and into the side of the drawer as shown in Photo 16. And do the same thing on the other side of the drawer also.

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Photo 16

9. Next, remove the drawer from the carcass and the attached movable portion of the drawer slide from the stationary portion of the drawer slide.

Next, insert a screw (#8 x 3/4”) through the drawer slide and into the side of the drawer as shown in Photo 17, and do the same thing on the other side of the drawer also. The screw referenced here is the screw shown installed on the left side of the movable drawer slide in Photo 17.

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Photo 17

10. Before placing each respective drawer back into its respective carcass, secure the carcass boxes to the workbench shelving that they rest on. I secured the two carcass boxes to the workbench shelving with four deck screws (#8 x 2”) per carcass box—two screws at the front of each carcass box and two screws at the back of each carcass box.

The four screws (#8 x 2”) in each carcass box ensure that the carcass boxes will not tip when the drawers are fully extended from the carcass boxes.

11. Now, reinstall the movable portion of the drawer slide into the stationary portion of the drawer slide, and that completes this build.

Photos of Drawers as Currently Being Used

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Photo 18

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Photo 19

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Photo 20

In Closing
I have been using the drawers for several weeks now, and having two good size drawers under my workbench top to keep commonly used tools in has been a real treat. And the fact that the drawers slide in and out easily has been a real treat, also.

As a matter of fact, regarding the ball bearing drawer slides, I am toying with changing out the other drawers in my shop from wood runners to ball bearing drawer slides if possible.

Take care
AL

John 3:16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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