Drawer Making episode 4


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With the clamps removed, Paul fits the drawer to the recess using a plane and cabinet scraper. Once fitted, the drawer bottom is cut to size and fixed in place in the groove, then screwed in place. Paul also shows how to carefully fit a rebated solid drawer bottom, as an alternative option.


  1. Derek Long on 27 April 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Good ole Johnson’s Paste Wax works good here in the States.

  2. Joe Kaiser on 27 April 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Reading the grain is something I struggle with. When you were looking at the edge of that side and said the grain is running from the back corner to the front, how can you tell it wasn’t running from the front corner to the back?

    • Derek Long on 27 April 2016 at 7:11 pm

      The easiest way to think about grain direction is to remember to always “plane uphill” in the direction the grain is rising. It will then usually be the opposite direction on the opposing face unless you have wavy grain.

  3. STEVE MASSIE on 27 April 2016 at 8:55 pm

    Another great video, I like this drawer construction very much. I also use Johnson Furniture Paste Wax to lubricate my screws. I work mostly with pine and finding the grain direction is really hard at times but you find out quick I guess that is another good reason to take shallow passes.


  4. bobeaston on 28 April 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Excellent as always.
    Yet, I have a suggestion…
    Everything you demonstrate is “perfect” or so close we can’t tell. And, for many things you offer various ways to accomplish results. I appreciate all of that very much. Thanks!

    However, it would be really good to have better guidance on how to recover when things are imperfect. For example, what should one do upon discovering a drawer opening is NOT square? Whether something moved, something was overlooked, or the cat rearranged the clamps, who knows? What to do? Make a square drawer and fettle the fit? Make an off-square drawer? Try to compensate in some other way?

    Advice for recovering from such imperfections could make the instruction even more valuable.

    • kjellhar on 28 April 2016 at 1:56 pm

      I totally agree.
      Usually I start out pretty good, but at some point I slip a little. How to recover from all those little mistakes would be very valuable. Some time you need to start over, but not always.

    • David Perrott on 28 April 2016 at 2:45 pm

      I have long thought that would be helpful, but may be better to bring it up in a different forum or manner.

      • Philip Adams on 29 April 2016 at 12:58 pm

        Thank you for your comments and ideas. We will have a think as to how we can implement them.

  5. Robert Sacilowski on 28 April 2016 at 3:27 pm

    Great drawer video! Love your technique of the M&T in the rear. Thank you. In the future, could you do a video on drawer SLIPS – plain, fancy, why’s and how? Again, thanks for all your teaching.

  6. fudoka on 28 April 2016 at 8:32 pm

    The one thing I was really hoping to see was just how Paul managed the actual wall hanging.

    There’s surely no way of fitting a french cleat on the back – or is there?

    • bobeaston on 29 April 2016 at 11:48 am

      Several times, I have added a french cleat to the back of cabinets. It requires two parts, the cleat at the top (or near the top) and a piece of equal thickness at the bottom (or near the bottom). Added on, rather than built in results in an offset from the wall, but it works.

      • fudoka on 29 April 2016 at 7:29 pm

        That was what I’d assumed and what I was intending to do with my cupboard. The problem is with it standing away from the wall. It just looks a little untidy – not really a problem in the workshop I know.
        I was just wondering if Paul had a neater method of fixing it to the wall.

        • JIM CHILDRESS on 1 November 2016 at 12:55 am

          There must be a recess on the rear of any cabinet about 2/3 or more of the width at a depth of
          the piece attached to the cabinet. The cabinet will then be flush. Actually, the downward force
          of the weight of the cabinet loaded is spread over the width of the recessed French Cleat to allow
          a more narrow piece if this is the case.


          • JIM CHILDRESS on 1 November 2016 at 1:00 am

            In addition you could add one piece on either side the full height of the cabinet and the thickness
            of the French Cleat with a piece across the top and bottom to conceal and be flush.


  7. knightlylad on 28 April 2016 at 9:59 pm

    Thank you for the lesson.

  8. jakegevorgian on 29 April 2016 at 10:07 am

    Thanks master Paul

  9. bigbrowndog on 29 April 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Watching the opposite drawer pop out from air pressure as you pushed the other in was awesome.

    I personally find it inspiring to watch a craftsman consistently get that perfect fit. I don’t have that good of odds, but like golf, once or twice a game I have an amazing hit, and my average is getting better.

    Thank you again.

  10. Peter Bernhardt on 30 April 2016 at 2:09 pm

    Two questions and a comment about the solid wood door. First, are you concerned about wood movement of the drawer bottom? Perhaps elongating the screw hole in the bottom to allow for movement would address this – but not sure if this really is a risk. Second, are the supports you applied to the plywood version necessary for the solid drawer bottom?

    And this comment – I’ve seen these made using a raised panel technique rather than rebate (or rabbets as we say in the US).

    • Derek Long on 30 April 2016 at 3:37 pm

      Any wood movement would be front to back and would be infinitesimal in a small drawer bottom like that. It would expand to the back where it is unrestrained and really wouldn’t be an issue that I can imagine.

      • Michael Ostrander on 4 November 2017 at 5:41 am

        Wood movement, across the width, is going to go from wherever its fixed to wherever it isn’t. In this case with both edges fixed there is a real danger of the bottom splitting even if the wood only expands 1/64th to a 1/32nd. Not unusual for dry oak over a 10″ to 12″ width. The screw holes on the solid wood bottom should have been slotted and 1 should be enough for a drawer this size.

    • Daniel Agostinelli on 9 December 2017 at 6:43 pm

      Thanks for telling me that a rebate is a rabbet.

  11. bobcashman on 30 April 2016 at 10:05 pm

    Question: will using the back of the drawer ends against the back of the cabinet not result in the drawer fronts being proud or recessed as the cabinet expands and contracts with seasonal humidity changes? Maybe I missed a step in the construction that prevents this?

  12. Paul Sellers on 3 May 2016 at 11:20 am

    I think often times we can consider something important that doesn’t always or even usually happen. I made my cabinet four months ago and there seems to be no change whatsoever so I am leaving mine as it is. A couple of times the drawers did stick a little showing expansion on a very marginal level bit two shavings on the height of the drawer has resolved this and the drawers glide nicely. So, you are right to think of it but the answer on drawers is very simple. If the cabinet shrinks you can of course take a shaving off the ends of the drawers. If it expands you can do a couple of things. In the past, when I lived in Texas and the humidity varied greatly, I cut my drawers back 1/4″ and added two screws into the endgrain of the drawer sides each side. I then used the screws as adjusters to give me the ability to change the length using the screw heads as stops. More commonly is to put two stops each side behind the drawer front and fixed to the bottom board of the cabinet. Usually we orient this so that the end grain of the block hits the back of the drawer. Usually glue and clamps works to secure it.

  13. Denis Solomon on 31 October 2016 at 11:23 am

    Thanks for a great series of videos.
    . A question: Some woodworkers use the de-toothed end of an old tenon saw to extend the sloping kerfs of the half-lap dovetail sockets before chiselling. Do you ever do that? Do you recommend it?

    • Philip Adams on 9 November 2016 at 9:54 am

      Hello Denis,
      We don’t use that technique, so couldn’t recommend it.
      Best, Phil

  14. António on 31 October 2016 at 3:58 pm

    Thank you WWMC team!

  15. larryl49 on 18 November 2016 at 4:13 pm

    Thanks again for another enjoyable video, showing the finer points of drawer makeing and detail.
    Regards Larry.

  16. bigaxe on 26 December 2016 at 5:56 pm

    Has anyone have any comments or opinions regarding drawer slips ?

  17. Harvey Kimsey on 23 August 2017 at 12:22 am

    Why not just use one screw to secure the bottoms so that it’s easy to replace a broken drawer bottom?

  18. Michael Ostrander on 4 November 2017 at 5:45 am

    What a unique and utilitarian drawer design. Pure genius that wit a couple little tweaks to traditional design, you eliminate so many of the problems that arise with drawer fitting and use. Thanks for the tips.

  19. Trevor Annels on 8 January 2022 at 10:03 pm

    Very good series. Thank you.

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