Author Topic: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space  (Read 7684 times)

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Offline dicktill

  • Posts: 282
building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« on: October 10, 2017, 11:00 PM »
Hi all,

I'm about to build some drawer boxes for my Chevy based camper-van galley/pantry. Storage space is extremely limited and very valuable, so I'm trying to maximize it as much as possible. The only way that I have seen wooden drawer boxes made is with a dado near the bottom of the front, sides, and back - usually seems to be made for 3mm plywood, and leaving 1/2" below the dado. Front, sides, and back are usually about 1/2" (or even 5/8"). I am planning on using side mounted slides, and am wondering if there is anything wrong with:
1)  9mm Baltic Birch for the front, sides, and back, fastened together with 4mm Dominos (perhaps too risky, and front/back need to be 12mm?)
2)  12mm plywood (BB if I can get it) for the bottom
3)  a fairly large number of 4mm Dominos fully through the 9mm box to attach the bottom, which would then be flush with the bottom of the front, sides, and back

All of the above gains about 1/4" in width and depth of the inside of the box, and about 1/4" in usable height. I'm hoping that the all plywood approach negates concerns/issues with relative wood movement.

Thanks in advance for any advice, Dick
« Last Edit: November 04, 2017, 06:41 PM by dicktill »

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Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 5310
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2017, 11:10 PM »
The primary advantage to letting in the bottom is the bottom is supported by the side material.

9mm or 12mm should work. The issue with the 9mm will be screw length into the sides if it is 9mm.

The slides should keep the sides in alignment.

It will take some layout to get the Dominoes to work on the bottom. The bit is only 10mm long.

A moving vehicle stresses all the joinery in was a static unit will never know.

Tom




Offline dicktill

  • Posts: 282
Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2017, 11:29 AM »
The primary advantage to letting in the bottom is the bottom is supported by the side material.

9mm or 12mm should work. The issue with the 9mm will be screw length into the sides if it is 9mm.

The slides should keep the sides in alignment.

It will take some layout to get the Dominoes to work on the bottom. The bit is only 10mm long.

A moving vehicle stresses all the joinery in was a static unit will never know.

Tom

Thanks Tom. Hadn't thought about the short length of the 4mm Domino cutter, so yeah, I wouldn't be able to just plunge in through the sides into the bottom. Hmm, how about 5mm Domino's even though they violate the 1/3 of material thickness rule?

I assume that your concern of the screw length into the sides is about attaching the slides. Yes that will require short screws, possibly more of them.

And yes, the dynamic stresses are always a concern; I was planning on gluing the five parts together to help that.

-Dick

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2017, 01:05 PM »
Whereas you are looking to increase storage space, have you considered drawers without slides (depending on your desired look and cabinet construction) or even undermount slides (depending on cabinet construction)?

Peter
Disclaimer:  I have been involved with the development of some TSO Products.  I have offered thoughts and ideas freely.  I am not paid but I may receive products during the development process or afterwards.

Offline dicktill

  • Posts: 282
Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2017, 03:06 PM »
Whereas you are looking to increase storage space, have you considered drawers without slides (depending on your desired look and cabinet construction) or even undermount slides (depending on cabinet construction)?

Peter

Hi Peter,

Certainly drawers without slides would increase the "useable-space cube". But then we can't get near full extension opening, and there isn't an inherent "drawer closed" locking mechanism. The side sliders I'm looking at (KV 8400 RV Full Extension with Stay Close) do have these features. Plus with no sliders, the entire drawer, not just its contents (we have to pad these, especially pots and pans!), will rattle on every bump. I did consider undermount slides, but ruled them out for two reasons: 1) of the three dimensions of the "useable-space cube", the height is the most important, because 1/2" here is a large percentage, and 2) all of the undermount ones I've seen need to be fastened to the back of the cabinet, which for the pantry is curved due the Chevy van wall shape and only 1/4" thick, and for the galley will be non-existent to gain depth (but would have to be like the pantry one if I put it back in). Perhaps there are some shallower undermount ones?

I should mention that the upper drawers are not as deep as the lower ones.

Thanks, Dick

Offline pixelated

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Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2017, 03:55 PM »
Have you considered a system like this one, where the sides are an aluminum extrusion?

http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=32734&cat=1,250,43298,43315

Offline dicktill

  • Posts: 282
Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2017, 04:36 PM »
Have you considered a system like this one, where the sides are an aluminum extrusion?

http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=32734&cat=1,250,43298,43315

Hmm, interesting devices. I don't think they'd be suitable for a drawer full of canned goods and such though, and there are still the issues of non-full extension, no lock, and rattling.

There is always the (expensive) possibility of having my local HVAC sheet metal shop form a channel shaped side-bottom-side out of 1/8" aluminum, and then attach wood panels for the front and back.

Another thought to gain space is to eliminate the false front, and just Domino the front panel to the sides and bottom, but as far as I know, there is then no way to adjust the alignment of these except up-down with by moving the slides.

Thanks, Dick

Offline HarveyWildes

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Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2017, 08:12 PM »
If you're willing to use solid wood...

Something I've done on occasion is to fit the bottom into a dado as you described, but make the dado 1/4" and make the bottom like a raised panel, with the raised side facing down.  On the edged of the bottom you could use a traditional slanted approach to a raised panel, or just a rabbet.    That way you can get a bottom that is 1/2" thick for the most part, but that uses up the space in the bottom of the box that would otherwise be wasted.  Depending on how hard the wood is that you use on the sides, you might be able to place the dado closer to the bottom of the drawer side than 1/2".  With a maple side, I would be tempted to make the dado 1/4" inch wide and put it 1/4" from the bottom, in which case the 1/2" raised bottom would be even with the bottom of the sides.  If the drawer is going to see heavy weight (like massive amounts of silverware), putting the dado 1/4" from the bottom might be iffy, but 3/8" should do.  Plus with solid wood you could dovetail the sides and then you really have a solid drawer.

I hope that made sense.  I really want to just draw a picture :).

Offline dicktill

  • Posts: 282
Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2017, 08:29 PM »
If you're willing to use solid wood...

Something I've done on occasion is to fit the bottom into a dado as you described, but make the dado 1/4" and make the bottom like a raised panel, with the raised side facing down.  On the edged of the bottom you could use a traditional slanted approach to a raised panel, or just a rabbet.    That way you can get a bottom that is 1/2" thick for the most part, but that uses up the space in the bottom of the box that would otherwise be wasted.  Depending on how hard the wood is that you use on the sides, you might be able to place the dado closer to the bottom of the drawer side than 1/2".  With a maple side, I would be tempted to make the dado 1/4" inch wide and put it 1/4" from the bottom, in which case the 1/2" raised bottom would be even with the bottom of the sides.  If the drawer is going to see heavy weight (like massive amounts of silverware), putting the dado 1/4" from the bottom might be iffy, but 3/8" should do.  Plus with solid wood you could dovetail the sides and then you really have a solid drawer.

I hope that made sense.  I really want to just draw a picture :).

Thanks Harvey, yes that makes sense. I don't think I need a 1/2" thick bottom, that was to allow enough thickness to use Domino's to support it. The galley drawers are only 18-3/16" wide inside and the pantry drawers 11-7/16" (this is with 3/8" sides), so 3/8" thick is probably adequate for the galley bottoms and 1/4" for the pantry. I have no real problem with solid wood (hey, it looks a lot nicer!), but of course I won't be able to glue it all together; OTOH, I don't need to with your building method, which is easier. However, wouldn't I have to go back to 1/2" for the front, sides, and back to allow enough thickness for the dado?

-Dick


Offline dicktill

  • Posts: 282
Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2017, 09:13 PM »
OK, some reality checks. The total "useable-space volume" the way I have the drawers currently sized and "built" (4 each in galley and pantry) is 16,979 cubic inches, or 9.82 cubic feet. Increasing the walls from 3/8" to 1/2" loses about 2.9% of the volume (0.29 cu ft), so not too bad. Raising the floor 1/4" loses about 3.5% (0.34 cu ft), so again not too bad. Doing both loses 6.3% (0.62 cu ft), so beginning to get significant. But perhaps it just isn't worth the effort to make this fairly small improvement.   ... and using Harvey's idea of solid sides and the dado just 1/4 or 3/8" from the bottom saves back 1-1/2 to 3 percent. Hmm ...

-Dick

Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 610
Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2017, 09:23 PM »
If you're willing to use solid wood...

Something I've done on occasion is to fit the bottom into a dado as you described, but make the dado 1/4" and make the bottom like a raised panel, with the raised side facing down.  On the edged of the bottom you could use a traditional slanted approach to a raised panel, or just a rabbet.    That way you can get a bottom that is 1/2" thick for the most part, but that uses up the space in the bottom of the box that would otherwise be wasted.  Depending on how hard the wood is that you use on the sides, you might be able to place the dado closer to the bottom of the drawer side than 1/2".  With a maple side, I would be tempted to make the dado 1/4" inch wide and put it 1/4" from the bottom, in which case the 1/2" raised bottom would be even with the bottom of the sides.  If the drawer is going to see heavy weight (like massive amounts of silverware), putting the dado 1/4" from the bottom might be iffy, but 3/8" should do.  Plus with solid wood you could dovetail the sides and then you really have a solid drawer.

I hope that made sense.  I really want to just draw a picture :).

Thanks Harvey, yes that makes sense. I don't think I need a 1/2" thick bottom, that was to allow enough thickness to use Domino's to support it. The galley drawers are only 18-3/16" wide inside and the pantry drawers 11-7/16" (this is with 3/8" sides), so 3/8" thick is probably adequate for the galley bottoms and 1/4" for the pantry. I have no real problem with solid wood (hey, it looks a lot nicer!), but of course I won't be able to glue it all together; OTOH, I don't need to with your building method, which is easier. However, wouldn't I have to go back to 1/2" for the front, sides, and back to allow enough thickness for the dado?

-Dick

Probably - if the bottom is solid wood, you need to allow for wood movement.

Offline dicktill

  • Posts: 282
Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2017, 09:40 PM »
If you're willing to use solid wood...

Something I've done on occasion is to fit the bottom into a dado as you described, but make the dado 1/4" and make the bottom like a raised panel, with the raised side facing down.  On the edged of the bottom you could use a traditional slanted approach to a raised panel, or just a rabbet.    That way you can get a bottom that is 1/2" thick for the most part, but that uses up the space in the bottom of the box that would otherwise be wasted.  Depending on how hard the wood is that you use on the sides, you might be able to place the dado closer to the bottom of the drawer side than 1/2".  With a maple side, I would be tempted to make the dado 1/4" inch wide and put it 1/4" from the bottom, in which case the 1/2" raised bottom would be even with the bottom of the sides.  If the drawer is going to see heavy weight (like massive amounts of silverware), putting the dado 1/4" from the bottom might be iffy, but 3/8" should do.  Plus with solid wood you could dovetail the sides and then you really have a solid drawer.

I hope that made sense.  I really want to just draw a picture :).

Thanks Harvey, yes that makes sense. I don't think I need a 1/2" thick bottom, that was to allow enough thickness to use Domino's to support it. The galley drawers are only 18-3/16" wide inside and the pantry drawers 11-7/16" (this is with 3/8" sides), so 3/8" thick is probably adequate for the galley bottoms and 1/4" for the pantry. I have no real problem with solid wood (hey, it looks a lot nicer!), but of course I won't be able to glue it all together; OTOH, I don't need to with your building method, which is easier. However, wouldn't I have to go back to 1/2" for the front, sides, and back to allow enough thickness for the dado?

-Dick

Probably - if the bottom is solid wood, you need to allow for wood movement.

Was thinking of still using plywood for the bottom, so wood movement is lessened. My concern was how deep the dado's needed to be for support of the bottom, and how much of the thickness of the walls would be left.

Offline tjbnwi

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Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2017, 10:28 PM »
Glue and staple the bottom in place. Run the staples though the side into the edge of the floor.

Tom

Offline Gregor

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Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2017, 07:16 AM »
Or use 1mm (or 2, in case you find 1mm is not stiff enough) aluminium sheets (which can nicely be cut with the TS to size) for the bottoms and screw them into the walls from below.
Make a rabbet the thickness of the bottom on the walls that leaves 1-2mm material toward the outside, to hide the bottom if you want it to not being visible.

Offline lwoirhaye

  • Posts: 70
Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2017, 12:48 PM »
Assuming steel wasn't an option, I would make the whole drawer out of 1/2" ply with the bottom glued and screwed on from underneath.  Ugly, but sturdy.   The inside front could also be eliminated, though this would complicate attaching the drawer face.   Slides can also be slightly recessed into a groove in the sides I think.   I don't remember if I've done that or just considered it.

Offline dicktill

  • Posts: 282
Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2017, 06:38 PM »
Glue and staple the bottom in place. Run the staples though the side into the edge of the floor.

Tom

Thanks again Tom!

Offline dicktill

  • Posts: 282
Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2017, 06:41 PM »
Or use 1mm (or 2, in case you find 1mm is not stiff enough) aluminium sheets (which can nicely be cut with the TS to size) for the bottoms and screw them into the walls from below.
Make a rabbet the thickness of the bottom on the walls that leaves 1-2mm material toward the outside, to hide the bottom if you want it to not being visible.

Thanks Gregor. Am I correct that you are thinking of solid wood sides? Would think screwing into the edge of plywood wouldn't be good, but perhaps (hopefully!) I am wrong here.

Offline dicktill

  • Posts: 282
Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2017, 07:01 PM »
Assuming steel wasn't an option, I would make the whole drawer out of 1/2" ply with the bottom glued and screwed on from underneath.  Ugly, but sturdy.   The inside front could also be eliminated, though this would complicate attaching the drawer face.   Slides can also be slightly recessed into a groove in the sides I think.   I don't remember if I've done that or just considered it.

Thanks @lwoirhaye.

I don't know that steel (galvanized) is out of the question. What do you have in mind there?

As to the all plywood with the bottom glued and screwed: same question I asked Gregor about screwing into the edge of plywood, although in this case there is also the glue. What size screws and what spacing?

And yes, I have already decided to forego the faux front, and to join the sides directly to the real front. It'll be extra work, and quite a challenge for me as I haven't had to do anything as precise as the subsequent alignment will be, wood working-wise.

Offline dicktill

  • Posts: 282
Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #18 on: October 14, 2017, 07:02 PM »
Or use 1mm (or 2, in case you find 1mm is not stiff enough) aluminium sheets (which can nicely be cut with the TS to size) for the bottoms and screw them into the walls from below.
Make a rabbet the thickness of the bottom on the walls that leaves 1-2mm material toward the outside, to hide the bottom if you want it to not being visible.

Thanks Gregor. Am I correct that you are thinking of solid wood sides? Would think screwing into the edge of plywood wouldn't be good, but perhaps (hopefully!) I am wrong here. What size screws and what spacing?

Offline lwoirhaye

  • Posts: 70
Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #19 on: October 14, 2017, 07:54 PM »
You could bend sheet metal of modest thickness easily on a cobbled-together brake in your shop.  The problem with metal sides would be attaching the slides.  If you want to go all-in you could figure out how to rivet them I suppose.  The front and back of the steel drawer box would be easy to make out of plywood.  If the box is modest in size for RV drawers I don't suppose a steel bottom would sag too badly.

In my junk I have this galvanized steel box about 18" long x 12" wide by 10" high.  It's about 18 ga. I think.  Looks home-made.  I've had it full of iron and steel junk on and off for years and while the bottom isn't flat when loaded,  it only rocks a little when put on a flat surface, empty.  I'm sure the bulging is less than 3/16".

Plywood takes and holds screws well in general from the edge as long as you pre-drill to the shank size of the screw.  I use screws with an aggressive single-thread pattern in plywood.  Look at the pocket hole screws Kreg sells.  They sell double-lead screws for hardwoods.  The threads are also not as big.

Offline Gregor

  • Posts: 584
Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2017, 07:00 AM »
Or use 1mm (or 2, in case you find 1mm is not stiff enough) aluminium sheets (which can nicely be cut with the TS to size) for the bottoms and screw them into the walls from below.
Make a rabbet the thickness of the bottom on the walls that leaves 1-2mm material toward the outside, to hide the bottom if you want it to not being visible.

Thanks Gregor. Am I correct that you are thinking of solid wood sides? Would think screwing into the edge of plywood wouldn't be good, but perhaps (hopefully!) I am wrong here. What size screws and what spacing?
Depends on thickness/flexibility of the metal bottom sheet, thickness of the vertical walls and the quality of the material. With good plywood (that dosn't mainly consist of air pockets inside) it wasn't a problem so far to use these in 4x50 for 12mm plywood (bigger should wall thickness permit it, if needed pre-drilled 1mm smaller than the screws shaft diameter to avoid splitting) and spaced every ~6-8cm (depending on feel, I usually tend toward overkill).

For 9mm ply I would try the 3mm ones (in biggest length), build one sample piece and abuse it massively to find out if it'll hold together. Nevertheless, I would suggest you make the walls a bit thicker and place the rails into a groove (so the walls grow to the outside but you won't really waste useable space on the inside) to have more meat to connect the bottom into.

The linked screws will waste ~2-3mm below the bottom for the screw heads but have the benefit that they would hold against the sheet. To use countersunk ones (when needing that space) in this configuration I would increse the amount of screws to lessen the load on the individual one (so they don't pull through the sheet, aluminium is soft).

As I tend toward overdoing it (but I'm not in a mass-production environment, so the extra cost for screws and labor are no real issue for me) you might get away with less screws or could need more - YMMV. It's always a good idea to do science and screw some into a test piece to pull them straight out again, to get an idea how good they'll hold in your material. As is to build a prototype to test into oblivion before doing the real thing, when it is hard enough work to destroy it... it'll most likely last under normal use conditions.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2017, 07:03 AM by Gregor »

Offline Holmz

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Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #21 on: October 15, 2017, 06:11 PM »
If you are doing a few, what about using fibreglass and doing the whole box on a tapered male mould?
Then attach faces later.

The fibreglass should hold up to fatigue and vibration better than most things...

You would not need much of a draft angle on the sides.

Offline dicktill

  • Posts: 282
Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2017, 04:42 PM »
Or use 1mm (or 2, in case you find 1mm is not stiff enough) aluminium sheets (which can nicely be cut with the TS to size) for the bottoms and screw them into the walls from below.
Make a rabbet the thickness of the bottom on the walls that leaves 1-2mm material toward the outside, to hide the bottom if you want it to not being visible.

Thanks Gregor. Am I correct that you are thinking of solid wood sides? Would think screwing into the edge of plywood wouldn't be good, but perhaps (hopefully!) I am wrong here. What size screws and what spacing?
Depends on thickness/flexibility of the metal bottom sheet, thickness of the vertical walls and the quality of the material. With good plywood (that dosn't mainly consist of air pockets inside) it wasn't a problem so far to use these in 4x50 for 12mm plywood (bigger should wall thickness permit it, if needed pre-drilled 1mm smaller than the screws shaft diameter to avoid splitting) and spaced every ~6-8cm (depending on feel, I usually tend toward overkill).

For 9mm ply I would try the 3mm ones (in biggest length), build one sample piece and abuse it massively to find out if it'll hold together. Nevertheless, I would suggest you make the walls a bit thicker and place the rails into a groove (so the walls grow to the outside but you won't really waste useable space on the inside) to have more meat to connect the bottom into.

The linked screws will waste ~2-3mm below the bottom for the screw heads but have the benefit that they would hold against the sheet. To use countersunk ones (when needing that space) in this configuration I would increse the amount of screws to lessen the load on the individual one (so they don't pull through the sheet, aluminium is soft).

As I tend toward overdoing it (but I'm not in a mass-production environment, so the extra cost for screws and labor are no real issue for me) you might get away with less screws or could need more - YMMV. It's always a good idea to do science and screw some into a test piece to pull them straight out again, to get an idea how good they'll hold in your material. As is to build a prototype to test into oblivion before doing the real thing, when it is hard enough work to destroy it... it'll most likely last under normal use conditions.

Thanks again Gregor. Some great ideas here, and I really like those screws.

... thinking about it ...

Offline dicktill

  • Posts: 282
Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2017, 04:47 PM »
If you are doing a few, what about using fibreglass and doing the whole box on a tapered male mould?
Then attach faces later.

The fibreglass should hold up to fatigue and vibration better than most things...

You would not need much of a draft angle on the sides.

Interesting idea, @Holmz. Alas, in optimizing each drawer because of the Chevy side wall, and to clear some plumbing under the sink, no two drawers are identical! And, alas #2, I'm really bad at fiberglass.  [eek]  But thanks; all these ideas are going to gel together (no pun intended) soon.

Offline Steven Owen

  • Posts: 265
Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #24 on: October 16, 2017, 05:24 PM »
Hi all,

I'm about to build some drawer boxes for my Chevy based camper-van galley/pantry. Storage space is extremely limited and very valuable, so I'm trying to maximize it as much as possible. I only way that I have seen wooden drawer boxes made is with a dado near the bottom of the front, sides, and back - usually seems to be made for 3mm plywood, and leaving 1/2" below the dado. Front, sides, and back are usually about 1/2" (or even 5/8"). I am planning on using side mounted slides, and am wondering if there is anything wrong with:
1)  9mm Baltic Birch for the front, sides, and back, fastened together with 4mm Dominos (perhaps too risky, and front/back need to be 12mm?)
2)  12mm plywood (BB if I can get it) for the bottom
3)  a fairly large number of 4mm Dominos fully through the 9mm box to attach the bottom, which would then be flush with the bottom of the front, sides, and back

All of the above gains about 1/4" in width and depth of the inside of the box, and about 1/4" in usable height. I'm hoping that the all plywood approach negates concerns/issues with relative wood movement.

Thanks in advance for any advice, Dick

I’ve actually become a big fan of using mahogany for my drawers over Maple and Baltic Birch.  The stability of the mahogany allows you to build very tight fitting drawers that maximize the usable space inside the cabinet.  The blotchiness of birch and the wood expansion and movement on maple have made those two less appealing. 

Mahogany is also easier to refinsh if drawer is scratched or the finsh is marred.

Offline dicktill

  • Posts: 282
Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #25 on: October 16, 2017, 05:30 PM »

I’ve actually become a big fan of using mahogany for my drawers over Maple and Baltic Birch.  The stability of the mahogany allows you to build very tight fitting drawers that maximize the usable space inside the cabinet.  The blotchiness of birch and the wood expansion and movement on maple have made those two less appealing. 

Mahogany is also easier to refinsh if drawer is scratched or the finsh is marred.

Thanks Steven. What thickness Mahogany? I would want to stick with the Cherry for the drawer front as that is what everything else in this "tiny apartment" is, although some of it is faux Cherry laminate. If I had had a choice, I would have bought one with the other option, Maple instead, for a brighter interior. However, what the drawer box is made of is not a concern here.

Offline Steven Owen

  • Posts: 265
Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #26 on: October 16, 2017, 06:45 PM »

I’ve actually become a big fan of using mahogany for my drawers over Maple and Baltic Birch.  The stability of the mahogany allows you to build very tight fitting drawers that maximize the usable space inside the cabinet.  The blotchiness of birch and the wood expansion and movement on maple have made those two less appealing. 

Mahogany is also easier to refinsh if drawer is scratched or the finsh is marred.

Thanks Steven. What thickness Mahogany? I would want to stick with the Cherry for the drawer front as that is what everything else in this "tiny apartment" is, although some of it is faux Cherry laminate. If I had had a choice, I would have bought one with the other option, Maple instead, for a brighter interior. However, what the drawer box is made of is not a concern here.

3/4 inch Mahogany plywood is much easier to find.  Not every carries 1/2 inch.  If you want to use dowels or dominos to join the drawer than 3/4 is a better choice for added strength.

1/2 works well in miter joints, rabbits and dados.  I wouldn’t use 1/2 for domino and dowel based joints in a drawer. 

The downside is darker wood for your drawer.  The upside of Mahogany will be the ability to squeeze every useable cubic inch out of the available drawer space.  If you can find Brazilian Mahogany sheets you can get a much lighter finish that will compliment the Cherry wood very well. Brazilian Mahogany shares some similar red tones with Cherry wood. 

The other alternative is Beech.  Festool chose Beech for dominos for a good reason.  It’s very stable for indoor use.  It stains better and has a nicer grain patterns than Birch.  There’s also less defects in Beech plywood.  Beech also accept dyes much better than birch so there more options to change the color to your liking.

Beech plywood would be another good option.  People choose birch because it’s 20-35% cheaper than Beech plywood.

Here’s link on staining Beech. It makes beautiful drawers.

https://www.woodworkerssource.com/blog/woodworking-101/tips-tricks/finishing-tips-for-beech-woodworking-projects/


« Last Edit: October 16, 2017, 07:04 PM by Steven Owen »

Offline dicktill

  • Posts: 282
Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #27 on: October 16, 2017, 07:46 PM »

3/4 inch Mahogany plywood is much easier to find.  Not every carries 1/2 inch.  If you want to use dowels or dominos to join the drawer than 3/4 is a better choice for added strength.

1/2 works well in miter joints, rabbits and dados.  I wouldn’t use 1/2 for domino and dowel based joints in a drawer. 

The downside is darker wood for your drawer.  The upside of Mahogany will be the ability to squeeze every useable cubic inch out of the available drawer space.  If you can find Brazilian Mahogany sheets you can get a much lighter finish that will compliment the Cherry wood very well. Brazilian Mahogany shares some similar red tones with Cherry wood. 

The other alternative is Beech.  Festool chose Beech for dominos for a good reason.  It’s very stable for indoor use.  It stains better and has a nicer grain patterns than Birch.  There’s also less defects in Beech plywood.  Beech also accept dyes much better than birch so there more options to change the color to your liking.

Beech plywood would be another good option.  People choose birch because it’s 20-35% cheaper than Beech plywood.

Here’s link on staining Beech. It makes beautiful drawers.

https://www.woodworkerssource.com/blog/woodworking-101/tips-tricks/finishing-tips-for-beech-woodworking-projects/

Thanks Steven.

Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 5310
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #28 on: October 18, 2017, 04:11 PM »
You can use the 4mm Dominos. Just takes a little fore though and careful layout.

These pieces are 50mm tall, the top of the groove/dado is 15mm from the bottom.

I used the paddle Domino, referenced the bottom with the paddles instead of the top.

These are for the shop, going to spray them with KA+, which ever color I have enough of. Piece were made from drops of other jobs.


Tom

 
« Last Edit: October 18, 2017, 04:14 PM by tjbnwi »

Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 4010
Re: building drawer boxes to maximize (internal) space
« Reply #29 on: October 18, 2017, 04:48 PM »
If you are doing a few, what about using fibreglass and doing the whole box on a tapered male mould?
Then attach faces later.

The fibreglass should hold up to fatigue and vibration better than most things...

You would not need much of a draft angle on the sides.

Interesting idea, @Holmz. Alas, in optimizing each drawer because of the Chevy side wall, and to clear some plumbing under the sink, no two drawers are identical! And, alas #2, I'm really bad at fiberglass.  [eek]  But thanks; all these ideas are going to gel together (no pun intended) soon.

I am watching this as I have similar plans.

Assuming that this thing is shaking like there is no tomorrow, then fatigue is your biggest concern.
That excludes Aluminium.
But it adds in Fibreglass, steel and wood.
The marine ply, screwed and glued may not be a bad option.

There are a lot of platforms with "slide out drawers" made with either that or MDF that seem to hold up... I have only glanced at them so not sure what they are  but they slide on plastic that looks a bit like an upside down ski base.

Another option that would not really helpful is saving time, but has some strength:
A laminated drawer like a canoe. and basically it is like fibreglass in that the fibres run in the direction needed for strength, but using thin wood strips that make a plywood composite. Then the wood can carries the stress gracefully around the corner. (Like your basic a cheap chair.)
That sort means that the cans lay on their sides as the corner has a fillet of material.

I think you need some requirements:
1) Water proof?
2) Corrosion?
3) cycles of fatigue?
4) etc... etc...

If you did the canoe style, then you would need the mandrel to lay them up on.
So whether it was fibreglass, hammered copper, or laminated wood, you need the same male mandrel.

I do not think you can do better than that... hence I would probably 'screw and glue' rectangles together...