Cabinet drawers, not underpants. Get your head out of the gutter.

A big part of our Printmakers Media Cabinet project is the 6 storage drawers to hold remotes, and our DVD’s & video games. The cabinet has three shallow drawers at the top (for the remotes), and then three deep drawers at the bottom. Where we last left off was that we had built the small drawers.

Drawer Box. These skinny drawers go at the top of the cabinet to hold small things such as remotes and magazines
Drawer Box. These skinny drawers go at the top of the cabinet to hold small things such as remotes and magazines

Last weekend we cut some hardboard bottoms for the drawers and attached them with brad nails.

drawer bottoms
Attaching drawer bottoms
Completed drawer
Completed drawer

We gave the drawers a final sand, and headed inside to install the drawer slides. At this point in time the whole cabinet build had went very smoothly. No major hiccups, everything was great. Usually every project has it caveat. Its one pain in the ass task, or something liable to go wrong. Well we hit that with the drawers. We had tested the size of the drawers to make sure the drawer slides would fit on either side of the drawer into the hole in the cabinet. What we did NOT take in to account was that we purchased regular old kitchen drawer slides, which require at least 1/2″ in clearance in the height of the drawer to be able to take the drawer in and out. (The drawer slide has two rollers, and to take the drawer in or out you have to lift the drawer roller over the cabinet roller, thus the 1/2″ height clearance requirement. Our drawer boxes were 2 3/4″ tall and our hole in the cabinet is only 3″ high. So when you tried to put the drawer in, the drawer box hit the frame of the cabinet. Oops.

There were three options on what we could do to fix things.

Option A.)
Head back to Lee Valley and return our traditional drawer slides and buy the fully extending expensive slides. The reason we didn’t buy the fancypants full extending slides to begin with was that they were FOUR TIMES THE PRICE of the regular ones. If it was my kitchen and drawers that I would open and close several times a day, I would have went with the expensive ones. However, for a media cabinet that will maybe get used a few times a week, I was not ready to invest $120 in drawer slides when I could have something that worked for $30…. So I wasn’t too keen to this option.

Option B.)
Rebuild the drawer boxes shorter. This would mean essentially tossing out the drawer boxes we had made and making new smaller ones. A decent option, still cheaper than buying new slides, but it meant another trip to the lumber yard and a few hours work.

Option C.)
Cut the drawers down 3/8″ in height. This would involve no cost, but the potential for disaster was huge. (Our biggest worry was hitting a pocket hole screw with the saw blade, ouch.)

While we debated on what to do with the small drawers, we decided to build the large drawers (albeit to a shorter height than the plans said) to make sure that the drawer slides would in fact work. Cause I would be really pissed if I rebuilt the small drawers only to find that it still didnt work.

So we cut, sanded, drilled, clamped and screwed the big drawer boxes, and added drawer bottoms.


Assembling large drawer boxes
Assembling large drawer boxes

Then we gave a shot at installing the drawer slides. I was a wee bit worried at this point, and even watched a YouTube video on installing drawer slides. (Yep, that happened.) However it was one of those worry for nothing tasks. It was easy as pie to install. We had measured everything properly, the drawer slides fit in perfectly, and after a mere 20 minutes everything was installed correctly and moving without problems.

Bottom Drawers Installed
Bottom Drawers Installed
Holy crap, they actually work

The drawers still need their drawer fronts (which will cover up all the hardware and gaps etc.) But hey, it’s actually starting to look like a cabinet! Yay us!

So I bet you’re wondering what we decided to do with those small (but too tall) drawers?

Cutting the sides
Trimming the height of the drawer boxes.

We did just get a new table saw after all…


Author: Kristen

Kristen & her husband El Granto & their Vizsla Odin live in a converted Storefront in downtown Toronto.

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