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Hi all

I'm building a toolchest with drawers on side-mounted hardwood runners (i.e. there will be grooves in the drawer sides that fit over the runners). I'm trying to get clear in my head the best way to tackle this so everything fits nicely. The drawers are all different heights.

The simplest option seems to be: assemble the carcass, put the drawers in, position them so the gaps between them are all even, mark for the runners and then screw the runners into the sides of the case (slotted hole at the back).

My worry with that is how strong and durable it will be with just screws holding the runners. As it's a tool chest the drawers could get reasonably heavy. For strength I'd prefer to dado the runners into the cabinet sides. That means routing the dados before assembling the cabinet. But then when I make the drawers, it seems like I won't have the same scope for adjustment, and if the drawers end up even slightly different sizes to what I planned it'll show badly in uneven gaps.

3rd option I can think of is to make the drawers first, then use them to mark the positions for the runner dados on the un-assembled cabinet sides. But that seems a bit of a wrong way round to do it, and I wonder if I'd be creating some other assembly/fitting problem for myself later. The TV woodworkers invariably make the cabinet first and fit the drawers to it.

So how would you approach this? Would you just fix the runners with screws or dado them in, and if the latter, what would be your order of assembly?
 
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