Drawers first/carcase second? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-23-2015, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
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Default Drawers first/carcase second?

When making cabinets, I have always made the drawers after making the carcase/box.
I have some nice big sturdy drawers that I'd like to use in my shop, but would need to make the carcase to fit around them. I could make open frames, or regular boxes with or without face frames.

Has anyone done this? What kind of carcase box did you make and how did you get it to fit the drawers precisely enough so the drawer slides work well? Any tricks? I was taught that this is a no, no, but that might be wrong. I could also use wooden slides, though I've never made them. I'm not making fine furniture, this is for a shop, so maybe the standards are different. Though of course, I'd love to make furniture grade shop furniture sometime.

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-23-2015, 06:37 PM
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I think you could build your cabinet using face frames. Work backwards from the drawer width and add the thickness of the drawer slides (1 1/6th inch for full extension side mount). Maybe even add a smidgeon more so you can shim them if needed. Much easier to shim than to have the opening too small.

With that said, all would not be lost if you build the face frame using pocket hole construction. If the opening is too small, you could take the face frame apart and replace the rails with slightly longer ones to widen the opening.

Sorry if I just added to the confusion, but I think it could be done.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-23-2015, 07:23 PM
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I wouldn't hesitate to build a face frame to fit existing drawers. If you stay away from side mount slides, the tolerances are pretty generous. But even with side mounts, you can easily get to within the 1/32 or so tolerance required. My advice is to buy the drawer slides before you start building. Then you'll know exactly what your final dimensions need to be.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-24-2015, 07:37 AM
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piece of cake. just make your openings 1 1/16 larger than your drawers and minimum 3/4" larger in height. this is for standard or full extension side guides.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-24-2015, 07:47 AM
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Default Carcase after the drawers

Have a look at woodgears, making the 7-drawer dresser frame. Mathew Wandel makes the drawers first and then the carcase for them. (sorry I can't post the link, not enough posts)
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-24-2015, 10:28 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the great replies. Mike MT, Andy, and Mike, I will likely build some face frame cabinets for some of the drawers I have since I have some extra drawers that match my cabinets. I am familiar with face frame construction and have mostly used pocket holes (and a domino that is not my own).

Spayne, welcome to routerforums! I did find the woodgears page and some related projects on that site using wood runners. Here are the links I found in case anyone else is interested. Woodgears is a great site!
Building a basement storage solution
Building a chest of drawers
Building a dresser
Workbench drawers
Shelf with drawers
Ryan Koltan's workbench

I like the idea of wood runners for this project because they cut down on the cost of the furniture and also I think are more forgiving of variations than the metal ones. Experimenting with wood runners is on my list, since they can be made more cheaply, especially since I have some salvage hardwood flooring that is hardwood and would work well, I think.

This is fourth on my list and won't happen for a while, but I wanted to start collecting stuff to make them I work a lot with salvaged materials so I start looking around for things when something is on my list. I'll post when it's done. I'm not quick at this due to limited shop equipment and skill level, but I do plan to do it in the future. I love how easy the shop storage stuff is and some nice innovations.
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