You have heard it said: “life is like a box of chocolates” – you never know what you are going to get. This phrase comes from a novel published in 1987 and later turned into a movie called Forest Gump. Personally, I always thought it would be nice to look into a box of chocolate and know what was inside each piece of chocolate before I made my final selection. How many times do you pick the one that looks the tastiest and it turns out the have the least desirable inside? Wouldn’t it be nice if it were acceptable to put that piece back in its place and take your chances with a different piece? Don’t let anyone catch you doing that. Ha.
Once we purchase something, it becomes ours and we might be stuck with it. This can be true in cabinetry as well. Many cabinets look nice from the outside. This is why I tell people always look at what’s on the inside. With cabinetry; unlike chocolates in a box – you can look inside before you make your selection.
Last time we talked about drawer glides; today we will be talking about drawer boxes themselves. When you pull out drawers to look inside, look at the construction of the drawer box. In the old days drawer boxes were most often made of solid wood. If they were “home made” they might be plywood. You can tell if they are plywood as the top edges would be several different layers of wood laminated together. The least desirable drawer boxes I have seen are the particle board drawer boxes papered with a substance that is suppose to look like wood, and the edges are most often simply nailed together. These will fall apart at the first sign of trouble.
Next look at the way the wood sides are fastened together in the corners. The most stable way to hold the sides of drawers together is with a mortise and tenon joint. Mortise and tenon joinery has been considered one of the strongest joints between two pieces of wood coming together at 90 degrees for thousands of years.
Dove tail joinery is a form of mortise and tenon, and it is the most common used in good drawer box construction. These finger like joints between two pieces of wood enable a tight, strong, and long-lasting fit without any nails or screws.
Lastly, the bottom is best to be fully captured. This means the bottom of the drawer box is set into a groove cut in each of the four sides of the drawer box. This kind of bottom will not fall out. I have seen drawers only captured on 3 sides for ease of production, which means the fourth side is generally nailed on. This will not be as secure. So, when you are looking for cabinets be sure to look inside to see what you are getting. A drawer box of solid wood – with dovetail joinery and a fully captured bottom is the best way to build a drawer.
Remember – Designing your kitchen is not something you do often. So, have fun with it and get yourself someone who can share their expertise to build you the most amazing room in your house. Until next time, God bless.