Introduction: 4-Drawer Storage Unit

About: Easy and affordable DIY projects and ideas.

I need a 4-drawer pedestal for my office, so what better time to try out a new and very easy method for installing drawer runners. Starting from scratch I will show you how to build a 4-drawer storage unit or pedestal and also a very quick and easy way to fit drawer runners.

Apart from the laminated pine, all the other pieces were cut to size from offcuts left over from previous projects, so please excuse the fact that they might not look exactly like those specified in the cutting list below!


2 of 455 x 700mm laminated pine - sides
2 of 400 x 455mm laminated pine - top / base
8 of 69mm PAR pine cut to 399mm - frame supports
4 of 170 x 435mm laminated pine - drawer fronts
1 of 20mm dowel 1800 long - top surround and cut to fit (my dowel is 25mm dia)
16mm screws
40mm screws
Pattex No More Nails adhesive -Gorilla or wood glue
Acrylic sealer
Wood filler
Woodoc gel stain - I used antique oak
Sponges or lint-free cloths
Mitre saw or mitre box and backsaw
Drill / Driver plus assorted bits
Pockethole jig - or substitute with angle brackets
Orbital sander plus 120- and 240-grit sanding pads
Tape measure and pencil
Steel rule or carpenter's square

Step 1: Assemble the Frame

NOTE: I am using my Kreg pockethole jig to assemble the cabinet. This method allows you to make furniture without any visible screw holes but you can substitute with dowels, biscuits or brackets for the same result.

1. Use the pockethole jig to drill holes in all the frame supports, as well as the base.

2. Place one of the sides on a flat, level surface and secure 2 top supports onto the side with 40mm screws. Make sure the support is flush with the top and side edges.

3. Each drawer opening is 150mm high. Use a tape measure and pencil to measure and mark at 150mm down from the top support and at 170mm down for the thickness of the pine support. Repeat this for the remaining openings.

If your pine is not 20mm thick - allow for the thickness of the pine you will be using. If your pine is slightly thinner of thicker you can allow for this at the base of the unit by making the bottom drawer smaller or larger, as required.

4. Now you can continue to add all the remaining supports on the drawn marks.

5. Place the other side on your worktop. Transfer the measurements for the supports onto the other side and place the frame with the mounted supports on top of this. Secure with screws on the drawn lines, making sure everything lines up.

6. Attach the base in the same way.

Step 2: Attach the Top

7. Screw the top in place, allowing a gap at the sides and back for mounting the dowel surround. If you prefer to leave this off you can have the top cut to fit, or larger if you want an overhang at the sides and front. Secure with 40mm screws through the support and into the underside of the top.

8. Cut 2 dowels for the sides, each with a 45-degree angle to form the frame. My dowels are 25mm diameter and are too large, but if you use 20mm diameter dowels the corners should be perfect. Cut the back dowel last, so that you can adjust the length to fit.

9. Glue the dowels onto the frame of the cabinet using Pattex No More Nails adhesive and leave this to set for a couple of hours.

10. I also used Pattex No More Nails adhesive (or acrylic sealer) to fill in the gap around the edge of the dowel frame and top, and wood filler at the dowel corners.

You now have a basic frame for your drawer unit. Although I stained my cabinet later on, it is easier to do it now before you continue.

Step 3: Fitting Drawer Runners

We have completed the frame for our drawer unit, now we install the drawer runners, make and fit the drawers and finish off the drawer unit. I have only applied stain at this stage and still want to do a dry brushing technique with white paint to finish off, and which I will post later.


4 sets of 450mm drawer runners
8 of 135 x 450mm - drawer sides
4 of 135 x 343mm - drawer backs - if using 16mm supawood/MDF
- 4 of 135 x 351mm - drawer backs - if using 12mm supawood/MDF
- 4 of 135 x cut to length if using pine*

4 of 340 x 430mm chipboard - base - if using 16mm supawood/MDF
- 4 of 344 x 434mm chipboard - base - if using 12mm supawood/MDF
- 4 of 3mm hardboard or masonite cut to size - if using masonite

40mm screws
8 plastic brackets and 12 or 16mm screws

*Pine comes in thicknesses ranging from 18mm to 20mm. You will need to cut sections depending on the thickness of the pine you obtain.

1. Use a steel rule or carpenters square to draw a line (front to back) for all the drawers. You need to draw a line on both side sections.

2. Remove the front slide from the drawer runner by extending the drawer runner to full length and lifting up the plastic clip. You will find more details below or you can click here. Put the front runner aside for now.

3. Place the drawer runner against the sides of the cabinet and align so that the mounting holes are positioned on the drawn line. You want to screw to the side of the cabinet with the screws perfectly centred along the length of your drawn line. I found it easier to mount the front first, then the back, and finish off in the centre.

4. Push the front runner all the way back into the assembly.

NOTE: You will notice that there isn't a complete drawer and I did this for a reason. You can use any material to make your drawers, be it 12mm supawood or 20mm pine.I used 16mm supawood since I had plenty of offcuts, but this is too thick and heavy for drawers. So I am mounting the sides first. Once the sides are in place you can measure the distance between the two drawer sides to have your back and base cut to the exact size you need for the material you are using.

5. Use a spacer to lift up the drawer assemble (or drawer sides in my case). This will ensure your drawers slide smoothly in and out. Pull out the top of the drawer runner and secure with a screw. Repeat this for the other side.

6. As you extend the runner and the drawer side you can secure with screws.

7. The drawer runner assembly will not allow you to secure with screws at the back, so you will need to remove the front runner. Now you can see the plastic clip that holds the top runner in place. Click this up to slide the front runner - attached to the drawer side - full out.

8. With the drawer side remove (or complete drawer) you can now add screws to the back end and then slide back into the main drawer runner assembly.

Step 4: Making Drawers

9. As I previously, I only attached the drawer sides. Now I need to complete my drawers. While the drawers are still in the frame and attached to the drawer runners, use a tape measure to measure the distance between the sides. In my case this is 343mm for 16mm supawood sides. The base is 343 x 434mm and is placed and secured along the bottom edge of the sides and back.

10. Again, because I am using offcuts and leftovers, the base is made of 16mm chipboard. You can use any board for your base. However, If you want to staple or pin hardboard or masonite underneath the drawer use a 6mm spacer to lift up the drawer when mounting onto the drawer runners.

It is always better to leave the drawer fronts until last, so that you can align and position perfectly onto the front.

11. Everything needs to be sanded. First use 120-grit on rough edges and then smooth with 240-grit.

12. Apply your wood stain, gel stain or varnish to the drawer fronts before assembly and stain the cabinet. Remember at the end of the frame assembly I mentioned you should do the staining before inserting the drawer runners, but if you didn't you can stain the frame now.

Step 5: Attach Drawer Fronts and Finish

13. To attach the drawer fronts the unit will be placed on its back. To raise the drawers slightly I placed some board at the back of the drawers to push them out.

14. With the drawers slightly raised it is easier to apply the adhesive and mount the drawer fronts. I am using adhesive first and will then add brackets after about an hour. The drawers are completely aligned and flush, with a 3mm gap between each drawer front.

After placing the drawer fronts pop a couple of bricks on each end to make sure the front is pressed down onto the drawer. If you don't have bricks, anything heavy will suffice.

15. After an hour or so you can lift up the drawer unit, carefully pull out the individual drawers, and mount brackets onto the inside to make sure the drawer front is firmly secured to the drawer. The plastic brackets have pop on tops that hide the screws. I like this system because there are no visible screws anywhere on the drawer unit, which is nice if you want to stain and varnish your new piece of furniture.

I used gel stain in antique oak on the drawer unit, but still want to apply a dry brushing technique using white paint. I will add this to the post once finished.

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