Making Drawers Useful




Introduction: Making Drawers Useful

About: Just an old guy who likes to dabble in an eclectic mix of technologies and arts.

You may recall from my last Instructable ( or not, I ended by saying that I had obtained this homemade bedside chest free at a yard sale and incorporated it into my lathe bench but I didn't like that the drawers were so deep. I finally did something about it. Since the original used simple wood frame sliders I planned to simply cut each drawer in half (more or less), make new frames and get twice the drawers at a usable depth.

Step 1: A Few Words About Tools, Materials and SAFETY

This is a picture of the original frame.

For TOOLS, I used:

  • Table Saw - you could use a circular but it would be harder to control
  • Drill Press again, you could just use an electric drill
  • Tape Measure
  • Countersink Bit, Drill Bit
  • 12" Steel Ruler for a spacer


  • A few pine offcuts cut into 1/2" X 3/4" strips
  • A couple of pieces of 1/4 plywood for drawer bottoms
  • A little glue
  • A few 1 1/4" and 1 5/8" screws
  • 3/4" brads

For SAFETY I used:

  • Safety Glasses
  • Ear Protection
  • Best Practices - no loose clothing, wait until all motion ceases, THINK before you do anything!

Step 2: The Process

First I cut the drawers in approximately half, minus 1/2" for the new frame and 1/4" for the new bottom. Next I countersunk and drilled (for clearance) the strips for the new frame. I laid the metal ruler on top of the bottom half of the drawer to act as a spacer then screwed the new frame pieces in place. It was a fairly simple procedure - just kept moving the spacer around.

Finally, I cut the 1/4" plywood bottoms and fastened them to the top halves with brads and glue.

Step 3: A Better Mousetrap (or Chest of Drawers)

Luckily (or because I planned well) all the drawers fit and slide easily. I now have four drawers that I can use to put one layer of stuff into and easily find it when needed. I left the bottom drawer deep for some bigger stuff.

Maybe some day I'll make the finishes match......but probably not. I prefer function over form.

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    3 years ago

    Like someone said previously, I always stumble with unwanted furniture. Furniture that could be part of a good workbench. Great project! Thank you for sharing!


    5 years ago

    This is an awesome idea! Every week I find 2 or three dressers of various sizes in junk piles or in the free sections of craigslist and freecycler or laying around with a trash sticker on them. I always think to myself "It'd make decent storage in the shop/garage but the drawers are too deep to be useful."
    That all changes with this instructable.


    Reply 5 years ago

    With the tools I list, It's really a trivial task to cut the drawers, make and install the frames, and put a new bottom on the top half. I contemplated MANY different schemes before settling on this one - simplest and easiest. Thanks for your comment. I appreciate stimulating new thinking in folks.