Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Don't Be Afraid to Drop your Drawers

by John Tuthill
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

A major improvement you can make in the process of kitchen cabinet remodeling is to swap those old flimsy drawers with solid replacement drawers that can hold weight and slide easily in and out of your kitchen cabinets. Kitchen cabinet drawers can be constructed using several different methods with distinct advantages. Make sure to learn about your drawer options to optimize your kitchen cabinet remodeling project.

The Right Material for Your Drawers

Typically, wood kitchen cabinet drawers are constructed of either medium-density fiberboard, a synthetic wood product, or solid wood. Fiberboard drawers are less expensive than solid wood, but you will certainly sacrifice strength and quality. Well-crafted wood kitchen cabinet drawers will bear heavy loads, improve the appearance of your kitchen cabinets, and last longer than other options. 

Holding Those Drawers Together

Kitchen cabinet drawers are usually glued together with one of three joint systems: dovetail, mortise and tenon, or butt joints.

Dovetail joints are the strongest of the three, held together by a series of trapezoid-shaped pins that fix the edges of two boards together in an interlocking fashion. You can order dovetail joints of several designs for your wood kitchen cabinet drawers, and although you may pay slightly more, they will be extremely sturdy and durable.

The second type of joint is held together by a tenon, or peg extending from the edge of the board, and a mortise, the cavity in the adjacent edge that accepts and holds fast the tenon. This is an ancient and effective construction technique that is known for its simplicity and strength.

The final type of joint you may encounter when remodeling your kitchen cabinets is the butt joint. Unlike the previous two constructions, butt joints are simply glued together without the support of interconnecting pieces. If you do choose this option, consider reinforced butt joints for added strength and stability.

About the Author
John Tuthill is a cabinet maker and a regular FaceYourKitchen columnist. He lives in Missoula, Montana.

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