• Published on | Jul 03, 2012 | by Chris Osborn

Pull out bins

In the cabinet under my microwave I store all the plastic containers and every time I want to find a container the right size I have to dig around on my hands and knees, all the while having containers spilling all over on the floor. Then finding a matching lid is just as much work!

After my success of building the kitchen cabinet for the office, I decided it was finally time to make some pull out bins for home. I had been putting it off because I was worried about getting the dimensions right to fit the slides and all the work of making a traditional joint for drawer boxes. Using pocket screws to make the drawer boxes for the other cabinet actually worked out great and really simplified things.

I took measurements of the cabinet to see how large I could build my boxes. I opted to leave the shelf in place because it was attached with nails and glue and trying to get it out would have been way too hard. It is only half an inch thick and it wasn't going to cost me much space anyway.

Because I wasn't going to put a face on the drawers I added the scalloped top as a hand hold. I had considered taking the doors off the hinges and attaching them to the lower drawer, but the doors are thin and I didn't think I could get them secured very well. I also didn't like the idea of having to reach over a really high face to get into the lower drawer.

After cutting out and assembling the drawers I mounted the rails in the cabinet using some spacers to get the rails even with the face frame. I slid in the bottom drawer and it went in perfectly, just as if it had been built for it! Then when I went to slide in the top drawer, it didn't fit. Uh-oh, what did I do wrong?

Well, I'm sure you've heard the "measure twice, cut once" cliché. What they don't tell you is don't measure your opening at the part of the shelf that's warped! I mistakenly measured the clearance for the top drawer right in the center of the shelf, which has sagged considerably. This made the drawer way too tall to fit. Oops.

All was not lost though! I took some new measurements from the edge of the shelf near the face frame and figured out how much I would need to cut off the drawer. Because it was assembled with pocket screws I just took it apart and ran the sides through my table saw to trim off the top. Since the slides were mounted as an offset from the bottom, I didn't need to adjust anything else. The only other thing I had to fix was re-add the round over at the top, and that was fast and easy on my router table. Once the drawer was reassembled it went in just as easily as the bottom drawer had.

It's nice being able to pull the drawers out and rummage around and not have everything go all over the floor. The only real downside is that I lost about 5 inches of width because of the thickness of the wood and the slides and the gap from the spacers to get things lined up with the face frame. But it was definitely worth the loss of storage in order to see everything and find what I'm looking for.

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