DIY Shaker Cabinet Drawers


In 1774, nine members of the religious sect known as the Shakers moved to North America from England. With them, they brought their distinct furniture construction style. Shaker style utilizes clean lines, minimalistic design and hardwoods. Constructing cabinet drawers in the Shaker style can be intimidating for a novice woodworker. However, by using a basic drawer construction and adding a Shaker-style drawer facade, you can create your own Shaker drawers in a weekend.

Things You'll Need

  • 30-by-11-by-1/2-inch hardwood
  • 30-by-6-by-1/2-inch hardwood (2 pieces)
  • 11-by-6-by-1/2-inch hardwood
  • 13-by-8-by-1 inch hardwood
  • Circular saw
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Router
  • Wood glue
  • Finishing nails
  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • 1/4-inch drill bit
  • 2-inch screw
  • Wooden drawer pull
  • Use a circular saw to cut the wood for the drawer. For each drawer you need one piece of 30-by-11-by-1/2-inch wood for the bottom of the drawer, two 30-by-6-by-1/2-inch pieces for the side, one 11-by-6-by-1/2-inch piece for the back and one 13-by-8-by-1 inch piece for the front. Use hardwood, such as cherry or oak. Sand down all cut edges with medium-grit sandpaper.

  • Cut a groove down three sides of the bottom piece with a router. Make the grooves 1/4-inch deep and 1/2-inch wide. Place the grooves on the edge of both 30-inch sides and along one of the 11-inch sides.

  • Use the router to cut three 1/2-inch wide and 1/2-inch deep grooves into the backside of the drawer front. Place the first groove across the width of the drawer, starting and ending 1 inch from either side and 1 inch up from the bottom of the wood. Place the second and third grooves perpendicular to the first groove. Position the second and third grooves on either end of the first groove, 1 inch in from either side, starting 1 inch from the top of the drawer and ending 1 inch from the bottom of the drawer.

  • Apply wood glue down the three grooves cut along the bottom of the drawer. Rest the sidepieces in the 30-inch grooves and the back piece in the shorter groove. Rest the ends of the sidepieces against the side of the back piece. Apply wood glue to the edges of the side and back pieces where they touch. Hammer finishing nails through the back piece into the ends of the sidepieces. Also, nail finishing nails through the bottom piece into the edges of the back and sidepieces. Drive one nail in every 4 inches. Have someone hold the pieces in place as you secure them together.

  • Add wood glue to the grooves cut into the front piece. Slide the bottom and sidepieces into the grooves. Wait for the glue to dry for 24 hours before continuing.

  • Drill a 1/4-inch pilot hole through the center of the front piece of the drawer. Drill through the front of the drawer through to the back. Insert a 2-inch screw through the back of the drawer front. Twist a wooden drawer pull onto the end of the screw to finish the drawer.

Tips & Warnings

  • In this example, the final drawer measures 30-by-11-by-6 inches. Adjust your measurements accordingly to your cabinet. Repeat the entire process to create as many drawers as you need.
  • If desired, attach a drawer runner to the bottom center of the drawer from back to front.
  • Paint or stain the drawers, as desired, prior to construction.

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