How to Build a Cabinet With a Pull-Out Drawer


Pull-out drawers distinguish themselves from typical drawers in that they extend completely out of a cabinet. Typical drawers pull out only about two-thirds, while pull-out drawers come completely out and then go back in again. They key is in the drawer guides and construction of the cabinet.


  • Box construction is the foundation of cabinetmaking. Essentially, cabinets are nothing more than wood boxes. The exposed sides of the box are hardwood plywood. Most cabinets have face-frame construction, but to keep it simple, build a frameless cabinet for convenience and affordability. Start by cutting four pieces of hardwood plywood 22 inches wide, across the grain, for a base cabinet. Cut the pieces to your desired length and miter all four edges at 45 degrees. Apply glue to the mitered corners and stand all four pieces on their edges. Wrap the plywood box with four strap clamps and tighten. Nylon strap clamps apply equal pressure to all four corners at the same time. Shoot 1-1/4-inch pin nails from both directions through all four corners. Allow the glue to dry overnight and remove the clamps. This is the basic box of a frameless cabinet.

Door and Drawer

  • Plan the drawer depth according to how tall your box is. A drawer at the top of the box -- which is common -- is typically no taller than about 6 inches, but you can make it 10 or 12 inches if desired. There will be an open space at the bottom for doors below the drawer. Build the drawer box 3/16 inch smaller than the width of the box, and 3/4 inch shorter than the box on the inside. Cut the drawer front 3/4 inch bigger than the box on four sides. That way, the drawer front overlaps the edges of the cabinet to cover them when the drawer is inside the cabinet. Center and screw the drawer front to the front of the box from the inside of the box. Subtract the height of the drawer front from the height of the box and cut two doors using 3/4-inch hardwood plywood to fit below the drawer. Cut them 3/4 inch bigger than the cabinet frame opening on all four sides to cover the edges of the box. Sand everything smooth with 100-grit sandpaper and add stain and varnish, or paint as desired. Use European-style, or what is more commonly known as concealed hinges to hang the doors.

Side-Mount Guides

  • Use side-mount guides, sometimes called "slides," on frameless cabinets. This type of guide installs directly to the sides of the cabinet and the drawer. These guides will support up to 75 pounds, which is far more than bottom-mount guides which typically support only 25 pounds or less. Sometimes referred to as full-extension guides, side-mount guides are the best type for pull-out drawers because they allow the drawer to extend all the way out of the cabinet, as opposed to bottom-mount guides which pull only partially out of the cabinet. There is one pair of guides for the cabinet, and one pair of guides for the drawer. Install them using the screws provided with the kit and a drill/driver of your choice.


  • Remove the guides from the package. Select one guide marked, "DL." Screw it centered on the left side of the drawer. Screw the guide marked, "DR" to the right side of the drawer. The guide marked "CL," screws to the left side of the cabinet, and the guide marked "CR" screws to the right side of the cabinet. The back of the drawer guide has nylon or ball bearing runners that fit inside the cabinet guides. Fit the guides together and slide the drawer back into the cabinet. There are two levers on each side that prevent the drawer from being removed from the cabinet accidentally. Release the drawer and remove it from the cabinet by pushing down on the levers while pulling the drawer out until it clicks and then remove the drawer from the cabinet.

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