Kitchen Cabinet Drawers: Find Out How They Are Built

Kitchen Cabinet Drawer

Kitchen cabinet drawers vary in quality from nearly bomb proof to downright shameful. Here’s the skinny on kitchen cabinet drawer construction…  

Let’s start with kitchen cabinet drawer fronts. These can be a hunk of wood with milled edges, or several pieces of wood (such as a five piece cabinet drawer front that matches a corresponding kitchen cabinet door style, be it shaker, square raised, or what have you) The multi piece drawer front is usually more expensive, but in my eyes they’re of equal quality. Multi-piece kitchen cabinet drawer fronts might be better for something like a glaze (more nooks and crannies for the glazing to settle in before it gets wiped off) but then you’ve got to worry about the pieces shrinking and having gaps. Whatever toots your horn.

butt joint cabinet drawer construction: image by

Kitchen cabinet drawer boxes are usually made in one of two ways. The cheapest, and standard in most lower end cabinet lines, is the butt joint type. They’re the easiest to make (and cheapest) but not the most durable. Shown here is a butt joint that’s being nailed. There is (should) also glue applied to the wood surfaces that will meet. Some other fasteners used are screws, dowels, and staples. The most popular is dovetail.



Dovetail Cabinet Drawer Joint

You can see here in the picture how two pieces of a kitchen cabinet drawer box are going together. Yes, these are a pain to make, but in the end the joint is more durable than a regular butt joint. Glue is stronger than wood, and with a dovetail joint, there is WAY more surface area for glue to stick to, hence the stronger joint. You can make some pretty big kitchen cabinet drawers using this method, and it’s what most of the higher end cabinet manufacturers use as a standard. It’s what you should aim for when buying cabinets.  


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