material for generial drawers

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Established Member
6 Apr 2012
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After Christmas I intend to make my wife a craft room with a moveable storage centre.

I will be making the top out of Elm and hopefully elm (machined) edged plywood for the base units.

I want to make four dovetail drawer by hand But to help with cost what material should I use??
Deal drawer linings would probably be the most inexpensive.
If you want to stick to hardwood, oak is traditional, widely available and fairly easy to work. Or sweet chestnut - visually very similar to oak but lighter in weight.

When I made my little chest of drawers, I got all the sides and backs out of an old broken up dressing table. That could be a cheap option if you have time to look around for old unwanted but well made furniture.
Anything will do as long as it's wood and not mdf, ply etc.
Pine is fine. "Redwood" that is.
Tulip wood works well you need to select it for a nice hard bit, works easily and dovtails well it also polishes well.
tomthumbtom8":n4merex3 said:
I have alder would that be ok to use and should I mill it to 18mm??
Alder OK in principle - depends what you've actually got in terms of pieces of wood. Thickness entirely up to you and your design.
Alder is OK in principle. Some of it can be rubbish, though. I'd use pretty much anything you've got. The only thing I'd probably be a bit cautious of would be elm, which can move a bit much for drawers. If you have to buy wood, pine (redwood) is likely to be the most cost effective material.

18mm seems a bit chunky for drawers (other than the front), unless they're really big. I'd be trying to get down to around 12mm or less.

PS....if you edit your first post you can correct the typos in the title.
tomthumbtom8":2rcbcicz said:
I have alder would that be ok to use and should I mill it to 18mm??

As already said, unless it's for the fronts, 12mm or less would be better. If you aren't using PAR there's no need to use stock thickness. If you look at old furniture, 6 - 9mm was common, even on quite large drawer sides and backs.

A couple of years back I made a little bread bin out of alder and found it very pleasant to work with hand tools.

A decent quality, relatively knot free pine should be fine, say around 8-10mm thick, it's not crucial. I'd tend to look for slow grown pine with tightish growth rings, but if you want to be really clever you can get hold of normal slash sawn boards, plane them parallel on each face and then stack laminate them. Then using a bandsaw, re-saw the glued up pine block; It's fiddly and time consuming, but you end up with very stable, quarter sawn, pine boards - Rob
I have used regular flat sawn pine for drawer sides and have been surprised by how little movement there is over time, I'm talking about good quality redwood pine with tight growth rings.