One question I am often asked is “Should I use dovetail drawer boxes?” Let’s explore what a dovetail drawer box is and if it is worth the extra expense.
A dovetail drawer box is made using a dovetail joint, which is the strongest of all joints. The joint is made up of interlocking wedge-shaped parts called pins and tails that resist the forces applied to the joint. Dovetail joints are most helpful when used in a place that sees tension, such as a drawer box. Most of the time it is made with solid wood from ½”-3/4” thick. It can be made in most any species of wood.
If a cabinet or piece of furniture comes with dovetail drawer boxes as a standard, great! If not, it’s important to examine the type of drawer box being used and decide if it’s worth the cost to upgrade to a dovetail drawer box. Many cabinet manufacturers make a great and very strong plywood drawer box that is glued and nailed together. That’s our standard drawer box and I can’t tell you the last time we had one fail. Dovetail drawer boxes run about $20-$60 more per drawer depending on the material. That can be a significant cost adder especially since most kitchens are made up of all drawers these days.
More important than the drawer box, I believe, is the drawer slide. Are you getting a quality drawer slide that will last? Are the parts made out of metal or out of plastic? Are they full extension or soft close? How do they roll? Will you be happy opening and closing them multiple times a day? Drawer slides fail more often than the drawer box, so examine these closely.
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