How to Build a Closet Organizer {Post 5} Drawer Fronts

By Pinktoesandpowertools | Progress Posts

Normally my mantra during a build is “Perfect is the enemy of done” because I tend to be a perfectionist about things.  Well this closet organizer is done and it sure isn’t perfect.  Had this been anywhere but a closet, the drawer fronts would have been redone.  But my new and improved mantra for this build was “It’s going into a closet for gosh sakes.”  I had to repeat that a lot…

I have had a difficult time in the past assembling framed doors and drawer fronts because you have to cut out a rabbet in the back of the frame to accept the middle piece of 1/4″ plywood.  The first time I built some drawer fronts I used 1/2″ plywood with 1/4″ hobby boards glued to the front because I didn’t know how to use a router to make the rabbet. The second time I made some framed doors, I did use a router but I couldn’t figure out how to make it work with the rails and stiles, so I used mitered corners.  This time I had read how Sandra does it at Sawdust and Paperscraps and decided to give it a go.

I used a router to rabbet out a 1/4″ on the entire edge of my 1×2 stiles and the whole length of the rails, but leaving 3/4″ on each end (if you cut it the entire way it leaves a gap on the outside of the drawer front).

Attached with pocket holes.  This did not go well because I used 1x2s and with 1/4″ rabbeted out (making it even narrower to put the pocket holes in) the screws split the wood on the sides because it was too close.

This didn’t happen when I made the pocket holes closer to the inside edge, but there just wasn’t a lot of real estate to work with to ensure it didn’t happen.  It was also difficult to keep these flat.  If I were to do these over, I would skip the pocket holes and just glue and nail them.  As it was, I just filled the crack with wood filler and sanded away when it dried.  These are not great fronts, but “It’s going into a closet for gosh sakes.”

I just watched a video by Ana White today where she assembles a shelf with pocket holes and she runs the drill really slow to put the pocket holes together.  I’m wondering if that would help with the buckling.

Anyway, then I cut out my 1/4″ plywood backs, glued them in, and weighted them down overnight.

Next day, drill a hole in the center of the drawer for the knob.  I use a paper template:

I attached these to the drawers using 16 gauge 2″ nails.


It is important that while you are nailing the front on, that the drawer is all the way down in it’s glide.  I hold it down (away from where I am nailing) to make sure that happens.

Since I only used 1x2s for the frame of the drawer, I don’t have anything to screw into from the back to hold these in place really well.  Good thing I am painting these–I screwed one screw on each side to hold them.  Filled with wood putty, dried, and sanded and then did it again to make sure it was really even (I had momentarily forgotten “It’s going into a closet for gosh sakes.”).

Prime and paint!

Read more about how to build a closet organizer with drawers:

How to Build a Closet Organizer {Post 1} The Plans

How to Build a Closet Organizer {Post 2} Shelf Pins

How to Build a Closet Organizer {Post 3} Building Drawers

How to Build a Closet Organizer {Post 4} Drawer Glides

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