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Thread: Cabinet and drawer sources?

  1. #1
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    Cabinet and drawer sources?

    My son wants to build a desk (he’s 14). We’ve got a lot of other projects going on, so this one won’t be built from scratch. Where can I find premade cabinets with drawer options? I haven’t shopped at the local big box stores yet but I think I would prefer something slightly more upscale and with a drawer layout different from standard kitchen fare. Any recommendations ?

  2. #2
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    A pair of 2 drawer filing cabinets with some wood panels attached to the sides are the perfect height for a wood desk top to sit upon. I made such a desk for my daughter many years ago and she is still using it. You can even face the drawers with wood if you want. No need for a privacy panel if it is going to be placed against a wall.
    Lee Schierer
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  3. #3
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    I will add a caution to Lee's comment about desktop height. Ideal desk height for writing on paper is different than for desks used primarily with a keyboard. In fact, a desk that's too high can cause serious wrist issues when keyboarding. Keep that in mind as you plan your project if it's a factor.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
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    Thanks Jim. This will definitely be a gaming/keyboard desk. I need to come back for advice with more specific questions.

  5. #5
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    I made a desk in which the top rests on a metal two-drawer filing cabinet. The top would have been too tall, so I modified the filing cabinet. I cut several inches off the bottom. That took off the bottom of the cabinet, so I inserted a piece of plywood to be the new bottom, and re-establish structural integrity.

  6. #6
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    I know this will be considered blasphemy, but for a temporary desk for a teenager, go to IKEA. You can't buy materials for what they charge for a complete desk. Build his lifetime desk when you have the time to make an heirloom.

  7. #7
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    If you cannot find what you want, then build two cabinets from furniture grade plywood with pocket hole screws (or similar such as screwed MDF with veneer). The problem with buying pre-built cabinets is that they almost always are counter height.

    For drawers, you can custom order from someplace like Drawer Depot (https://drawerdepot.com/). I see that this place also has a "design your own cabinets" in terns of size. I have never used them, but others here can probably recommend someplace that they have used. You could even use one of the "fast" methods for making drawers on say a table saw or similar. I usually use hand cut dovetails, and that takes a chunk of time.

    Will be interested in what you decide to do.

  8. #8
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    We both agree it isn’t worth putting too much effort (or good lumber) into this project. But I do want it to be a learning experience. So we decided today to use “shelves “ instead of drawers. We can buy some sort of container that can slide in 1 or 2 of them as needed. He’s working on dimensions, with a current desk as a starting point
    I haven’t decided if we’ll use MDF, plywood, or a mix. Leaning toward plywood. I have a Kreg jig so that will be used. Always happy to get suggestions. Thanks

  9. #9
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    How about adding your location to your profile.

    If you live in MA, no sense recommending a parts supplier in Cali for you. Shipping will kill you on carcass parts.

  10. #10
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    Tried unsuccessfully to add a photo. Imagine a plywood top , 7 ft long. Two MDF side supports (legs) and a third support that will create three mini shelves. So instead of the typical drawers or file cabinets, we’re going to just create “shelves “ and maybe add some plastic bins on one side.

    I’d love input on joinery. MDF to itself to create shelves, and MDF to the plywood top.

  11. #11
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    Chris — What you are describing loosely would be referred to as a single pedestal desk (i.e, a bank of drawers or shelves for you only one side). The potential issues you might have with a 7’ span are (1) sagging of the top and (2) the tendency for the whole thing to rack from side to side. You might want to think about adding aprons (front and rear) to support the top and a wide bottom stretcher that connects one side of the desk to the other to prevent racking.
    There is a very fine line between “hobby” and “mental illness.” - Dave Barry

  12. #12
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    Dave - good idea. I’m in central Va.

    Slight switch of topics. I’ve decided to build it completely. Plywood top, MDF sides, with an additional “side” which will have several shelves to function like drawers ( will use bins in each). In other words the left side of the desk will function like the idea of having a file cabinet support the desktop.
    What techniques would you use to attach a) top of MDF to bottom of plywood top and b) MDF shelves to the MDF sides (uprights)? I have a Kreg jig.
    Thanks

  13. #13
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    If the desk doesn't have to be all wood then look at the Seville line of products. Walmart and others sell them. I've built two of their 6 drawer wood top rolling cabinets and a work bench with pegboard back/LED light. Kit form and the tools needed to assemble are included. OBTW, my 7"x16" metal lathe sits on one of the roller cabinets and the lathe accessories, tools are in the drawers.
    Last edited by Donald G. Burns; 08-07-2020 at 4:26 PM.

  14. #14
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    My suggestion would be dado and groove construction over just screwing it together. MDF requires confirmat screws and still doesn't like to hold all that well (think of cheap furniture). You should be able to get by with some decent 7 ply 3/4" plywood, but would suggest adding and apron rail from and back, something like poplar would be strong yet better on the wallet. This is where a biscuit jointer really is nice to have if you don't have a table saw with a dado set.

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