Stop droopy drawers

Drawer bottom falling down

Overfilling drawers can cause their bottoms to sag or even pop loose, as shown right, especially when the panel is a thin material, such as 1/4" plywood. Fortunately, you don't need to rebuild the drawer -- just make a quick fix. Here's how.

Fix #1: Support strips

Begin by popping the bottom panel back into its grooves. Then add a clamp or two to hold it securely. Measure the distance from the back of the drawer front to the back of the drawer, and cut scrapwood strips to length and 2-3" wide -- one for each end and two or three in the middle, spaced no more than 6" apart, as shown at right. Thickness-plane them to fit flush with the drawer sides and front so they won't catch. Glue and fasten the strips to the bottom panel, along the sides, and to the front and back with brads or screws.

Gluing coner
If the bottom seats in a groove in the drawer front, toenail the support strips with brads short enough so they won't pierce the front face.

Fix #2: Secondary bottom

If the bottom won't stay in the grooves, or if they're broken away and you need added strength and rigidity, reinforce the bottom panel with a plywood panel cut to fit perfectly between the drawer front, sides, and back, as shown right. Use the thickest plywood you can that won't protrude below the drawer's sides. With the original panel back in its grooves, glue the new panel to it and secure it on all four sides with screws.

Clamps on bottom of drawer
We attached this 1/2" plywood panel to the sides and back with #4x1" F.H. wood screws, and to the front with pocket screws.

Panel for bottom of drawer
To reduce the weight but retain the strength, cut out sections from the middle of the plywood panel and attach with glue and screws

Drawer bottom falling down
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