How to Build a Basic Drawer – No Fancy Tools

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Need to build a drawer, but want to avoid fancy tools and joinery? Build a simple drawer with just a saw, drill, and kreg pocket hole jig.

How to Build a Basic Drawer

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Tools & Materials:


  • 3/4″ Plywood
  • 1  |   1 x 4 @ 6′
  • 1  |   1 x 6 @ 6′

*I used scrap pieces of lumber for this drawer. The list is just for reference and consists of the shortest lumber available in the appropriate dimensions. Adjust as necessary for your drawer size.


  • 2  |   1 x 4 @ 11″ (sides)
  • 1  |   1 x 4 @ 10″ (back)
  • 1  |   1 x 6 @ 13″ (face)
  • 1  |   Plywood @ 11″ x 10″ (bottom)

Step 1. Cut Boards to Length

Cut boards to length according to the cut list and sand until smooth.

How to Build a Basic Drawer

Step 2. Pocket Holes

Drill pocket holes in the bottom of the drawer base and the drawer back piece.

How to Build a Basic Drawer

I offset the pocket holes on the drawer back in order to minimize the total number of pocket holes. Two pocket holes is enough support for the drawer (in addition to wood glue), and the offset prevents twisting.

Step 3. Attach Back & Sides

Position the sides flush and square with the back of the drawer.

How to Build a Basic Drawer

Attach with 1 ¼” pocket hole screws and wood glue. Recheck the drawer for square.

Step 4. Attach Base

Position the base of the drawer flush with the sides and back and attach with 1 ¼” pocket hole screws and wood glue.

How to Build a Basic Drawer

I flipped the drawer on its side in order to attach the base. It was much easier to keep the drawer base flush and in place to drill the screws when it was on its side.

How to Build a Basic Drawer

Recheck the drawer for square.

Step 5. Attach Face

Place the drawer face face-down on your work station. Position the drawer on the drawer face and attach with 1 ¼” pocket holes and wood glue from the base and sides.

How to Build a Basic Drawer

I positioned the drawer face ½” beyond the bottom of the drawer. However, that can change depending on the opening for your drawer and the type of drawer pulls. It is best to situate the drawer in the drawer opening, position the face, mark it, and then attach.

How to Build a Basic Drawer

Step 6. Finish

Sand any remaining rough spots and finish as desired.


Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible!


How to Build a Drawer


How to Build a Basic Drawer

2 thoughts on “How to Build a Basic Drawer – No Fancy Tools

  1. I can build much better drawers with just a table saw (Standard carbibe blade even), and glue. Though I routinely use a stacked Dado set myself, and dovetail jig. This article claims “No fancy tools,” but the kreg jig is getting a bit fancy and some guys don’t even own a miter saw, much less one accurate enough to build a suitably square drawer. Perhaps we need a definition of what the author of the article considers “Fancy.” Considering the strength dados and dovetails offer, I would hardly consider them “Fancy.” More like “mandatory.”

    1. Thank you for the input, Roy. I wrote the tutorial for people who do not have a table saw or access to training for dados and/or dovetails. The Kreg pocket hole jig is an inexpensive alternative that many hobby/weekend-warrior woodworkers don’t mind purchasing (or already have on hand). I have also made drawers with dados and dovetails and, thought they do offer good strength, the pocket hole alternative is plenty strong and a good starting point for someone who isn’t quite ready to take on dados and dovetails. I haven’t had any trouble with any of the drawers I’ve made using the pocket hole method.

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