One of the biggest problems with owning a small house is having lack of storage space. We’ve gotten pretty good at throwing out clutter and knickknacks, and optimizing the available space is continual process. Our guest bathroom is very cramped, just big enough to take care of, well, essential bathroom needs!
The space under a sink is always prime real estate for storage optimization. The problem with our vanity is that there is so little floor space in front, it is very difficult to position your body in such a way that is practical for reaching items stored in the rear.
This full extension drawer will help out enormously. The advantage is that we can pull it out and access it from the sides by reaching over the open cabinet doors. Even the stuff in the back!
Usually installing drawers and drawer slides is a stress causing task. The method I used for this is easy and will work with any cabinet you want to retrofit. The best part is that the slides for the drawer and the cabinet can be installed in the shop so you don’t have to work in an awkward, painful position under the sink.
Start by buying your drawer slides and making sure they fit. They don’t need to fit all the way to the rear of the cabinet. The front of it will typically line up with cabinet’s face frame. If you don’t have a face from on your cabinet, just inset the slides about 3/4″ (18mm) from the front of the cabinet. Also take note of the way the face frame extends in from the cabinet sides. This will vary from cabinet to cabinet. Obviously, the drawer slide has to be mounted inside the face frame, not against the cabinet side for it to open. I’ll make a spacer for this.
Making the drawer is simple. I cut the four side pieces on my table saw using 3/4″ (18mm) plywood. I made the front piece longer than the back. I’ll cover this in a moment.
Using the back piece of the drawer, I positioned it in the cabinet with the drawer slides in place. It shouldn’t fit tight. There should be about 1/8″ (3mm) play.
Using a stack of dado blades, I cut ledges (rabbets) along one edge of each board and notched the ends of the front and back
Here you can see how the raised part of the front and back pieces are the same size. Notice that the top board is longer…that’s the front.
I glued the four boards together. Those notched joints make assembly much easier and help to keep everything square. Again, notice the overhang on the front piece.
I cut the drawer bottom out of plywood and dropped it onto the ledges.
I cut the spacers for the inside of the cabinet out of a scrap 2×4 board. The drawer slide will mount flush against the front.
Once the cabinet members were attached to the spacers, I screwed the boards to my workbench with the drawer positioned between them. Make sure it’s not too tight.
I shimmed up the drawer about 1/8″ (3mm) so it won’t drag the floor of the cabinet.
The attached the slides to the drawer sides.
Finally, I dropped the unit into the cabinet and screwed the spacers to the floor of the cabinet.
Obviously, you will need to modify these to fit your cabinet, but these plans should help you visualize how the drawer fits together.