I know this topic has been discussed a lot but I couldn’t find a clear answer to my question. Or I am lost in too much content without clarity on my particular question. I am building kitchen drawers from 1/2’’ white oak (flat sawn) with 1/4’’ plywood/MDF bottom (MDF would be surfaced with linoleum). The largest drawer is 30 5/8’’ wide, 18’’ deep and 4 1/2’’ high with Blum undermount drawer slides. Construction uses dominos for joinery and 1/4’’ deep groove for the bottom offset by 1/2'' (1/2 is required by Blum).

How should I account for wood movement in this construction with hardwood sides and plywood/MDF bottoms? I am in New England, hot and humid summer. That means the drawer sides should shrink in the winter. Does that mean I should use a 1/4’’ deep groove and undersize the plywood/MDF bottom by 1/8 so that there is space for the sides to shrink? Do I glue the bottom or not?

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    Wood movement is essentially irrelevant with both plywood and MDF. So there's really no need to account for any change in dimension — if you watch many pros on YouTube sliding their drawer bottoms into place you'll see that in many cases (most?) the drawer bottoms are a very snug fit left to right. "That means the drawer sides should shrink in the winter. " Movement in solid wood is nearly exclusively across the width, not in length or thickness. You don't have to account for any movement here. Even the expected change in width in the drawer sides... [contd]
    – Graphus
    Aug 12, 2020 at 18:45
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    is pretty minimal due to their narrowness, same as with the front. Remember that movement is a percentage, i.e. relative to starting width. So narrow boards expand and contract so little that often their movement can be (and is) ignored. Now that said, how tight a fit is the 18" drawer in its opening? That's getting to be wide enough that you do have to account for expansion and contraction. It would be beneficial to use QS wood here if cost is not prohibitive, both for lesser movement (roughly half) and for greater stability.
    – Graphus
    Aug 12, 2020 at 18:48
  • "(MDF would be surfaced with linoleum)." Did you mean vinyl here instead of linoleum??
    – Graphus
    Aug 12, 2020 at 18:51
  • Thanks @Graphus. My concern was about movement in the sides and back, not the MDF/plywood bottom (which of course is stable). But your point that the movement is mainly across the width not length of hardwood pretty much answers my question. Submit it as an answer and I can accept it. On MDF: I do mean linoleum, namely Forbo Furniture Linoleum (forbo.com/flooring/en-us/products/marmoleum/furniture-linoleum/…) Aug 12, 2020 at 19:37
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    What @graphus said about wood movement, but I wanted to thank you for bringing that 'furniture' thickness marmoleum to my attention. I didn't know it existed. Aug 15, 2020 at 0:07


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