I am looking to make a "side access" pull-out 'drawer' to replace very high cabinet shelves (two shelves so high they are currently nigh-unusable). It's full depth (22.5"), only 15" wide, and the drawer is going to fill a 14" height gap to hold tall things like upright cereal boxes, spaghetti holders, etc.

I've measured that I can just comfortably reach into the bottom of the 'drawer' when it's pulled out to nab said boxes. It has a high side that will be against the open cabinet door to prevent the tall things from falling out that side, and a high "back" to prevent things from tipping off when it is pulled out.

I'm thinking pocket screws are the way to go. I'm a competent beginner but only have a rudimentary set of tools/budget. It's a variant of a simple drawer box, but most drawer boxes I see have the front/back joined to the sides (which the drawer slides are attached to). However for my design it would work better (and prettier) for the box construction to go the other way around - the pocket holes in the sides. Will that interfere with the drawer slides somehow?

This is the current idea - the curved part on the left in this picture is actually the front that will have a handle to pull on. The low side is just tall enough to accommodate a full extension slide, I just wasn't sure if the pocket screws (on the inside) would somehow weaken that side?

SketchUp snapshot

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    I'm not really a fan of modern pocket screws, but that said you can use them any time and anywhere you feel is appropriate. Obviously they have a good/less good orientation but where the application isn't a high-stress one, expected to withstand significant load (especially frequently) you can get away with using them any way you like. Remember some simple boxes are just joined together with a glue and a few brads shot in from outside!
    – Graphus
    Oct 9, 2020 at 9:15
  • @Graphus Thanks for the tip! Yeah this won't be a high-stress environment by any means. You gave me the idea though to just use brads and glue for that short side. Thanks!
    – Ajean
    Oct 9, 2020 at 16:59
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    Pocket screws will be much, much stronger than brads. Glue helps, but a screw in each end of that low side would be better.
    – Caleb
    Oct 9, 2020 at 17:31
  • I wasn't trying to suggest you shouldn't use your pocket-hole jig — once you own something it makes sense to use it :-) Just giving an example of how a known-to-be-weaker option has been and continues to be used by some users for some applications. However, if you did want to use glue and brads then by all means do so, but some tips: don't skimp on brads, dovetail them in (alternate angles, don't drive in at 90° to the surface) and refresh the surfaces to be glued with light sanding prior to glue application.
    – Graphus
    Oct 9, 2020 at 19:02
  • Indeed ... still going to use pocket screws for most of it, I was just thinking of using a couple brads for the ends of that short side since the bottom will still be pocket-screwed into it along the long edge (instead of being brad-nailed on from below). Thanks for the dovetailing tip, every little bit that I learn is useful!
    – Ajean
    Oct 9, 2020 at 20:29

1 Answer 1


I see the ovals on the bottom - I presume these represent the holes from the pocket screw jig to allow it to attach to the back. I presume that there will be similar holes in the bottom going into the short side closest to us, and the tall side further away?

So long as the pocket-screw locations don't interfere with the drawer slide mounting screw locations, you shouldn't have any issues. I'd suggest that you'll want to leave at least 1" of solid wood between screw locations as the default spacing for the jig I've got has the holes about that far apart (from memory).

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    Yes, those ovals represent the pocket holes (I didn't draw them everywhere they would go in the model, just to remind myself what side they'd be on). Thanks for the tip on the spacing! Glad my design isn't super crazy...
    – Ajean
    Oct 9, 2020 at 16:56

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