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All about drawers

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A Drawer

Artist's illustration of a drawer box

A drawer is a box-shaped container that fits into a piece of furniture in such a way that it can be drawn out horizontally to reach its contents.


Drawers can be built in a variety of manners using a variety of materials. Wood and various wood composites, sheet metal, and plastic are common materials used for drawers and the furniture thereof.

Wooden drawers are often designed so that the front face is complete and the end grain from the side pieces does not show. The corners may be dovetailed for additional strength or of aesthetics, and a half-blind dovetail joint may be used for the front corners to hide the joint. To attach the bottom piece of the drawer, a groove may be cut in the four vertical pieces to insert the bottom of the drawer.


Most commonly, either one or two knobs, handles, or drawer pulls are attached to the front face of the drawer to facilitate pulling it out from its enclosure. In some cases, drawers may have another mechanism by which to pull it, including holes cut in the front face or a hollowed-out area to insert the fingers on the bottom side of the front face of the drawer.


Most older or inexpensive pieces of furniture and cabinets use wooden sliders, upon which the drawer slides as it is opened or closed. Wood slides can be lubricated with paraffin wax. Newer furniture and cabinets may use plastic friction slides, or more elaborate bearings slide, which will provide smoother operation with less binding. There are different types of bearing slides, such as linear ball-bearing slides, roller bearing slides, progressive action slides. Modern drawer slides are usually categorized in how they are mounted, including centre mount, side mount, bottom mount and European mount drawer slides. Drawer slides are intended for use varying from light to heavy drawers and thus contain load ratings ranging from 75–450 pounds (34–204 kg). A load rating of 100 pounds (45 kg) is considered typical.

Drawer slides often have a mechanism to keep the drawer from accidentally being pulled fully from its enclosure.


Some drawers incorporate a locking mechanism to secure the drawer. This is commonly found in filing cabinet and desk drawers.


Drawers are found in these types of furniture.

  • Chests of drawers, also called dressers or bureaus (US), for clothes
  • Tool chests have drawers used to store tools.
  • Under-counters In a Kitchen Used to store kitchen tools.
  • Filing cabinets
  • Desks can have drawers for storage.
  • Beds sometimes include drawers for storage.
  • Nightstands

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