Author Topic: Frameless Cabinets - Stretchers Between Drawers?  (Read 1852 times)

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Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 824
Frameless Cabinets - Stretchers Between Drawers?
« on: December 02, 2020, 11:39 AM »
For those of you who build frameless cabinets, how many of you add horizontal stretchers between the drawers?  I'm building some shop cabinets, added them to the first cabinet which is still WIP, and wondering whether it's worth adding them to the rest of the cabinets or if it's a waste of resources in addition to locking me into predefined heights which cannot be changed later on ...

Besides this, I'd intended to have a wide top drawer for longer rules/fences etc. but discovered the top started to sag so I'm converting to 6 drawers instead.  That said, my middle partition is to short and I'm wondering if I should break down another sheet in order to get a full partition or use some vertical stretchers front/back ... I'm not sure if this is enough support for the cabinet and drawer slides with only 2-4  mounting points depending on their widths?

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Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 5290
Re: Frameless Cabinets - Stretchers Between Drawers?
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2020, 12:21 PM »
I don’t/wouldn’t use frames. More work and an opportunity for stuff in the drawer to get askew and prevent the drawer from opening.

You could add a vertical panel to the upper opening to support the top.

You should move the casters out to support the sides of the cabinet.
The sides carry the slides which carry the drawers which carry the weight of the contents.
As is the bottom panel of the cabinet is carrying all the weight and appears to already be bending to the point that the lower drawers are binding.

If your floor is flat it might be good to add casters under the middle. Otherwise add a strong piece of wood or steel angle to support the middle.

Offline acer66

  • Posts: 64
Re: Frameless Cabinets - Stretchers Between Drawers?
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2020, 02:30 PM »
Stretcher might help to keep the dust out if there is a lot of dust.
Stretchers could be hold in place with pocket screws  [eek] w/o glue so they can be moved.

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 824
Re: Frameless Cabinets - Stretchers Between Drawers?
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2020, 02:42 PM »
I don’t/wouldn’t use frames. More work and an opportunity for stuff in the drawer to get askew and prevent the drawer from opening.

You could add a vertical panel to the upper opening to support the top.

You should move the casters out to support the sides of the cabinet.
The sides carry the slides which carry the drawers which carry the weight of the contents.
As is the bottom panel of the cabinet is carrying all the weight and appears to already be bending to the point that the lower drawers are binding.

If your floor is flat it might be good to add casters under the middle. Otherwise add a strong piece of wood or steel angle to support the middle.

I'm probably removing the casters but I'm not sure I understand why you'd feel moving the casters to the exterior would be better.  I moved them in 8" from the edge because the load in the center is not dispersed to the exterior and instead is supported by the bottom which will surely have some sag.  By moving the casters in 8" I've reduced the span in the center by 8-12" thus reducing the central sag and only left the exteriors with an overhang of 7" which should have very minimal sag.

P.S. The drawers are not yet mounted to slides and are just set in there as I pull each out and glue them up.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2020, 02:56 PM by Bugsysiegals »

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 824
Re: Frameless Cabinets - Stretchers Between Drawers?
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2020, 02:45 PM »
Stretcher might help to keep the dust out if there is a lot of dust.
Stretchers could be hold in place with pocket screws  [eek] w/o glue so they can be moved.

Good point about the dust, this is a wood shop afterall! :)  I'd originally made this cabinet with Domino's but it because a nightmare to try and assemble in pre-defined order within the open time for TB II.  I could've switched to another glue but figured I'd just use pocket holes since it would make things much easier for me.  I then found out the importance of clamping before driving the pocket holes as they really pull the material all over.  I'll likely build the rest with pocket holes also so this will work, thanks!

Offline Packard

  • Posts: 642
Re: Frameless Cabinets - Stretchers Between Drawers?
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2021, 08:33 AM »
I did not use stretchers between drawers on my shop cabinets.  I left a lot of air between drawers so a precise fit for appeance purposes was not an issue.

I am building a vanity that will have drawers.  I will include stretchers there as I like at least 1/4" space between drawer fronts.

I was at my doctor's office the other day and the examination room had euro-cabinets.  No stretchers.  Narrow drawers.  Maybe 1/8" space between slab drawer fronts.  A tight spacing needed to avoid seeing into the empty space beyond the drawer fronts.

Offline Rick Herrick

  • Posts: 561
Re: Frameless Cabinets - Stretchers Between Drawers?
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2021, 09:49 AM »
I then found out the importance of clamping before driving the pocket holes as they really pull the material all over.  I'll likely build the rest with pocket holes also so this will work, thanks!

I have a love/hate relationship with pocket holes and that is the only 'hate'.  Once I got the domino I now but a domino on each end of the panel, with pocket holes the rest of the way.  The dominos hold the panel where I want it while I drive the screws. 

Offline mino

  • Posts: 533
Re: Frameless Cabinets - Stretchers Between Drawers?
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2021, 11:04 AM »
For small cabinets like these, there is usually no need as the upper drawer can be made to dust-close the drawer below it.

They make sense if you expect VERY heavy load in the drawers - like 100 lb/drawer or more - to avoid the sides to bend/buckle under the load.

But if you you add them, for whatever reasons, make sure they are full-depth like e normal shelf. So stuff in drawer cannot catch the stretcher.

The picture shows the worst scenario - stuff will be catching the stretcher or you will have to think about placing stuff in the drawer properly all the time.
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Offline JD2720

  • Posts: 1229
Re: Frameless Cabinets - Stretchers Between Drawers?
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2021, 11:21 AM »
I don’t/wouldn’t use frames. More work and an opportunity for stuff in the drawer to get askew and prevent the drawer from opening.

You could add a vertical panel to the upper opening to support the top.

You should move the casters out to support the sides of the cabinet.
The sides carry the slides which carry the drawers which carry the weight of the contents.
As is the bottom panel of the cabinet is carrying all the weight and appears to already be bending to the point that the lower drawers are binding.

If your floor is flat it might be good to add casters under the middle. Otherwise add a strong piece of wood or steel angle to support the middle.

I'm probably removing the casters but I'm not sure I understand why you'd feel moving the casters to the exterior would be better.  I moved them in 8" from the edge because the load in the center is not dispersed to the exterior and instead is supported by the bottom which will surely have some sag.  By moving the casters in 8" I've reduced the span in the center by 8-12" thus reducing the central sag and only left the exteriors with an overhang of 7" which should have very minimal sag.

P.S. The drawers are not yet mounted to slides and are just set in there as I pull each out and glue them up.

On this cabinet, the back & partition & drawer stretchers will support the center of the cabinet. The casters need to be close to the sides so the side can help support the weight of the cabinet. You have the front casters mounted in the weakest part of the cabinet. After the cabinet is loaded, the weight of the cabinet with bow up the bottom between the side & parition.  You will not be able to open the drawers in those spaces.

Offline greg mann

  • Posts: 1907
Re: Frameless Cabinets - Stretchers Between Drawers?
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2021, 07:19 PM »
I hate stretchers because of ‘Greg’s law of drawer heights’. That is, no matter how high the drawer someone looks overfill it and it will catch upon opening. I have resorted on several occasions to putting flush panels behind the stretchers so that nothing can catch. Works great but it just fixing a problem that didn’t need to exist in the first place. We now have frameless cabinets in our née kitchen and I smile every time I put the pots, bowls and pans away.

If I build cabinets, for any application, that needs horizontal stretchers I will put in a full panel to preclude the opportunity for catches. But, that is a lot of wasted material, IMO.
Greg Mann
Oakland, Michigan