Galley Cabinets and Drawers Test, Update

I had chosen the small galley cabinet section as a means of testing a design style and construction method. Let me be clear, I have never built cabinets and drawers. I am not familiar with “traditional” cabinet design and the hardware used for construction. I am not a craftsman, or a finish carpenter. I am not even a novice. I am a hack. So, for someone like myself, I figure the best thing to do is to think things through a few times and try to build it yourself. And, repeat that till you have something that satisfies.

Some of the requirements I have for the drawer cabinets in general:

  • modular. The ability to remove a cabinet for future modification and/or replacement without tearing out/cutting up  any of the surrounding structures.
  • space. maximize drawer sizes to maximize storage.
  • simple(er) construction. No dovetails, or fancy joints that take a lot of practice, time, and special tools to get “right”. While I can appreciate those things, and would not mind learning, I would rather spend the time on other boat building tasks.
  • no special tools. I want to use the tools that I already have. 
  • use standard off-the-shelf drawer hardware
So, here is what the first iteration produced…

Drawers installed. Drawer faces and face frame ready for installation.

Drawer faces installed. Added a couple latches.

Everything installed.

And done!

As I said, this is only a test. And while I am generally happy with how this went, I did hit a couple snags that will require this to be redone:
  • drawer faces as slightly too narrow. The drawer runners rub against the face frame when you open the drawer. The faces need to be widened by about a quarter inch.
  • The latches need to be lowered by about a quarter inch. There is not enough gap to mount the latch strike plates on the inside.
  • The drawers cannot be removed when the face frame is installed. The type of drawer runners used require the drawer to be opened and tilted to pull the drawer from the runner. As I maximized drawer box sizes, the back of the box collides with the face frame, preventing removal. The solution is to change the box shape and “notch” the top/back corner of the box. As these are 3/4 extension slides, you would never see this notch in normal use.
  • The bottom drawer, and the face frame, is about one inch too tall. It is taking up some of the toe-kick space.
In any case, for now, it is nice to have the drawers to store tools, parts and all the bits that accumulate while building the boat. I may use the adjacent drawer space for “round two”, learning from this construction, and perhaps, try a different design style. 

2 comments for “Galley Cabinets and Drawers Test, Update

  1. August 1, 2011 at 4:56 am

    Might I make a suggestion.

    On our boat the bottom "drawer" is always really just a door that looks like it matches the other drawers but in reality it just opens to the hull. This way you still have storage but don't have to remove a drawer if you need to get to the hull beneath for running wires or whatever. It also provides a different type of storage area to set thing down in that wouldn't work well in drawers. I guess the downside is that you… well… Lose a drawer.

  2. August 1, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Thanks for the tip Tate. In fact, there is more storage underneath, against the hull. Being able to remove the bottom drawer makes easy access. But yeah, I specifically made the bottom drawers larger to hold larger items, like pots.

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