DIY Kitchen Drawer Organizer

DIY Kitchen Drawer Organizer

Long time viewers to Woodworking for Mere Mortals will remember a kitchen drawer organizer I made back in 2011. It was a replacement organizer for the first one I built back before I started making videos. It fixed the problems with that first design, but now after five years of use,  I wanted to address a couple problems and build a new organizer.

The compartment widths I made in version 2 were fine, but I failed to consider the lengths of the utensils we would be storing. There are only two options, the front and the rear. There is a lot of wasted space in the compartments for smaller flatware such as teaspoons and salad forks, but not enough space for longer tools such as silicone spatulas. As a result, we’ve been cramming them cross ways in the back, making the entire drawer a mess.

The old drawer organizer. Only two different compartment lengths.
The old drawer organizer. Only two different compartment lengths.

 

Wasted space in the spaces for smaller utensils.
Wasted space in the spaces for smaller utensils.

Kitchen Drawer Organizer: Version 3

I was able to make this organizer with a single oak board, 2.5″ (6.3 cm) wide by 8′ (244 cm) long.  First, I cut it into more manageable lengths for resawing.

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I resawed all these boards into two pieces, one 3/8″ (9.5mm) and the other about 1/4″ (6.5mm). The thicker boards are for the frame, and the thinner pieces are for the dividers.

Resawing the boards
Resawing the boards

With a couple of dado blades in my table saw, I cut rabbets on the ends of the frame pieces and shallow dados into the dividers, following the measurements in my plans very carefully. This gets really tedious!

Cutting dados (grooves)
Cutting dados (grooves)

I dry-fit everything together to make sure everything fit together properly. Making all those dados is really important: trying to assemble this without them would be very challenging and difficult to line everything up.

Dry-fit
Dry-fit

It’s very important that the individual compartments have cutaways on the sides so you can reach into them easily. To draw the various sized arcs, I made a “bow” out of a thin oak strip and a string. I would bend it to the arc I needed and then tie the string to lock it in place. I discovered that I didn’t actually have to tie it, just wrapping it around one end held it in place fine. Then I just held this in place and drew the arcs onto the dividers.

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I cut these curves out on my bandsaw and sanded them with my spindle sander.

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After gluing and clamping the frame pieces together, I glued and tacked on the base: a piece of 1/4″ (6mm) plywood.

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I marked the edges of all the dividers so I could easily remember where they all fit, then I glued them in place.

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Finally, I finished it with several coats of spray lacquer and put all our silverware in their new homes.

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Perfect fit!
Perfect fit!

Plans:

Note: Drawers come in all different sizes to you will need to adjust these plans to fit.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. A piece plexiglass at the end of the compartments holding forks and knives will keep the wood from getting damaged. Your project is one that makes an organizer very happy! Susang

  2. Hi Steve,
    Can you elaborate a bit more on the finishing? Do you sand a bit between coats or at the end at all?

  3. Steve. Great job on the drawer organizer. You are awesome with the brad nailer on thin stock. How do you do it.

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