Overview

Diagram: pull-out shelf
Illustration: Gregory Nemec
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With a pull-out shelf, the shallow drawer on full-extension slides eliminates the need to get down on your hands and knees to pick through the back of the cabinet in near darkness. Building and installing a retrofit pull-out shelf is actually a simple process, as This Old House master carpenter Norm Abram shows here.

The sides of the drawer can easily be cut using a power miter saw or a backsaw in a miter box; the bottom can be cut with a circular saw or even precut at the lumberyard. The pieces join together with basic butt joints, which are glued and screwed. Finally, to simplify the finishing process, Norm uses a quick-drying but tough spray lacquer.

There are factory-made wire baskets, trays and other sliding storage devices you can buy. If you go this route, however, be wary of second-rate hardware—it can sag and drag under a load of pots and pans. No worries if you build the shelf shown here, though; its full-extension slides can support over 100 pounds. Besides, nothing store-bought can ever compete with the finished look of a custom-made wood shelf.
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    Tools List

    • miter saw
      Power miter saw or backsaw with miter box,
      used to crosscut 1x3s
    • circular saw
      Portable circular saw,
      for cutting plywood
    • 16-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • Phillips screwdriver
      Drill-driver with Phillips screwdriver tip
    • Countersink bit
      Combination countersink bit,
      used to bore screw-pilot holes
    • spade bit
      1/2-inch spade bit,
      for drilling counterbore holes for wood buttons
    • combination square
      Combination square,
      for marking square cut lines on 1x3s
    • bar clamp
      Bar clamp or pipe clamp,
      for assembling the drawer
    • Whisk Broom
      Whisk broom

    Shopping List

    1. PINE 1X3's

    Shelf frame



    2. 3/4-INCH BIRCH PLYWOOD

    for shelf bottom; 1/2-inch if using a dado



    3. 120-GRIT AND 180-GRIT SANDPAPER

    4. 1 1/4-INCH DRYWALL SCREWS

    for attaching the cleats to cabinet



    5. 22-IN. FULL-EXTENSION DRAWER SLIDES

    about $20 per pair



    6. SPRAY LACQUER

    7. DUAL-CARTRIDGE RESPIRATOR

    worn when spraying lacquer



    8. WOOD BUTTONS

    to conceal screw heads.



    9. 1 5/8-INCH DRYWALL SCREWS

    for shelf assembly



    10. CARPENTER'S GLUE

    11. MASONITE OR CARDBOARD SHIMS

    12. TACK RAG OR COTTON CLOTH

    13. GOGGLES