Build Your Own Office - Narrow File Drawer Base Unit

Adding a drawer to the Open Base Plan for the Modular Office Collection can create tidy opportunities for your home office. This plan is for a file cabinet sized drawer, but there is no reason why you can create drawers of any size, as Eric did.

Special thanks to Eric R for sharing his amazing photos.


Projects built from this plan. Thank you for submitting brag posts, it's appreciated by all!


Shopping List: 

In addition to the supplies and tools needed for the base unit, you will need:
1 – 1×10
1 – 1×12 (you will only need about 3′)
2 – Under or side mount drawer slides, 12″ long
26″ of 1×16 boards

2 inch screws
1 1/4 inch finish nails
120 grit sandpaper
wood conditioner
paint brush
measuring tape
safety glasses
hearing protection
Table Sawor Circular Saw with Kreg Rip Cut
Fits the Narrow Open Base
Cut List: 

For 2 Drawers, you will need to cut
2 – 1×16 @ 13 1/2″ (Drawer Bottoms)
2 – 1×10 @ 15 1/2″ (Drawer Backs)
4 – 1×10 @ 14 1/4″ (Drawer Sides)
2 – 1×12 @ 17 3/4″ (Drawer Faces)

Cutting Instructions: 
The drawer faces are 1x12s, measuring a given 11 1/2" wide. If your 1x12s are a different width, adjust the overall height of your project to leave 1/8" gap around the door faces.
Step 1: 

Composition is shown above for the base unit. You can find the plan for the Modular Open Base Shelf here.

Step 2 Instructions: 

Drawer Bottom and Back. Fasten the drawer back to the drawer bottom as shown above.

Step 3 Instructions: 

Drawer Sides. Fasten the drawer sides to the drawer back and bottom, as shown above.

Step 4 Instructions: 

Drawer Slides. Fit the drawer into the drawer slides, remembering that the face will sit flush with the outsides of the sides. The drawer without the face will be inset 3/4″

Step 5 Instructions: 

Drawer Face. With the drawer pushed in, fit the face on the drawer, leaving an even gap around all sides. Fasten the drawer to the sides and bottom.

Project Type: 
Estimated Cost: 
Skill Level: 


You are most correct, Ana. Details, details, details... :) I can't wait for spring so I can start garage, in I must wait. :(

I am in total agreement that the hardware can make an item. (i LOVE your site, btw...)

question: has anyone had any luck finding hardware like the beloved PB's? I LOVE the hinged pulls and the label holders...

There are so many of us out there building and itching to build using your fabulous plans- and the hardware is KEY to top it off! Is there anyway of creating a page/section where viewers can post pics of their hardware as well as where they found it?

THANK YOU THANK YOU for all your work!!

Re: drawer pulls

I love working my google muscle to find things, but I found it VERY hard to locate a high-polished nickel drop pull like the Pottery Barn ones. But here are a few possibilities for people who are looking. I used the search terms "bail pull” and “drop pull”.

Satin Chrome Cabinet pull—

Classic Hardware Card Holder Pull—

Mission Style Drop Pull —

Hardware Resources Matte Black Pull—

I'm mistaken, I think a minor error in math on the shopping list. The shopping list says 26" of a 1x16 but the cut list says 2 - 1x16 and cut them into 13.5" pieces. that's 27" inches of 1x16 (13.5 x 2).

Love this collection, that will probably be my 2nd project once I make my bunk beds :) Thanks!

Hi All,
I can help with all of these questions regarding an excellent source for hardware in one address:!
Lee Valley Tools has been around for years, has a HUGE variety of different styles (and types) of hardware: drawer slides, knobs, pulls, hinges..., plus they also have all kinds of Wood Working & Gardening tools and toys. It's my absolute favourite place to shop; virtually or in person.
Enjoy, Deb

Hello Ana,
I found you through Michaela's link from "The Gardener's Eden" and boy am I excited about it! This is a great idea. Thanks so much for showing everyone just what they can accomplish. DIY never looked so good!

Regarding high end hardware sourcing: I believe I just may have THE answer to all of your questions:!

Lee Valley Tools has been around for years, has a huge variety of styles and types of cabinetry hardware: handles, pulls, slides, hinges, etc.
They also carry (and design) tons of wood working and gardening tools and toys and give customer satisfaction like nobody's business.

It's my absolute favourite place to shop - virtually or in person...

Hope this helps, Deb

I have a question if someone could please help me! It seems that the bottom of the drawer is supposed to be 16" x 13.5". However the back of the drawer is only 15.5" in width. How does this line up with the width (16") of the bottom? It seems like I either need to make the bottom narrower or the back wider. I'm not sure which one I should do to ensure that the drawer still fits in the cabinet.

I appreciate any ideas!


Jezeriah, you have to leave 1/2" on each side for the drawer slides, but you want the drawer face to cover the drawer slides. I would purchase the slides and read the clearance on them before building the drawer. Hope this helps. Ana

Hey everyone!

I found hardware almost EXACTLY like the PB version. It is galvanized, but you could spray it if you want it shiny. It is the exact same style as PB uses on their desk. Believe it or not, they are cheap! $2.79. Made my National. I found mine at an Ace Hardware, in the section with utilitarian hinges and pulls like you would use on a farm. NOT in the cabinet isle.

I hope this helps. I built the Bedford desk before I knew of Ana's site. This is fantastic! I can't wait to see what else I can make...without having to draw up the plans myself this time! ;o)

If you need specifics on the hardware, feel free to email me.


Thanks for the plans! I'm planning on starting this next weekend. I did notice that, on the Open File Base Unit plans, the height of the top and bottom drawers seem to differ. The plans for the drawer (using 1x12) would work for the bottom; but not the top (it measures 13 1/4 on the plans).
Also, I was at PB yesterday and saw this desk with the two file cabinet drawers on one side and three drawers on the other. Any chance of adding plans to mod the CPU base so that it has two narrow and one deeper drawer?
Thanks again