How to Build Metal Drawers

drawer image by Jan Will from

Things You'll Need

  • Sheet metal
  • Cutting torch
  • Arc welder
  • Chalk
  • Measuring tape
  • 1-by-12-inch metal rods (4)
  • Metal cabinet handles

Metal drawers are handy items to have in any work space, from an office to a metal or woodwork shop. They are expensive to buy yet relatively inexpensive to make, so if you have the right materials at hand, there is no reason you shouldn't make your own.

Design the drawers on paper. Design one large sheet-metal box and three separate drawers that fit into it. Start with a box that's 2 feet wide and 3 feet high and 2 feet long. The individual drawers should be 2-by-2-feet square by 11 inches high.

Mark the sheet metal with the desired dimensions. For the large box, use two 2-by-2-foot pieces of sheet metal for the base and top and three 3-by-2-foot sheet metal pieces for the sides. Leave the front open to install the shelves. Each shelf should have one 2-by-2-foot sheet and four 2-foot-by-11-inch sheets.

Cut the individual components out of the sheet metal using a cutting torch, angle grinder or power jigsaw. Be careful to follow the lines precisely so as not to cut away too much. A good rule of thumb is to cut away too little rather than too much -- you can always trim later.

Weld the large metal box together using an arc welder. Weld the upright pieces to the base. Then weld the top onto the upright pieces.

Weld the drawer pieces together. Weld four 2-foot-by-11-inch sheets to the edges of a 2-by-2-foot base. Repeat with the other two drawers.

Weld 1-by-12-inch metal rods onto the inside of each side of the large metal box. These should be welded at 1-foot intervals, starting 1 foot from the base. These will hold the drawers in place.

Weld handles onto the front of the drawers. Measure the exact central point of the front of each drawer. To find the center, measure the width and height, then divide each number in half. Extend your tape measure to the new numbers and mark the location with chalk or pencil. Weld the handles in the center of the drawer fronts.

Slide the drawers into the large metal box.