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How to build and maintain a garbage pull out

By Edited Jan 31, 2016 0 0

Garbage pull out drawers for kitchens are typically over $200. When I was looking for one in 2004 they were over $240, and these were flimsy. Further investigation provided a practical solution, build it myself. Here is a 7 step project for an amateur DIY.

1. Tools & Supplies

A level preferably 18 inches in length, a drill, screwdriver, pencil, handsaw or a jigsaw, tape measure, some scrap wood, wood screws, wood glue and the cabinet face board. I purchased the drawer slides and a 2 ft x 4 ft piece of finished plywood. You can use any kind of wood you have. Separate the drawer slides for mounting. The heavier part of the slide goes on the outside and the lighter piece on the frame box.

2. Let's Measure

First measure from the inside back of the cabinet hole to the front face of the cabinet. Mine is 23.5 inches deep, so the longest drawer hardware that I could use is 22 inches. You can buy these at a local hardware store for less than $40. But don't skimp on the rails, you want something that is strong and durable. The 22 inch rails allow my drawer full extension.

Next measure the height of your garbage can, mine is 19.25 inches, which includes a 1/2 inch lip and my cabinet opening is 21 inches tall. As long as the garbage can is a quarter-inch off the bottom, there is plenty of room on the top so that pulling the drawer does not cause any obstructions.

3. Add Spacer Wood to Mount Rails

Add spacer wood to bring the side walls out to match the surface of the face cabinet as shown here in Picture I.

Picture I
Mine is 7/8 of an inch, I added two pieces of scrap wood. No painting required, and I used a jigsaw to rough cut them. Place the wood on the inside of the cabinet wall where the rails will be mounted. The rails are mounted level, 3 inches from the top, so the supporting wood is above and below the rail. If you make your supporting wood a little wider (say 4 x 22 inches), then you have some flexibility for the rails. Now mount the spacer wood on the inside walls of the cabinet wall with wood screws. Do you have adjacent cabinets next to the garbage pull out? If you do, then you probably have at least an inch on either side to drill screws into. Mine is 7/8 of an inch for the mounting wood plus 2 cabinet walls (5/8 + 5/8), so screws are greater than 7/8 to penetrate the outside wall. I used 1.5 inch screws, to prevent coming through to the neighboring cabinet. Rest your rail on a level then mark the wood with a pencil so you can mount the rail just above pencil line, 3 inches from the top of the opening. After the rails are mounted put the rails back together to test them. Now measure from the inside of the rail on one side to the inside of the rail on the other side. This gives you the width you need to build your frame box. Mine is exactly 14 inches wide.

4. Add Wood to the Back of Cabinet Face

You need to add a piece or two of wood to the back of the cabinet face to give the frame box a place to attach. Note the depth of the cabinet face, this is VERY important to avoid screwing hardware through the face. I used 2 pieces of 1/2 inch plywood, first screwing one piece on to the back of the cabinet face including wood glue, then the second piece I used one inch screws to attach to the first piece. The dimensions of the 2 pieces of plywood were 11.5 x 17.5 and 13 x 19. The smaller piece is glued and carefully screwed to the back of the cabinet face piece then the 13 x 19 piece, centered and attached to the first piece.

5. Build-a-Frame Box

Build the frame box around the second piece of plywood (13 x 19) you attached to the back of the cabinet face. In the picture below, Picture II, the height of the half-inch plywood at its tallest is 19 inches.

Picture II
Then it tapers at 45 degrees back until its 4 inches, and is 22 inches long to accommodate the drawer slide. Attach the two side pieces to the second piece of plywood on the cabinet face, by screwing the side pieces into the second piece edge. The side pieces plus the width of the second piece should equal the width between your rails. Now add a top piece to the box that will keep the sides from collapsing. This is the last piece that fits under the lip of your garbage can. To create the top piece you will need to measure the width and length of your garbage can under the lip and cut a single piece of supporting wood on 3 or 4 sides. Mine has 3 sides and is 'U' shaped. Now hold the completed frame box and cabinet face up to the cabinet to verify it fits between the rails, it is close, assuming the drawer slides are still assembled on both sides.

6. Attach Side Rails to Frame Box

Use a piece of wood to support the bottom of the frame box centering the cabinet face in the cabinet pocket to approximate where the supporting rail is attached. The most important thing here is to align the cabinet face with the neighboring cabinet face. Now measure from the top of the cabinet face to the center of the mounted rail. You can do this by marking in pencil where the cabinet face goes, then measure from the pencil line to the middle of the rail. This distance is where you will mount the supporting rail on the frame box side. It's important that this rail is parallel to the top of the frame box. Mount the supporting rail on one side of the frame box and test it. If it looks right then use the same measurement on the alternate side and mount the remaining rail on the other side. Notice in Picture II that the supporting rail is as far forward as possible on the frame box to pull the cabinet face closed.

7. Paint or Stain

Initially my frame box was painted a light tan color, but it showed a lot of dirt and grime. I switched to a dark stain that has helped hide the food particles that accumulate. It wouldn't hurt to throw a coat or two of polyurethane for water protection.


Virtually no maintenance, my lovely wife does a good job of cleaning the top of the frame box occasionally. Recently, I performed a thorough cleaning and added some WD-40 to the rails. It's been 8 years since I put this in, and it still works fantastic.

Finished Project

Picture III



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