What are box joint drawer boxes?

Box joint drawer boxes are a recent trend in the cabinetry industry. Learn more about what makes box joint drawer boxes functional and modern.

Box joint drawer boxes have a distinctive box joint visible from the front and sides of the drawer box like the drawer box shown.

We often hear that people in the woodworking industry, from customers to workers, are overwhelmed by the sheer number of options and customizations available. Yet, we are also frequently asked to add a new product or option to our catalogue. Box joint drawer boxes are an excellent example of this.

Despite the quantity of drawer box options already available (from dovetail to melamine to metal), box joint drawers are a recent trend in the market. So what are they, and why are they used?

At Cutting Edge, we sell box joint drawers. During the product development process, our team probably asked many of the same questions running through your mind right now. While that information is fresh in our minds, we wanted to take the time to relay it to you.

In this article, you will learn:

Definition of box joint drawer boxes

A box joint drawer box is much like a dovetail drawer box. The main purpose of both is to provide a storage area behind a drawer front.

The difference between box joint drawers and other drawer boxes is the shape of the joint that holds the drawer box parts together.

While a dovetail drawer box has a joint shaped like a dove’s tail, box joint drawers have a box-shaped or rectangular joint that interlocks.

Unlike a dovetail drawer box, the box joint is visible from both the front and sides of the drawer box. This feature makes a box joint drawer box more decorative than a dovetail drawer box.

How box joint drawer boxes are assembled

A box joint drawer box has five parts: two sides, one front, one back, and a base.

When you open a box joint drawer and look at it from the side, you see the sides of the drawer box. The back of the drawer box usually hides in the cabinet box. The base is what supports any items you store inside the drawer box.

Each side, front, and back gets cut with a consistent pattern of rectangular grooves. Those grooves interlock for a stronger joint.

The base fits into a groove cut along the inside of the sides, front and back.

Now, as standard, drawer boxes come as just the box. However, you can some additional options:

  • A pre-cut notch in the bottom of the drawer box for the undermount slides.
  • A clear lacquer or stained finish.
  • Pre-installed locking hardware to simplify installing the drawer boxes.

Benefits and drawbacks of box joint drawer boxes

In this article, we have already compared box joint drawers to dovetail drawer boxes, and we are going to do that again briefly.

Because the joint of a dovetail drawer box is angled, they resist horizontal forces (like opening and closing a drawer) well, making them very durable.

However, box joint drawers have a rectangular joint. While this joint interlocks, the interlocking pieces are not angled. This means that the box joint is not as durable when exposed to horizontal stress.

So for that reason, box joint drawers are not a great choice in a high-use area.

However, the design of box joint drawers is unique. And here’s why box joint drawer boxes are popular: while a drawer front typically attaches to the front of the drawer box, box joint drawers are commonly used in open cabinets, which means the front of the drawer box is left visible. A box joint drawer box works well for this purpose because the joint is visible on both the front and sides.

You can use box joint drawer boxes in open cabinets, like the one shown in this picture.
Image provided by Chris Murray Custom Cabinets, customer

Common uses for box joint drawer boxes

Because box joint drawers have a unique appearance, cabinet makers may choose to feature them in a kitchen or pantry. They make a visual statement because the box joint is visible from both the front and side.

The best way to feature a box joint drawer box is to use an open cabinet. Open cabinets do not have cabinet doors or drawer fronts. 

Then, the cabinet maker will install a box joint drawer box in the open cabinet. 

In this scenario, the box joint drawer box serves two purposes: firstly, as an easy-to-access storage area, and secondly, as a visually appealing design choice.

While you can also use other types of drawer boxes in open cabinets, box joint drawer boxes are more modern and, thanks to the visible joint, distinctive.

You can use box joint drawer boxes in open cabinets, like the one shown in this picture.
Image provided by Chris Murray Custom Cabinets, customer

When box joint drawer boxes are a good option

Box joint drawers are not for everyone; they have a specific aesthetic. However, there are a couple of scenarios where you should seriously consider using them.

1. Open cabinet designs

While we have already mentioned open cabinet designs, they are a current trend and it’s worth bringing them up again. 

One of the main drawbacks to open cabinet designs is that all the storage space is open to the front and visible. Because box joint drawers have a front, you cannot see the storage space inside them. Instead of seeing all the storage space, you notice the front of the drawer box.

In addition, a box joint drawer box lends a modern touch to open cabinet designs.

2. High-end or luxury kitchens

Luxury custom kitchens are another scenario where box joint drawer boxes fit in well. Like dovetail drawer boxes, people often link box joint drawers with high-quality craftsmanship.

In addition, they are not a common item, so they make any kitchen stand out.

Final thoughts

When it comes right down to it, we have all felt overwhelmed by the options available in the woodworking industry. This is especially true if you are new to the industry or are learning about a new product or trend.

And box joint drawer boxes are both a new product and a trend.

Now that you have learned the basics of box joint drawer boxes from Cutting Edge, you may feel like you understand them. However, there’s always more to learn. So, if you want more information, contact us!

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