I’m still making slow progress on my new office. I finally finished building the two cabinets with hanging file folder drawers that will hold up the two ends of the future countertop. The drawers are 24″ deep with full extension glides so one could store a LOT of folders if they needed.
How to build a hanging file folder drawer
You can build a new drawer or use an existing drawer if it’s the right size. If building a new drawer, you can follow my simple drawer tutorial but adjust the size to accommodate the files. I built my drawer 14″ wide by 10″ deep. When planning your cabinet, make sure to leave 1″ clearance above the top of the file drawer so the hanging file tabs will clear the faceframe or drawer above the files.
I purchased the metal bars at Home Depot. They’re about 1/8″ thick and 3/4″ tall and came in 3′ lengths.
I marked the top of the drawer box where the center of the bar needed to sit. The bars will sit 12 1/4″ apart.
I set up my table saw so the blade would cut about 1/2″ deep (I wanted the bar to sit a bit higher than my drawer) and adjusted the fence so the blade lined up with my mark.
Then I ran my drawer box all the way through so it cut a slit in the front and back parts of the drawer. Flipped it around and cut slits in the other side. Obviously the drawer box is sitting on the table upside down –so the slits are being cut into the top of the drawer.
Check to make sure your bar fits in your cut.
Cut the bar to length with a hacksaw and then rub it on sandpaper to smooth it out so there aren’t any sharp edges.
You may have to glue or nail a block on the back of the drawer to keep the bar from sliding back. The drawer front will hold it in place in the front. My bars are tight (I used a rubber mallet to ease them in so I don’t think there will be any movement but if your bar is slightly thinner or cut is wider you may need a block).
Just for fun, I wanted to paint my bars with a bright color. I cut slits in some scrap wood to hold the bars upright while I sprayed them.
Wes thought the bright yellow bars were odd but I like ’em. He can sand the paint off of his if he wants to bring them back to plain ole’ metal. 😉
If you liked this post, you might find other helpful posts in my “Cabinet Making Tips” gallery.
lara thomas says
I love this.
I’ve debating about how to do this, so your post is timely. How did you go about selecting the full extension drawer glides to hold all that paper. I was also wondering if you’ve done a tutorial on full overlay drawers and doors.
Nancy Williams says
Looks great! You’ll have all of those file folders full in no time!
Just what I needed. I plan to build hanging files into a low window seat. The area is too low to install drawers so I will just have a lift top to access the hanging files. This is a craft space so I will have a place to put all my accumulated design/craft tear sheets. I wasn’t sure where to find the hanging metal rails so this is most helpful. Thanks Sandra!
Towhid, Jig Saws says
Oh! my goodness, Its looks so amazing and cool.Overall all of those so awesome,thanks for your sharing post.
Caroline C. says
Thanks for this. My husband bought this mid-century desk at an estate sale and it was missing a metal bar to hold the files. I had just ordered this self standing rack to replace it from Amazon and it was just a smidge too big to fit in there without jamming in the rolling wheels. I had no ideas they sold the metal bar at the big box, thanks a lot, you gave me a filing drawer and probably saved the desk for under $3.
I am currently building a hanging file cabinet. The choice for me comes down to using metal rails as you did, or plastic rails (Rockler/Amazon) that sit atop the drawer sides. The metal rails will be more durable, but any paper hanging out of the side of the file folder will hang up on the rails as I pull the folder out. Hmm…
You just have to plan for a taller drawer front. Make the drawer front a couple inches taller than the drawer.
Trent Wilms says
Great. Thank you.
Kathy Fisher says
I’m looking to some help. I want to build a small cabinet with a file drawer that pulls out sideways instead of lengthwise. I want the measurement of the drawer itself to be 15×15 inches length approximately 24 inches. Any suggestions. This is to use for scrapbook paper