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How to measure for dovetail drawers

how to measure drawersProbox offers bespoke dovetail drawers to suit your project. Before you order them you need to measure up your unit and work out what size you need.

Many of our customers ring us up with a list of measurements or order online, but if you are new to dovetail drawers it’s important to make sure you have the right measurements when you place your order. Customers are welcome to ring us and discuss your project if you have any questions at all.

The details we need when you place your order;

  • Drawer width or internal carcass width
  • Drawer height and depth
  • The timber required
  • Runner type and length ( see our range of runners)

Any special features like handle cut outs, shaped sides, unlacquered, traditional dovetails

Tips for measuring up your drawers

  • Work out if your is drawer in-frame or lay on
  • Allow space for your runners

Follow this Probox pdf that shows instructions with diagrams for measuring up your drawers

Click here to order online


Dovetail Drawers VS Standard

dovetail drawers vs standard

What is a dovetail drawer? 

Dovetail drawers are typically solid wood drawers with a dovetail joint on each corner.

What are the advantages of a dovetail drawer?

Customers that are building bespoke kitchens or furniture often opt for dovetail drawers, this is for many reasons, here are a few;

  • A dovetail joint is very strong and will outperform most other joint options, including dowel joints or a biscuit joint. 
  • A dovetail joint in a drawer for many years has been known as a sign of a high level of craftsmanship and it has become a specified requirement for many kitchen manufactures when they build a bespoke kitchen. 
  • The dovetail drawers at Probox are made from select solid timber and they are built to last, the build quality is designed to match that of a high end bespoke kitchen or furniture piece. 

What is a dovetail joint? 

A dovetail joint is a joint that holds together the sides of the drawer. It has interlocking tails on one side and pins on the other. When they are fitted together and hot glued they create a high tensile strength, this means the joint is very hard to pull apart. 

Standard drawers 

Standard drawers are often cheaper to make, but the build quality is not as good. Drawers with dowel joints are often used for flat pack furniture or bedroom furniture. Drawers with dowel joints haven’t the same strength and durability as drawers with dovetail joints and do not demonstrate the same craftsmanship or possess the same quality. 


5 Reasons to Order Probox Drawers Online

order bespoke drawers online

1# Order bespoke drawers online using our easy to use order form with size guide, then receive your quote via email within 24 hours, we always aim to get quotes back over quickly. Place your order online day or night.

2# If you need Classic Swift dovetail drawers our off the shelf service, simply choose your sizes online, place your order and receive the drawers in 3 days.

3# Add runners to your order, choose from our quality soft close range, with brands like Blum, Hettich or Grass.

4# Order other items like spice racks or cutlery inserts either bespoke made or off the shelf.

5# Read our blog section for interesting info, including a glossary of drawer terms and 10 top questions answered.

Order bespoke dovetail drawers 

Order standard sized Classic Swift drawers  


New Product: Classic Swift Oak Cutlery Insert

Classic Swift Oak Cutlery Insert UK

Our customers find the Classic Swift dovetail drawer range to be very convenient when they require standard sized, quality oak drawers delivered from stock. We have now further developed this service to also offer a Classic Swift cutlery insert.

The Classic Swift cutlery insert is made from solid oak timber and is available to work with lay-on or in-frame drawers.

Probox stocks a solid oak cutlery insert that suits lay-on drawers is 621(w) x 412(d) x 60(h) and a solid oak cutlery insert that suits in-frame drawers is 585(w) x 412(d) x 60(h).

Daniel Wells, Sales Director at Probox, commented “These versatile inserts allow you to adapt the insert by cutting it to shorten it to fit the drawer perfectly, or removing the horns on one or both ends”.

The Classic Swift cutlery insert is now being added to Classic Swift dovetail drawer orders by kitchen designers that are working on fast turnaround projects or designers that are happy to work with set sizes so that they can enjoy a cost saving and a quicker turnaround. 

As per the picture, the Classic Swift cutlery insert has three vertical cutlery areas and one horizontal utensil area. 

The Classic Swift cutlery insert is available to buy online or you can call 01280 825776 to speak to our sales team.  Orders have a 1-2 day turnaround time. 

We also offer a bespoke made solid timber cutlery tray in a range of finishes, for more information click here 


Probox glossary of terms

Pan drawer

A pan drawer is a high kitchen drawer that’s designed to carry cooking pans.

Flush top

When the sides, front and back of the drawer are all the same height.

Stepped top

The sides are 2mm smaller than the front and the back of the drawer.


A drawer that’s designed for a unit that has a frame (Our standard classic swift will suit a 36mm frame) Packers/spacers required

Inframe Drawers Design

Lay on

Drawer to suit a standard carcase shape. (Our standard classic swift will suit a standard 18mm unit)

Drawer standard carcase shape

Internal drawers

Drawers with no additional drawer front being applied, internal drawers often have a curved handle.

Standard Dovetail

The pins and tails in the dovetail are the same size.

Traditional Dovetail

Dovetails with large pins and small tails.

Dovetails with large pins and small tails

Drawer runners

Metal undermount runners attach to the carcass and the drawer and allow the drawer to open and close. Many brands are available, with functions such as soft close or push to open.

Opening size

The carcass opening width/height


How many pieces of timber that make up the height of the drawer.

Full Stave

The sides of the drawer are made from a single piece of solid timber.

Notching and drilling

The preparation needed on the drawer to fit undermount runners. Probox can offer drawers with notching and drilling included, please ask for this when you place your order. Probox notches and drill to suit each type of runner, so be sure to choose your runner before the notching and drilling so the notches and drill holes are in the right places for your drawer runners.

Handle cut out

Handle cut out, also known as a bow cut out, this is a half moon shaped cut out in the centre of the front of the box.

15mm drop front

15mm is added to the bottom of the front of the drawer, this conceals the undermount runners from view.

Shaped Sides

When the front of the drawer is half the height of the back, with a gradual slope on each side.

Sink drawer or U shaped drawer

A drawer made in the shape of a U to allow for sinks and pipes. The size of this drawer is bespoke to the sink size scenario.

Cutlery tray

The cutlery tray has a base, dividers and all 4 sides. Bespoke made to fit your drawer, each corner is made with a dovetail joint.

Cutlery insert

The cutlery insert has a base, dividers and no sides, bespoke made to fit inside the drawer.

Serving tray

The serving tray or butler tray is a bespoke tray with 2 or 4 handles.

Spice rack

The spice rack, also known as a larder door rack with 3, 4 or 5 shelves or to drawing . Each rack comes with rear metal keyhole mounting plate fixings to attach it to the door.


Drawers are all lacquered with a 10% sheen protective coating, increasing durability and product protection.


Dovetail drawer unfinished without any coating. Customers ask for unfinished if they want to paint the boxes or use their own finish.


Probox kitchen design trends 2019

Dark coloured units

Searches for black and navy kitchens have been up 93% in the past 6 months according to Living Etc magazine. Blue, particularly navy has replaced grey as the go to on trend colour.

kitchens Trending Color Grey Online Uk


Concrete surfaces, industrial exposed lighting and warehouse style designs. Customers often pair Probox Birch Ply Dovetail Drawers for this style of kitchen. The birch ply drawers offer fantastic build quality and work well with minimal or industrial designs.

Modern Kitchen in Loft nterior (3d illustration)

Bright colours

Shaker style doors, cabinets and splashbacks are continuing to be produced in bright colours, making kitchen designs that suit each client’s colour preference. Bright pink, yellow, red, green and turquoise are popular options.

Scandinavian classic kitchen with wooden and turquoise details, minimalistic interior designScandinavian classic kitchen with wooden and gray details, minimalistic interior designScandinavian classic kitchen with wooden and brown details, minimalistic interior design


Combining wood, metal and stone for a contemporary Kitchen design, with traditional aspects. Brushed brass handles and brass taps add warmth to kitchen designs or just going back to basics with exposed raw materials such as wood and stone, with neutral colours.

classic kitchen with wooden and turquoise drawers

The farmhouse kitchen

The farmhouse kitchen continues to be very popular especially in cottages and heritage homes. This classic design style can also appear with non-traditional coloured units, mixing classic design with on trend colours and appliances.

Every farmhouse kitchen design should have solid timber dovetail drawers with soft close runners, these hand crafted kitchens are about build quality and this extends to every aspect, including the cabinets, doors and drawers. Probox solid oak dovetail drawers are the most popular.

solid timber dovetail drawers with soft close runners

Digital technology

Smart appliances such as fridges, washing machines and espresso makers that are controlled through apps.


Top 10 technical questions answered – Classic Bespoke Drawers

Classic Bespoke Drawers Online UK

1. What width timber are the bespoke dovetail drawers available in?

The drawers are made in 13mm thick timber labelling as standard or 15mm at no extra cost

2. Do you offer notching and drilling?

This is a popular optional extra, please specify the runners you are using with the dovetail drawers so we can drill to match your runners.

3. I also want a bespoke cutlery tray to fit in the drawer, can you help?

Yes, take at look at our page on cutlery inserts

4. Do you offer engraving?

Some customers like to apply their logo to the sides of the technical  drawers, this allows them to brand the kitchen.  Probox offers laser engraving or etching and this can also be used to label drawers or accessories for customers. Examples could be labelling a drawer with the word cutlery or personalising a bedroom furniture drawer with a child’s name.

5. What is your turn around time for bespoke dovetail drawers?

The turnaround time is 10 working days. It’s worth asking when you place your order as it can be 12 days at very busy times of the year.

6. Are the drawers finished?

The bespoke dovetail drawers are provided as standard with a 10% lacquer. Some customers require the drawers unfinished and so we supply these with no lacquer.

7. Do you supply runners?

Yes, a range of runners are available on our website. All the runners on the Probox site are quality brands such as Grass, Blum or Hettich.

8. What timber materials are available?

As standard we supply oak, maple, beech, walnut or birch ply. We can use other materials on request.

9. What shaping do you offer for the drawers?

We offer shaped sides, stepped top edges or a handle cut out.

10. Do you have a price list?

Prices are dependent on the material used and the size of the dovetail drawer so each dovetail drawer job has a bespoke quote


Top 10 technical questions answered – Classic Swift Drawers

Classic Swift Drawers with Runners

Classic Swift is a range of high quality standard sized oak dovetail drawers that are ordered from stock at Probox.

1. When using Classic Swift Drawers with runners what is the standard space needed for runners

8mm space either side

2. What is the thickness of the timber used to make the drawers?

13mm thickness on Classic Swift drawers.

3. What runners work best with Classic Swift drawers?

We suggest using any Blum runners or Grass Dynapro runners from the selection on the Probox website.

4. Are the drawers notched and drilled?

Classic Swift drawers are notched but not drilled, allowing you to choose your runners from a range of options.

5. What is the turnaround time?

We hold Classic Swift in stock and ready to dispatch. The standard delivery time is 1-2 days, but if you need the drawers in a hurry then ring the office and we’ll do our best to meet your needs.

6. What if I’m not sure about using classic swift because of the carcass size?

Classic Swift is designed to suit standard sizes 18mm (layon) or 36mm (Inframed) for standard sized units e.g. 600/700/800, call Probox if you have any specific questions.

7. Are Classic Swift drawers finished?

Yes, the drawers are finished with a 10% lacquer

8. What are the heights and depths available?

90mm high and 440mm depth

180 high with 440mm or 490mm depth

9. Do you have a price list available?

All the prices are available when ordering on the Probox website. We also have a pdf price list available on request.

10. How can I order Classic Swift dovetail drawers ?

Many people order on the Probox website, but you can also call on 01280 825776 to place your order and feel free to ask any questions you may have.

If you don’t have an account please have your details ready so we can set you up on our system.  You can also email us  at [email protected] with your request and we’ll get in touch.


Probox cater for a range of kitchen styles with dovetail drawers in a selection of materials

kitchen Dovetail Drawer

Probox create the range drawers in a wide range of materials, including oak, walnut, beech, maple and birch ply.

All dovetail drawer options (except birch ply) are made using A grade select solid/ hardwood timber.  Hardwood offers a pristine finish and due its nature is very durable and resistant to wear and tear.

Solid oak is the most popular timber choice, partly because many kitchens are made using oak and also because oak offers a neutral tone that’s often used with painted panels, high gloss kitchen styles cabinets in UK or other timbers.

Solid walnut is the most premium solid timber option and offers a dramatic dark tone, this can be used to create contrast in a kitchen design. This luxurious timber choice has been traditionally associated with chateaus libraries or high end wine cellars and by choosing walnut customers can incorporate this sophistication into the center of their home.

For a paler scheme beech or maple are other alternatives to oak. Beech is strong and durable with a close straight grain, polishes well and offers a small cost saving on oak.

Maple is more durable than oak and is one of the hardest woods suitable for kitchens, standing up to dings and dents, maple is priced slightly higher than oak.

All the Probox solid wood options offer a premium, durable and long lasting result, the choice of timber can be down to customer preference, colour matching, creating contrast or budget.

Birch ply is an economy alternative and is often used in very modern kitchens and also for bedroom or office furniture, this BB grade wood offers a 25% saving on solid oak.  Birch ply is constructed using solid birch veneers, with a quality birch face on either side and offers an extremely stable and solid material.

As well as bespoke made drawers Probox also offers ‘Classic Swift’ a range of solid oak drawers in a range of sizes, these drawers are hand crafted with dovetail joints are stored ready for dispatch. Classic Swift offers a cost and time saving for those that need dovetail drawers that match the sizes within the range drawers (details on Probox website). Another drawer solution at Probox is ‘Eko’ in oak finish, these are drawer kits are made from of quality oak finish wood with dowel joints. Each pack comes with all the components needed to make the range drawers, including screws and assembly instructions.


Probox expands range of Classic Swift standard sized drawers

Probox stocks a range of standard sized drawers called ‘Classic Swift’. These are solid A grade oak dovetail drawers in a range of sizes.

Probox has now expanded the range to include 180mm high drawers that suit 450mm under mount runners for both Lay On and In Frame applications.

The Classic Swift range is easy to order on our website. The dovetail drawers are then taken from stock and delivered out with protective packaging.

Daniel Wells, commented “Our customers have been asking for a drawer with a larger height, so we now stock a range of drawers with 180mm height that suit 450mm under mount runners, these are all now available to buy via our website”.

Order online 

Oak Standard Notched Dovetail Drawers UK

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