LumberJocks

All Replies on Alternatives to drawer slides for smooth action?

  • Advertise with us
View Dustin's profile

Alternatives to drawer slides for smooth action?

by Dustin
posted 09-10-2018 05:15 PM


25 replies so far

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

3009 posts in 1765 days


#1 posted 09-10-2018 06:21 PM

The key to decent sliding action is a proper fit (and consideration for wood movement). The best thing I have found for ultra smooth action are the HDPE (or other plastics) inserts that take the load/abuse on the drawer runners.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5230 posts in 4503 days


#2 posted 09-10-2018 09:08 PM

I guess that I must ask why are you opposed to mechanical guides?

-- [email protected]

View BroncoBrian's profile

BroncoBrian

875 posts in 2501 days


#3 posted 09-10-2018 09:16 PM

I am with Bill. Why not metal side mounted glides. They are quiet, smooth, and cost a little bit, but save you a lot of time. I would also say they are expected, so no harm in using them.

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

View CWWoodworking's profile

CWWoodworking

528 posts in 722 days


#4 posted 09-10-2018 09:31 PM


The key to decent sliding action is….

Metal drawer slides

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

886 posts in 1645 days


#5 posted 09-11-2018 03:31 AM

I built a chest of drawers some years ago without metal slides. The drawers are over 30” wide and work smoothly and easily. The key, in my case, was a center guide for each drawer. and the use of hdpe plastic strips for the wood runners to slide on. There are those who informed me that they build wide drawers that work smoothly without the center guide. I’m not that good. For me, the precisely made center guide keeps the drawer from racking and binding.

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

3238 posts in 2891 days


#6 posted 09-11-2018 11:37 AM

“The key to decent sliding action is a proper fit (and consideration for wood movement). The best thing I have found for ultra smooth action are the HDPE (or other plastics) inserts that take the load/abuse on the drawer runners.”

+1 – Splintergroup

If you mount the UHMW or HDPE slide inside the box and cut the slot for the slid in the side of the drawer you won’t ever see the white HDPE. Cut a shallow slot for the HDPE inside the box and then use some flat countersunk screws to secure it.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View lumbering_on's profile

lumbering_on

578 posts in 1033 days


#7 posted 09-11-2018 12:28 PM


I guess that I must ask why are you opposed to mechanical guides?

- Bill White

That’s what I was wondering. I grew up near Mennonite country in Ontario, and they’re known for their traditional techniques. Yet, they still use metal slides as they work much better.

View TheRamenShaman's profile

TheRamenShaman

2 posts in 435 days


#8 posted 09-11-2018 01:23 PM

In my hometown we have a furniture company that ditches the runners all together. What they did- to my knowledge- is make the drawers completely flush with the dresser and then line the bottom with a generous coat of paraffin wax. Works like a charm. Hope this helps!

View TheRamenShaman's profile

TheRamenShaman

2 posts in 435 days


#9 posted 09-11-2018 01:29 PM

This technique will work on a drawer of your description as well.

View Dustin's profile

Dustin

702 posts in 1283 days


#10 posted 09-11-2018 01:39 PM

Sorry for the delay in response, folks, been a little busy at work.

As to why I’m avoiding slides…well, it’s really just a conceptual preference. I know it’s a little silly, but once I add slides to something, it feels sort of “cabinet-y”. If absolutely necessary, under-mount slides would be a potential option, but I definitely wouldn’t want to go with side-mounts, purely our of aesthetics. Believe me, I’m well aware that my idiosyncrasies cause me more problems than they solve :p

Namely, I’m interested in this as we have a few pieces of decently made furniture at our house, and the largest chest of drawers have no metal slides, yet still function quite nicely despite their weight. I’m interested in learning to do it this way-sans hardware-as a matter of expanding my woodworking knowledge. That said, I plan on rebuilding all our kitchen drawers this year (currently plastic garbage), and will be using the Blum under-mount slides when I do so.

I hadn’t thought of using HDPE, but have been meaning to buy some stock just to keep around the shop for various uses, so this sounds like a good time to investigate this further.

Thanks everyone for your replies!

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

886 posts in 1645 days


#11 posted 09-11-2018 02:33 PM


I hadn t thought of using HDPE, but have been meaning to buy some stock just to keep around the shop for various uses, so this sounds like a good time to investigate this further.

- Dustin

Don’t overlook the thin self stick HDPE tape. Very handy.

View Walker's profile

Walker

160 posts in 1015 days


#12 posted 09-11-2018 02:44 PM

also known as low friction tape or “Slick” tape.

https://www.woodcraft.com/products/slick-strips-3-4-width-1-32-thick

-- ~Walker

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

11422 posts in 1681 days


#13 posted 09-11-2018 02:59 PM



“The key to decent sliding action is a proper fit (and consideration for wood movement). The best thing I have found for ultra smooth action are the HDPE (or other plastics) inserts that take the load/abuse on the drawer runners.”

+1 – Splintergroup

If you mount the UHMW or HDPE slide inside the box and cut the slot for the slid in the side of the drawer you won t ever see the white HDPE. Cut a shallow slot for the HDPE inside the box and then use some flat countersunk screws to secure it.

- EarlS

I used the method Earl suggests in this dresser except I used Oak runners rather than HDPE. So far, the loaded drawers function perfectly. I put small tabs on the backs of the drawer boxes that can be flipped up so the drawers won’t completely come out.
Click for details

I used the same method in this small cabinet with HDPE runners. However, I forgot to drill holes for screws before I glued the cabinet up so I ended up putting the runners on the drawers instead. Works fine for shop fixtures. Wouldn’t do it for anything nice though!
Click for details

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Dustin's profile

Dustin

702 posts in 1283 days


#14 posted 09-11-2018 03:59 PM


“The key to decent sliding action is a proper fit (and consideration for wood movement). The best thing I have found for ultra smooth action are the HDPE (or other plastics) inserts that take the load/abuse on the drawer runners.”

+1 – Splintergroup

If you mount the UHMW or HDPE slide inside the box and cut the slot for the slid in the side of the drawer you won t ever see the white HDPE. Cut a shallow slot for the HDPE inside the box and then use some flat countersunk screws to secure it.

- EarlS

I used the method Earl suggests in this dresser except I used Oak runners rather than HDPE. So far, the loaded drawers function perfectly. I put small tabs on the backs of the drawer boxes that can be flipped up so the drawers won t completely come out.
Click for details

I used the same method in this small cabinet with HDPE runners. However, I forgot to drill holes for screws before I glued the cabinet up so I ended up putting the runners on the drawers instead. Works fine for shop fixtures. Wouldn t do it for anything nice though!
Click for details

- HokieKen

Kenny for the win! And what a beautiful dresser that’s sure to become an heirloom. I admire the amount of work you put into those pulls, but I tend to favor round. I actually like square pulls better, but the possibility of them rotating slightly and becoming askew gives me a minor anxiety attack :p

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

3238 posts in 2891 days


#15 posted 09-11-2018 05:21 PM

I have used the slick tape on the bottom of the drawer so that it slides along the cleats or whatever wood males up the bottom of the box opening, as long as it has something to slide on. The biggest problem is that it is a sloppy slide, both side to side and top to bottom. Plus you can’t open it too far or the whole drawer falls out.

Another option is the bottom mounted dovetail slide. It’s not visible and it is reasonably tight but still has problems when the drawer is half open or more.

If your drawer is big, or heavy, or you want to open it all the way you probably need metal glides. I used 100 lb glides on the drawers in our built in closets since they were deep, wide, and needed to be able to pull out all the way.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View Mr_Pink's profile

Mr_Pink

176 posts in 914 days


#16 posted 09-11-2018 11:40 PM

Have you considered dividing the drawer into two? I know wide drawers are common on desks, but narrower drawers would be less cumbersome. Also, I dislike the wide, shallow drawer on my office desk.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5415 posts in 2852 days


#17 posted 09-12-2018 03:13 AM

Dustin:

Blum undermounts. Nobody would know they were there if you didn’t tell them.

I believe the reason the old times didn’t use metal slides was because the weren’t available.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Dustin's profile

Dustin

702 posts in 1283 days


#18 posted 09-12-2018 01:04 PM

Well, folks, I certainly appreciate all the responses, but I got some bad news…the professor went out and bought a desk yesterday. That’s right, I got Ikea’d. :p

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5415 posts in 2852 days


#19 posted 09-12-2018 03:09 PM



Well, folks, I certainly appreciate all the responses, but I got some bad news…the professor went out and bought a desk yesterday. That s right, I got Ikea d. :p

- Dustin

Price is King.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View CWWoodworking's profile

CWWoodworking

528 posts in 722 days


#20 posted 09-12-2018 10:47 PM

Probably had metal slides. :). Just messing with you.

Honestly though, I sold furniture for a long time. One of the companies I dealt with was stead fastly against the added cost of slides. Their argument was “we have never had one problem with wood on wood”. And they were right!

The problem was all their competitors had smooth undermounts. People related to it because of kitchen cabinets.

They company I am speaking of went out of business because of resistance to change.

Their system was the best I ever seen. It was a simple center mounted wood c channel that ran on a center mounted wood piece mounted on cabinet. There was also a tilt rail above the drawer so it didn’t just fall after half way. Numerous was to stop it from coming all the way out.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5415 posts in 2852 days


#21 posted 09-13-2018 12:07 AM

For me personally, I like the ability of full extension and over travel without the drawer tipping down when fully open.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5772 posts in 3786 days


#22 posted 09-13-2018 04:54 PM

The center slide is the traditional method for drawer construction, but for a DESK, metal side mount slides are best.

View ppg677's profile

ppg677

219 posts in 1399 days


#23 posted 09-14-2018 09:42 AM


In my hometown we have a furniture company that ditches the runners all together. What they did- to my knowledge- is make the drawers completely flush with the dresser and then line the bottom with a generous coat of paraffin wax. Works like a charm. Hope this helps!

- TheRamenShaman

+1

I hate metal drawer slides. I find them harder to deal with. I built a chest with a 30”, 18” deep, 6” high drawer. My construction precision wasn’t perfect and trying to use metal glides was a disaster. I abandoned and did wood runners and HDPE tape. Smooth enough for me.

View J_J's profile

J_J

10 posts in 253 days


#24 posted 03-19-2019 11:10 PM

I’ve run into this issue with mid-century modern furniture when it come to refurbishing or rebuilding it. I have noticed a good amount of them use small plastic nail in disks or small nail in plastic tabs where the drawers slide/run. I have been purchasing my plastic hardware from either Ace Hardware or Swisco.

Below is an example of what I’m talking about.

https://www.swisco.com/Disc-Roller-Standard/pd/Other-Drawer_Cabinet-Replacement-Hardware/32-011

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

1040 posts in 3336 days


#25 posted 03-20-2019 12:05 PM

I added HDPE tape under drawers in 100 year old built in cabinets in our home. Works great.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com