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Classic Wood Center Mount Drawer Slide

5876 Views 11 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  davidcolley
I'm building a tall dresser and trying to avoid using metal, ball bearing drawer slides. Anyone have any advise or perhaps direction to a good video on how to install the Rockler style wood winter mount drawer slides like the ones found here?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Just my personal opinion

Metal drawer slides work great. They are easy to install. They work very smoothly and stay that way. They allow you to open the drawers fully with no tipping.

The only reasons I can think of for not using them is aesthetics. If that's the case Blum under mounts can't be seen.
Classic drawer runner is inferior and obsolete. Full extension is superior in all ways. What you should be looking for a method to only open one drawer at a time. Adults and children can be hurt or killed when a dresser tips over.
Hate to rain on your parade, but I agree with Alaska and Rick. When my wife and I bought new bedroom furniture about ten years ago, we bought some solid oak Craftsman stuff, and I built the headboard to save $600.

The center drawer slide on the main drawer in the dresser lasted about two years, and the back snapped. Not a fan, to be honest.
When I refinished antiques, I cannot remember how many of those things I replaced. Give me a good pair of bearing slides any day
If you need a video to install the "Classic drawer slide" I would question your ability to build a dresser.
Look at the link to keep from opening more than one drawer at a time. That's a much bigger issue that most people don't even think about.
Another method to prevent tipping is to attach a french cleat section to the wall and the back of the dresser. Make sure you are in a stud, and secured to hardwood on the furniture. That method does not prevent a toddler from making stair steps out of the drawers though.

Well. I appreciate all the advise (well most of it). The reason I am trying not to use metal slides (although I do agree they are superior - I've used them many times before) is because I am trying to build a more purist project. I have built several projects of the years and yes, I am capable of building a dresser (good grief). My attempt here is NOT to build modern furniture, but to hone my skills by building something with no metal or modern mechanics (screws, nails, and yes - metal drawer glides). Not only am I a woodworker, but I am also appreciate of the elders of woodworkers and their methods and styles.

The dresser I'm building is for an adult - so worrying about it toppling is not a big concern - but i do appreciate the advise and will take it into consideration.

Honesty I do appreciate the advise.

I guess when you post stuff here you get all kinds - even those with poor social skills.

I wonder if there is a place where woodworkers could go to post questions and get feedback from other woodworkers of various skills on various topics. That would be an awesome concept.
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I have recently been toying with the idea of cutting a dado in the outside of the drawer sides, and making a corresponding wood rail on the side board of the drawer. I was thinking this was a good way to avoid the tearout associated with bottom mount drawer slides. It also puts half the stress on the wood 'runners' because there are two of them. Just a thought….havent tried it.

Your website is neat.
Good luck with your dresser.

I have not installed the center wooden glide you are considering but I used wooden side runners. As a result, I am not sure how much help I can be but I will pass on my thoughts. I do know one thing; you want to make sure that when you start hacking into drawer and carcase parts, it is done right since the project is almost finished. The other thing worth mentioning (which you probably know) is that the part being installed is a drawer guide and not intended to fully support the drawer. Side runners are required for drawer support.

Like you, I found no video showing the installation of the center mount wooden glides. MadMark provided the link to the written instructions, which I assume you also saw on the Rockler Web Site under Technical Documents. After reviewing these instructions, I can see why you are looking for some tips.

The major challenges I can see is ensuring proper positioning the center guide and slides so that the drawer slides in and out parallel to the carcase sides and perpendicular to the face frame.

The first challenge is ensuring the cabinet member of the drawer guide is mounted perpendicular with the face frame surface (front of the chest). If you have built drawer frames (the rectangular frames on which the drawers will rest) inside the cabinet this is pretty much done.

If a drawer frame will not be used, then the runners and center drawer guide must be positioned at the back so that these are all in the same plane front to back and the plane is perpendicular with the surface of the face frame. One way to do this is with a framing square. But the framing square may be too long or too short to reach from the face frame to the back plus a framing square may not be accurate. Alternatively, by placing the chest on its back and ensuring the face frame surface is dead level, a plumb bob can be dropped from the face frame to the back from three locations along the face frame. Assuming the surface of the face frame, in the up position, is dead level, accurate readings is the result. If the plumb blob produced accurate readings, all three points will line up on the back and provide a reference line on the inside back of the chest. Then measurements at the front of the chest and back of the chest can be referenced from the same plane.

The next problem is centering the cabinet member and drawer member of the drawer glide in the drawer opening. Measure and mark: 1) the center of the drawer opening at the face frame and extend the face frame center mark to the back of the chest, 2) the drawer front, 3) the drawer back, 4) the drawer guide drawer member (front and back) and 5) the drawer guide cabinet member (front and back). When all the marks are aligned the drawer glide members and the drawer will be centered in the opening. Extending the face frame center mark may require measuring from the center mark at the face frame to the inside side of the chest. Then using this measurement at the back of the chest, the resulting mark will align with the face frame center mark.

The last problem I can see is how to achieve the 7/32" spacing between the drawer guide cabinet member and drawer member. If you can build the drawer boxes and install the drawer glide members (with accurate measurements) so that when the drawer is in place with the drawer guides installed and the drawer resting on the runners, the down facing surface of the drawer member, and the mounting face of the cabinet member are all even and in the same plane, then the adjustment to 7/32" is straightforward. Rip wear strips that are 7/32" thick and install the wear strips so that the drawer sides ride on the wear strips will give the 7/32" space required. Alternatively, milling a wide 17/32" deep dado in ¾" thick stock and then ripping the stock through the center of the dado will produce two L shaped pieces, each with a 7/32" lip. The lip sets on top of the runner and is secured to the side of the runner with single slotted screws. This way the wear strips can be replaced.

The last idea is to consider a test drawer built to the same specs as the drawer boxes. Any mistakes to the test drawer save the final drawer boxes and then if the test drawer fits and works, it can guide installation of the drawer glides. Taking it one step further, a box to represent the drawer cavity of the chest can be built to the same size as a drawer cavity. Both mock ups can be made of scrape plywood nailed together and the drawer cavity only needs to be big enough to allow you to figure out how these things are installed.

I hope this helps but doubt I have provided any insight you do not already have. Anyway, that is all I got and that I hope I have been clear enough for understanding of these ideas. Good luck!
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Thanks guys - some really good advise here.

JBrow - thanks for the tips - definitely will take into consideration.
jacquesr - the website is kind of a side thing. I don't always post everything there. - like this dresser build (I might put it there after I'm done)
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