Functionality Is As Important As Beauty

Don’t forget your drawer glides!

When you begin a project, so often your main concern is the finish of your project. But no matter how beautiful a piece of furniture is, functionality is just as important. Today we are going to address drawer slides. So often drawer slides don’t work, are damaged or are missing.

First, let’s address the types of drawer slides – There are 3 different types:

Wooden drawer glides

1. Wooden Slides – Traditionally, drawers have slid on wooden runners: strips of wood tenoned into horizontal rails at the face of a cabinet/dresser/chest.

Wooden runners have pros and cons. They can work wonderfully when drawers fit well, but you don’t want them to fit so snugly that it’s a challenge to open and close. A good fitting drawer can stick in humid weather in locales where humidity fluctuates significantly from season to season. Wooden slides let your drawer sides and joinery shine without metal hardware and they allow the face of your drawer to function as a finished face. However, they don’t allow for the full extension, because once you pull the drawer out to a certain point, it will sag and can even fall out.

This type of slide can usually be repaired.

Ball Bearing Drawer Glides

2. Ball Bearing Slides also have good points and drawbacks. While they are easy to install and they allow the drawer to be removed by disengaging a lever, they are not completely silent and they usually very noticeable. And while they are adjustable, they also take up space in the cabinet’s width.

These usually can’t be repaired, and in most cases should just be replaced.

Roller Drawer Glides

3. Roller Slides – Roller Slides come in side-mount and bottom-mount. They come in many different sizes. These slides all for full extension and are easily replaced. Side-mounted roller slides typically bear more weight than bottom mount slides.

Wooden slides can usually be repaired, while ball bearing slides and roller slides usually can’t be repaired and just need to be replaced.

Slides can be purchased at most big box stores, Rockler woodworking, and Amazon. I CANNOT STRESS HOW IMPORTANT measuring both your old and replacement slides can be. Small differences in size can make a HUGE difference in the way they fit. Be sure to order the correct type and the correct size to ensure your drawer closes properly after replacement.

If you would like to see my Youtube video with some examples of this, please click HERE.

Leave a Reply