Tips for Choosing Drawer Slides
Nothing can influence the quality of a project more than the drawer slides the user chooses. Whether it’s for the office, shop, work station, break room, or for a personal project, selecting the right drawer slides can add the right touch to any space.
Choosing the Right Slides
When selecting two-way slides, the installer must consider the mount, extension type, and slide length, weight limit, color, finish, and brand. There are five different mounting options; and typically, the type of option chosen is determined by factors like, the amount of space inside the cabinet, slide visibility, and cost.
Bottom-mounted slides are typically guided by rollers rather than by ball bearings. The mount has an angled flange that holds the double wall drawer box and indexes the slide for quick, easy installation. These are most often used on frameless cabinets, but can be adapted to face-frame cabinets as well.
Side-mounted slides are attached horizontally to the cabinet body and to the drawer. These slides are useful in multiple applications because of their durability and high weight limits. Side-mounted slides can be bought with either a roller or ball bearing mechanism, but the latter are more durable over time.
Center-mounted slides mount under the drawer’s center. They somewhat restrict drawer height, weight limit, and cabinet size, but they are simpler to install.
Under-mounted slides mount to the cabinet sides. They are ideal when accentuating the cabinetry’s quality because they are invisible. These slides are perfect in areas with limited horizontal space.
Groove-mounted slides aren’t commonly used in the U.S., but they can be seen on crafted furniture imported from Europe. This access hardware has a lighter load rating and is only used in partial extension variations.
Choosing the Right Slide Length
Users should consider the right extension and slide length when choosing a set of drawer slides. They can last for many years, which makes it important for the assembler to choose a configuration they will be happy with for a long time. There is nothing as frustrating as a drawer that will not open as far as it should or a countertop that keeps the drawer from being opened at all. By choosing the right spring-loaded drawer slides, problems such as these can be avoided.
Why Choose Reid Industrial Supply
We continue to offer our customers only the most trusted products and industrial supplies from top name brand manufacturers. Reid Industrial Supply makes it easy for you to shop for tools online and browse through thousands of items. If you’re looking for something specific in drawer slides, or other access hardware and accessories, talk to one of our customer service experts for information and product application knowledge.
Wooden Drawer Slides
If you can’t bear the thought of adding a chunk of metal hardware to your elegantly crafted creation but still want the convenience of a slide, consider using wooden concealed drawer slides. These mount underneath your drawers and provide many of the advantages of a metal slide without the manufactured look. Rubbing a little paraffin on the mating parts keeps things gliding beautifully.
Wooden slides offer near full-extension capacity while remaining quiet and unobtrusive. You can purchase these mating, dovetail slides or make them yourself with the help of a table-mounted router. While not entirely wooden, this track/glide combination offers smooth motion at a fraction of the cost of a set of metal slides.
Slide and drawer sizes
Most drawer slides are available in even lengths ranging from 10" to 28" with a couple odd lengths (15" and 21") thrown in. They also carry weight ratings. To choose the right length, measure both the depth of your cabinet and the length (front to back) of your drawer(s). Undermount slides are designed to match the drawer length. With the other slides, you typically get slides that are approximately 1" shorter than the depth of your cabinet.
As for the weight ratings, consider what you are going to put in the drawers and purchase slides up to the challenge. Canned foods, files, and tools will require heavier duty slides than clothing and linens.
Possibly more important than drawer length is drawer width, particularly with side-mounted slides. Most slides require 1?2" of space per slide, which means you need to make your drawers 1" narrower than the opening they are to fit in, but check the specifications for the soft close drawer slides you are using first.
Other factors to consider include the slide material and finish. Most slides with hinge are made from steel, but for outdoor applications, a few models come in stainless. As for finish, zinc-plating (silver) is the most common, although some manufacturers include white, off-white, brown, and black in their offerings.
Drawer motion with concealed hinge, 90 degree hinge, face frame hinge, etc.
Still other options include drawer-motion engineering. Some slides are available with a self-closing feature. With these, a pair of springs take over for the last couple of inches as you push the drawer closed, retracting the drawer into its opening without allowing it to slam. Some slides offer a “push-to-open” feature. With these, a gentle push on the drawer face causes the drawer to pop out of the cabinet a few inches, eliminating the need for drawer pulls.
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