Drawer Slides 101

Woodendrawer

Without drawers, we’d have nowhere to put our socks, underwear, or other clothes. Sure, we could hang things up, but who on earth feels like doing all that work. Nope, just cram your shirts in the drawer and be done with it. In order for our drawers to do all of that beautiful storage stuff, though, they have to open and close properly, and that’s where sliders come in.

There are many kinds of sliders; roller slides, ball-bearing slides, and the star of today’s show, wooden slides. We’re going to give you guys an introduction of sorts to wooden drawer slides, because they work just as hard as the rest, and they deserve some recognition too.

Ok, But What Is a Drawer Slide, Exactly?

Before we get into the specifics of wooden drawer slides, we should probably talk about slides in general. A drawer slide – or runner – is what makes each individual drawer in your dresser slide in and out. When installed properly, they should glide out with ease which allows users to access their things.

How Are Wooden Drawer Slides Constructed?

There’s really no singular way to build a wooden drawer slide. As long as all the component pieces are made of wood, though, they count, so what we’ll do is give a breakdown of the different ways that a person can put together wooden slides.

The traditional way that’s been employed by furniture makers is to tenon wooden strips – meaning they would attach into a mortise with the same dimensions – inside of horizontal rails at the cabinet or dresser’s face. Essentially a piece of wood would have a slot cut into by a router and a corresponding piece of wood would be cut into the same shape so that it could slide neatly into said slot.

If you’re building a drawer whose sides don’t guide it into the cabinet or dresser, then you’ll need to add some guides so that it doesn’t do that annoying wobble thing – you know, where it veers off to the sides – or gets stuck when pushing it closed. This is a must for drawers that have face frames that extend into the opening of the drawer.

If you’re into that kind of thing, your wooden drawer slides can also be constructed with dowels. If you’re totally new to this, a dowel is a cylinder-shaped rod that can be made of plastic, metal, or – of course – wood. You can actually cut slots into the drawers that have approximately the same dimensions as your dowels and simply slide them into the dresser or cabinet onto the dowels themselves.

The Pros and Cons of Wooden Drawer Slides

Wooden drawer runners are amazing, but they can be just as tricky and troublesome as any other kind of drawer slide. Like with anything, there’s both pros and cons, but we think we’ll start with the good stuff first. For starters, if they’ve been installed properly and fit well, they work excellently. It takes quite a bit of work to make them snug without getting stuck when trying to open or close. If you’re building them yourself, they don’t involve much cost, either. If you’ve got all the tools to make them, you could be well on your way to making your own cabinets. You don’t need to add dummy faces to your cabinet to make it look completed either, once built, that’s a wrap.

That said, you can’t fully extend your drawers with wooden sliders. At a certain point, the drawer will begin to sag and may even fall out under its own weight. Well fitted wooden drawer sliders can also stick to themselves and become hard to open in humid weather.

If you didn’t know much about wooden drawer slides, we hope that we’ve managed to teach you some things to get you started. Regardless of whether you wanted to actually put together your own wooden drawer runners or if you’re just curious about them, read and re-read until you’ve had your fill.

If there’s something you want to say about wooden drawer slider, then you can do it in the comments below and remember folks, keep yourselves safe in this new, crazy world out there!

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