Drawer slide pet peeve

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Forum topic by rhett posted 01-08-2010 03:38 PM 4317 views 1 time favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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742 posts in 3633 days

01-08-2010 03:38 PM

I see alot of projects on here and I often see one of my bigger pet peeves. Why would some of you guys build beautiful casework, take the time to mill dovetail drawers, and then screw those hideous ball bearing slides to the sides of the drawers you made? They’re ok for shop cabinets, but if your going to spend all that time constructing and finishing a nice cabinet, why not spend a couple extra bucks and use some undermounts. I think its worth it.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

17 replies so far

View Ger21's profile


1074 posts in 3097 days

#1 posted 01-08-2010 03:44 PM

Good quality undermounts can add at least $25/drawer. A lot of times budget is an important factor in the design. In my kitchen, I made 23 dovetailed drawers. I didn’t have an extra $600 for undermount slides.

-- Gerry,

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4184 days

#2 posted 01-08-2010 03:56 PM

Woodworking is always going to cost money. Unless you are lucky enough to have an unlimited budget, you have to decide where to economize.

I make boxes mostly for fun and to give away as gifts. I could easily spend $75 per box on first-class hinges, catches, lid supports. etc., but thats just not financially practical.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3081 days

#3 posted 01-08-2010 03:57 PM

as dum as I am and a newbee I politly asking what is undermounts
can someone show on a picture or something
it can be interesting in the future


View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4184 days

#4 posted 01-08-2010 04:05 PM

These are from Rockler and start at $52.99 per pair.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3081 days

#5 posted 01-08-2010 04:18 PM

thank´s Charlie
I was thinking of something like that
but have never seen them here in Denmark
but then again it was ten years ago that I made the kitchen


View Randy Sharp's profile

Randy Sharp

363 posts in 3638 days

#6 posted 01-08-2010 04:22 PM

This brings a question to mind. What application determines whether to use slides or not? For example, I built a chest of drawers and am finishing a china cabinet now. No slides, just direct drawer frame to unit frame contact.

I would guess that something like kitchen cabinets (getting constant use) would require mechanical slides, while many furniture projects would not necessarily need them. What say ye? Thanks!

-- Randy, Tupelo, MS ~ A man who honors his wife will have children who honor their father.

View rhett's profile


742 posts in 3633 days

#7 posted 01-08-2010 04:22 PM

Charlie $53!!!! What a rip off. Rockler has ridiculously high prices on everything in their catalog. Minimum searching around the web will result in a better set of slides than those pictured, for more than half that price.

Randy I too believe that true furniture pieces need little more than wood runners. On a functional piece mechanical slides are necessary. At the end of the day, the overall feeling of the quality comes from the hardware used on the doors and drawers.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3840 days

#8 posted 01-08-2010 04:28 PM

I guess hideous is in the eye of the beholder. So you can see the slides when you open the drawer … you can see the cup hinges when you open a door, and no one gripes about those.

I offer undermounts as an upgrade – it increases the price of each drawer by about $25. I’ve only had one taker – when I offered it as a free upgrade.

If you really want to show off your craftsmanship, you should make your own full extension double-sliding-dovetail drawer slides.

-- -- --

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3252 days

#9 posted 01-08-2010 04:35 PM

While you have a good point, I will agree with the others that money is always going to be a factor in those descisions. Keep in mind that guys doing a personal project are not paying for the extra time involved to make dovetail drawers.They are, however, shelling out a lot of money for undermount slides. Most people would love to have them, but as Charlie and Gerry said, few have the money. In a cabinet shop, those desisions are usually made by the customer.

If I ever build a new kitchen, I intend to use them. For now I guess I’ll live with my hideous guides. They are all I could afford at the time. To be honest, I really never look at the slides when I open my drawers. I’m usually desperately trying to get a fork so I can eat.


View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3614 days

#10 posted 01-08-2010 04:50 PM

Charlie – so you mean all those boxes you’ve been giving me don’t have first class hardware in them? geeeez… THANKS!

I actually had no idea undermounts are that much more expensive. of course, for certain furniture pieces, where the elegance of the drawer needs to be kept – sometimes a slide is not even necessary. I think the slides are mostly useful for utility purposes – such as kitchen cabinets, shop cabinets, etc. but for pieces like a sideboard, valet, and some desks, and such, a pretty drawer with no hardware would be the way to go.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3556 days

#11 posted 01-08-2010 05:15 PM

If you are commissioned to make a piece then the client is paying for the guides. Personally my standard guides are blum tandem undermount, and my estimate covers them. The client can pay extra for blumotion. I’ve never seen guides over $30 a pair, and I get mine for half of that for 21” blums. I guess if you do it for a living you search for sources that aren’t mind boggling expensive. For instance, Rockler is not for a professional cabinet shop, where as Louis and Company is.

There are certain circumstances that require a side mount guide, like for heavy duty file drawers. If you are building your own kitchen and budget is that tight maybe consider thowing in some cheap plywood drawers with white epoxy guides as a temporary solution and when finances are available upgrade to dovetail with undermount guides. If you use dovetail with side mount guides you can still upgrade later but you have to install fillers, and you will have holes in the sides of your drawers.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View GFYS's profile


711 posts in 3437 days

#12 posted 01-08-2010 05:17 PM

full extension heavy duty cushioned close drawer slides are more than just hidden. A drawer that is heavily used will last much longer and adds to the value of the cabinet as much as the dovetails.

View 8iowa's profile


1580 posts in 3727 days

#13 posted 01-08-2010 05:29 PM

The ball bearing slides have their place, especially for cabinets and chests that hold a lot of weight, or see a lot of use. They also support the drawer firmly when it is fully extended. They do require some accurate woodworking. These slides don’t have a lot of “slop”, so case and drawer dimensions have to be exact.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Ger21's profile


1074 posts in 3097 days

#14 posted 01-08-2010 05:47 PM

Commercial shops can typically get hardware for about half the price that we hobbiests pay. I’ve worked in a large commercial shop for the last 15 years and am amazed at how cheap some hardware items are when purchased in bulk, vs what hobbiests pay. I never buy hardware at Rockler, and buy most of my stuff at

Just took a look, and it looks like the price of Blum Tandems has dropped substantially since I last looked. Looks like they may be on sale right now, but 21” Tandems are about $22/pair. Still double what a top of the line ball bearing slide (KV 8400) is, though.

-- Gerry,

View stevemc's profile


15 posts in 3089 days

#15 posted 01-08-2010 05:58 PM

I have used all of the above at one time or another, but on some furniture pieces, like chest of drawers I have used inexpensive wooden slides to avoid the look of kitchen drawers. If I did this link right. If not check Woodworkers supply.

-- Steve, Gainesville, Fl

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