drawer slides? metal, wood, or just guides?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Designing Woodworking Projects forum

Forum topic by Tim_456 posted 04-19-2016 12:17 AM 1286 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Tim_456's profile


172 posts in 3836 days

04-19-2016 12:17 AM

Topic tags/keywords: drawer slides drawer drawer guides dresser

Hello, I’m designing a dresser and I’d like to know how one determines if they should use metal drawer slides, wooden ones, or just the carcass as the guides with some slides?

I’m mainly trying to understand if just using wooden guides will be ok? How do you keep the drawer from falling out when you pull it forward? I’d like to avoid the cost of metal slides, but do wooden guides work well?

I hope my question is clean, thanks in advance.

6 replies so far

View JBrow's profile


1366 posts in 1161 days

#1 posted 04-19-2016 04:37 AM


Drawer glides are nice because the drawers operate smoothly, can afford full access to the drawer, keep it in place when pulling it out, and require less interior structure. But wooden runners work fine. They can be made to operate a little more smoothly by waxing the drawer and the runners, but, depending on the design, adding “slick tape” (UHMW) self-adhesive tape to the runners requires no periodic maintenance. A rail running front to back can help hold the drawer more or less level when in a pulled-out position if a side or bottom mounted captured runner system is not used. The back of the drawer box contacts this top front to back anti-tilt rail and reduces the downward tilt of the drawer box. But the side or bottom mounted captured runner system probably work best to resist downward tilting of the open drawer.

I am sure there are many ways to keep a drawer from being pulled from a dresser during normal use. These are the two I have used. A simple dowel in an oversized hole drilled into the top edge of the drawer box back acts as a stop. The front to back anti-tilt rail with a slot down the center provides a place for the dowel to run when the drawer is opened and closed. The dowel can be removed when the drawer must be removed from the dresser. In place, it contacts the front end of the top anti-tilt rail preventing the drawer from coming out in use. I have also installed a flip up stop that hangs down inside the dresser’s drawer cavity. The stop can be flipped up toward the rear of the dresser to remove the drawer box from the dresser. Since the stop does not rotate toward the front of the project, the back of the drawer would contact the stop keeping the drawer from being pulled out during normal use.

View rwe2156's profile


3237 posts in 1722 days

#2 posted 04-19-2016 12:06 PM

You can simply install runners and kickers they will work find.

One simple way is to use drawer dividers that go in a dado on the side. This will depend somewhat on how you plane to build it, solid panel sides vs. frame and panel. The dividers act as both the drawer guide and the kicker (part on top that keep drawer from tipping out). The drawers are built with close enough tolerances on the sides so they will not tip that much when pulled out.

You can also make the drawers such that the back is inset a few inches from the end so that when the drawer is pulled out there is still a bit of the sides extending beyond. This simulates a full extension slide, so to speak.

IMO metal slides are totally inappropriate in fine furniture of any kind.
If one just had to, at least use the undermount type.

Doucette and Wolfe have a good video on the construction process.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2688 posts in 3163 days

#3 posted 04-19-2016 12:12 PM

I prefer wooden slides. Works well in my tool box and all my shop drawers. Fun to make and function well.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Website>

View johnstoneb's profile


3072 posts in 2414 days

#4 posted 04-19-2016 03:46 PM

I prefer wooden slides. I think they are easier to install and fit. Once fit and waxed look out when opening the drawer. They slide well.
check my projects all the drawers are hand fit on wooden slides

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View AlaskaGuy's profile


5002 posts in 2550 days

#5 posted 04-19-2016 05:47 PM

Hard to beat Blum under mounts with soft close.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Tim_456's profile


172 posts in 3836 days

#6 posted 04-20-2016 12:29 AM

thank you all for the replies! I think I’m going to with just wooden runners (and kickers!) and I’ll post pictures of the project. I’ve used the metal glides in the past, any they work great, but they don’t look too good when opened and I don’t like the space they take up. I just needed a bit of validation and a sanity check! thanks again for taking the time to reply.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics