Hardwood drawer slides

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Forum topic by Chris208 posted 08-26-2012 05:35 PM 5231 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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239 posts in 2267 days

08-26-2012 05:35 PM

Hello LJs! I am building a small night stand for my niece, and I want to use hardwood drawer slides (the kind where the drawer sides have a routed slot to accept the runner), and I have some questions.

1. What is the best type I’d wood to use for the runners and the drawer sides?

2. Is it ok to use just glue to attach the runner to the table apron?

3. Any tips for getting the drawer to close at the right depth?

I have not glued up the table yet. Should I attach the runners before or after putting the table together?

Any other tips or tricks you can share would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks so much!

3 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


4727 posts in 2348 days

#1 posted 08-26-2012 06:54 PM

I like maple or birch for this application because they are very smooth woods that really wax up nice. I would attach the runners before assembly. I would not glue them, use screws, you may have to tweak the fit after you build the drawer. Use 1/4 sawn for the runners, it’s more stable. Finish the runners to a high degree and same w/ the slots in the drawer sides use wax as a top coat.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Sawdust4Blood's profile


404 posts in 3019 days

#2 posted 08-26-2012 06:57 PM

I just finished building a jewelry chest that uses this type of drawer slides. I can’t tell you “the right” answer but I can tell you what I did.

Firstly, I didn’t make the runners out of wood. I went to my local Target and bought a cheap plastic cutting board then ripped that into strips to make the runners. In the past, I had problems using wood runners binding or being too loose because of seasonal expansion/contraction. The plastic runners will stay stable and if you run a card scraper over them, they will be smooth and slippery. They cut just fine without burning on the table saw.

I routed slots in the center of the drawer sides and matching slots in the aprons then epoxied the plastic runners in the apron slots. The length of the runners against the back of the cabinets determines where the drawers stop when closed so cut them a bit long originally and then trim them back to get the stopping position exactly where you want it before you epoxy them in place. If you use a stop block on your router table to ensure that all the slots in the drawer sides are exactly the same length, you should only have to figure out the length on the first set of runners and then cut all the rest to the same length.

I found it easier on my to get the runners placed and fit exactly with the carcass dry fit together and then glued everything up only when I had them all where I wanted them.

For what it’s worth, that’s how I did mine.

If you decide to make your runners from wood, use a tight grained wood you can sand very smooth and then wax it so the drawer glides easily on it. You can glue them in place if the grain of the runners and aprons run in the same direction but you will get only one chance of installing them in the right spot and it will be a pain if you find you need to adjust them later to accommodate expansion/contraction so mounting them with countersunk screws might be more forgiving.

-- Greg, Severn MD

View Rb12's profile


80 posts in 2225 days

#3 posted 08-26-2012 11:05 PM

Funny I literally just finished this piece of a desk this afternoon. It was my first try at it. I had actually installed the runners awhile ago and just built the drawers this weekend (I am a bit time limited).

Anyway I am sure there are plenty here that have made a ton of these and can really fill you in but let me tell you salvation I realized I did wrong.

First, yes make sure you have a good piece of straight, knot free wood. I think I used some scrap pine. Which I think will be fine for these small drawers but there was a small warp to it which was a problem.

Second, screw then don’t glue at least initially. I glued and then when I fit the drawers in I had to use a chisel to tune it bc of the warp.

I built the drawes as tongue in dado and before I put the face piece on the drawer I used a dado stack to cut the channel for the rail to run through. That allowed he drawer to stop when pushing it in appropriately. You can also put a block on te back side of the night stand so the drawer stops there. That would allow you to just use a piece of scrap cut to size at the end.

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