Drawers - commercial slides or wood runners

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Forum topic by Ben posted 11-29-2012 11:33 PM 2199 views 1 time favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Ben's profile


376 posts in 2883 days

11-29-2012 11:33 PM

Hi All,
About to start building my kitchen cabinets.

Option A: Build the drawer narrower and shorter than the opening to allow for undermount slides, then attach a second drawer front. Use through dovetails which I would either cut by hand or on the table saw.

Option B: Build it like a piece of furniture, with the drawer built tight to the opening minus the reveal, half blind dovetails and wood runners, and the front of the drawer box is exposed.

Option B might be cheaper, but then longer to cut the half blinds. And I’m not sure if the drawer action would be depressing.


26 replies so far

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2949 days

#1 posted 11-30-2012 12:04 AM

Considering the amount of use a kitchen cabinet gets,I’d opt for the commercial slides. I like the wooden slides for bedroom type furniture. JMHO

-- Life is good.

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2711 days

#2 posted 11-30-2012 12:09 AM

I’d go with option b (and you don’t need dovetails…dado will work…who other than you will know???). Option b will require some lube from time to time (paste wax works).

modern drawer slides are moving towards the “soft close” or “self close” and are relatively expensive plus are a PITA to install I think.

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1288 posts in 3763 days

#3 posted 11-30-2012 12:20 AM

I use the accuride side mount slides and the Blum under mount soft close slides. It depends on the use. I also recommend you consider pull out trays in the lower cabinets. Better use of space and very convenient. The under mount slides are actually quite easy to install once you understand how they work.
It costs more up front, but is well worth it.
You also might consider buying the drawers pre-built or delivered knocked down where you glue them together. The modern equipment and suppliers of today can do it at reasonable costs and with great accuracy.

It is no big deal to add the drawer faces on the drawer boxes.

Also think about installing soft close door hinges. They are also worth it.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View cutworm's profile


1075 posts in 2820 days

#4 posted 11-30-2012 01:00 AM

I’m with Howie.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View Ben's profile


376 posts in 2883 days

#5 posted 11-30-2012 01:47 AM

Thanks guys.

This is for my own house, which I’ve been painstakingly working on for four years now and is a large part of my portfolio as a builder.
With that in mind, I really don’t want to order the drawers. You’re right that $19 is crazy cheap. But then again, it’s plywood with a 1/4” bottom. I want to do solid wood sides and a 1/2” bottom minimum.
I want to take my time, and make the nicest, most custom cabinets I possibly can.
When I open my drawers, I want to admire my dovetails, and I want potential future buyers of this house to feel the same.
Maybe this is crazy (probably), but what the hey.

I will do slide-out shelves, but I’m thinking basically the lowers will be chock full of drawers rather than doors anyway.

Thanks again.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2388 days

#6 posted 11-30-2012 01:47 AM

Jonathan has it right, though I’d go for full extension self closing side mounts for both cabinets and furniture.

Side Note: Those who turn their noses up at commercial slides for furniture probably couldn’t fit up a drawer properly if their lives depended on it.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3675 days

#7 posted 11-30-2012 02:03 AM

for kitchen I’d go commercial slides. soft close is ideal if you can go for the extra cost.

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

View Ben's profile


376 posts in 2883 days

#8 posted 11-30-2012 02:05 AM

About the only thing that appeals to me about the commercial slides, is that I would do through dovetails on the box (faster), and slap on a second face piece to fit the opening.

Do you guys think I’m insane for wanting to hand cut dovetails on about 10-15 drawers?

View Ben's profile


376 posts in 2883 days

#9 posted 11-30-2012 02:19 AM

OK Jonathan – thank you.
So you have used that company before? (Or are you affiliated with them?)
Heck, I’d love to pay $20 just for the components milled to my spec’s.

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2137 days

#10 posted 11-30-2012 03:08 AM

I prefer Blum under mount, self and soft closing, full extension, hidden slides in kitchens. Wooden slides are perfect for traditional fine furniture, but not in modern kitchens, even if the kitchen won’t look modern.

I DO NOT like “pull-outs”, and lots of current kitchen designers agree… Why open a door to pull out a drawer? In any base cabinet where you’re considering pull-outs, consider changing to a deep drawer (or several). It’s also much easier to close a drawer with full hands, in a typical kitchen situation, than a pull-out / door combo.

BTW… I dovetailed my own kitchen, but I did a near-hand cut look with a D4R and variable spacing, using the smallest pins possible. If you really want to hand cut them, go for it. You’ll be really good at it when you’re done! ;^)

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2388 days

#11 posted 11-30-2012 03:56 PM

With available glues, Titebond for instance, butt glued and screwed/pinned drawers are as serviceable as dovetailed assemblies. The only reason, IMO, to handcut dovetails is to elevate one’s self esteem. When I outsource drawers, it’s dovetails because that’s the only way they come, otherwise it’s glue and screw/pin.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View pintodeluxe's profile


5706 posts in 2840 days

#12 posted 11-30-2012 05:08 PM

If I built more cabinets, I would make inset drawers. However, I would never use wood slides in a kitchen. Wood slides are really terrible – they stick, require waxing, and let the drawer sag too much. Plus they require additional blocking.
I have been very pleased with the look of centermount accuride slides. The slides are invisible even with the drawer open, allowing you to display your dovetail joints.
Oh, by the way – don’t cut them by hand – that is way too much work for a kitchen. Machine cut dovetils look just as nice, especially with a deep bit. See my forum on the topic below…

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3185 days

#13 posted 11-30-2012 05:33 PM

So what you want, but wood slides would get old really fast.

-- jay,

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2711 days

#14 posted 11-30-2012 06:18 PM

I’ll chime in…1/4 ply for the bottoms should be more than adequate (but than again I don’t store my anvil in my kitchen). Hardwood runners are still present in pieces built a 100+ years ago.

My kitchen I used self-close side mounted ball-bearing slides that cost about $10/pair…a lot of cussing involved because the wife wanted the counter-top installed before I finished the face frames/drawers. Was very much a yoga thing.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4151 days

#15 posted 11-30-2012 06:28 PM

I’m all for going all-out on the woodworking, but I’m a big fan of metal ball bearing slides in the kitchen. When I’m in the midst of cooking I want to be able to close drawers with a hip bump or a light kick. And kitchens get messy and have alternating humidity, which means wood slides will take a lot of tuning.

When we were deciding on a course of action, I bought a bunch of slides (and Accuride sent me a few) and I built some test rigs and tried 'em all out. We ended up with the Blum slildes, but those videos and notes might help you. Or they might just be more noise…. [grin]

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

showing 1 through 15 of 26 replies

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