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Best wood choices for sliding dovetail drawer slides?

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Forum topic by JeffP posted 01-24-2015 01:19 PM 1500 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JeffP

573 posts in 857 days


01-24-2015 01:19 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question joining router wood choice

I’m a newbie/hobbiest WW, and just setting up my first significant WW shop.

Partly for practice with my new tools and partly for utility, I’m starting a drawer project for my workbench.

I could just be normal and use some metal drawer slides for these drawers, but as I mentioned above, part of this project is to get some practice with my new tools (including a full-boat Incra system). So I’m thinking I want to try making the drawer slides using sliding dovetails.

Obviously one would want to choose an appropriate type of wood for that. It seems to me though that just taking the “hardness” into account is not the best route to a good choice. Rather than just hard, I think I need a wood that is “tough”. That is to say, one that is hard but also resistant to splits and splintering.

While we are at it…keep in mind I’m a newbie at all of this, so among nearly equal choices, one that is easier to work with would certainly be preferable.

What wood should I pick?

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.


16 replies so far

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Crank50

173 posts in 1041 days


#1 posted 01-24-2015 01:56 PM

Best wood for slides would be Osage Orange in m opinion.
The next best would be UHMWPE or HMWPE.
Then the very best would be HD full extension drawer slides.
And really, if you plan to use the drawer for anything, other than to show off your dovetail skills, I would forget about those first two choices.

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Jesse

58 posts in 1091 days


#2 posted 01-24-2015 01:57 PM

I use maple a lot in my woodworking. It is tough, and pretty affordable really. Very durable wood

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JeffP

573 posts in 857 days


#3 posted 01-24-2015 02:10 PM

Thanks Crank. Are you worried they would break, or be difficult to slide?


Best wood for slides would be Osage Orange in m opinion.
The next best would be UHMWPE or HMWPE.
Then the very best would be HD full extension drawer slides.
And really, if you plan to use the drawer for anything, other than to show off your dovetail skills, I would forget about those first two choices.

- Crank50


-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

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crank49

3981 posts in 2436 days


#4 posted 01-27-2015 03:57 AM

No, not afraid of breakage, but after having built some equipment with full extension slides and seeing how well they work and how much better it is to reveal the entire contents of the drawer and there is no racking or hanging. Just a better way to go if functionality is the goal.

Wouldn’t use them on a piece of furniture because asthetics come into play there. Not so much so for shop drawers.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

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Ghidrah

667 posts in 687 days


#5 posted 01-27-2015 05:15 AM

I’ve used white pine, maple, walnut and mahogany, pretty much depends on the type and size of the drawer and how heavy it’s going to get with all the junk stuffed into it. While the DT slide keeps the drawer square my prob with sliding DTs as opposed to straight slides is moisture, in the summer in our area the bottom drawer is always jamming. The 2 upper drawers I did straight, while they’re sloppy they open and close easy and both are packed with junk.

-- I meant to do that!

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JeffP

573 posts in 857 days


#6 posted 01-27-2015 12:28 PM

By “straight”, you mean box style or finger type instead of DT?

How wide did you make your pins and grooves?


I ve used white pine, maple, walnut and mahogany, pretty much depends on the type and size of the drawer and how heavy it s going to get with all the junk stuffed into it. While the DT slide keeps the drawer square my prob with sliding DTs as opposed to straight slides is moisture, in the summer in our area the bottom drawer is always jamming. The 2 upper drawers I did straight, while they re sloppy they open and close easy and both are packed with junk.

- Ghidrah


-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

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bonesbr549

1176 posts in 2532 days


#7 posted 01-27-2015 02:07 PM

I prefer tight grained hardwoods. Since a majority of my drawers are Maple, I use that. Soft maple (don’t be fooled that does not mean soft wood) is generally cheaper than hardrock or bigleaf. Never had an issue I’d stay away from soft woods, as they wear over time.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

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bonesbr549

1176 posts in 2532 days


#8 posted 01-27-2015 02:13 PM

I prefer tight grained hardwoods. Since a majority of my drawers are Maple, I use that. Soft maple (don’t be fooled that does not mean soft wood) is generally cheaper than hardrock or bigleaf. Never had an issue I’d stay away from soft woods, as they wear over time.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

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Ghidrah

667 posts in 687 days


#9 posted 01-28-2015 09:11 PM

Straight meaning no DT just glue and or screw a square or rectangle in place for the drawer to slide

-- I meant to do that!

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bondogaposis

4034 posts in 1816 days


#10 posted 01-28-2015 11:02 PM

Sliding dovetails can be pretty fussy due to wood movement, grabby during periods of high humidity and loose in the dry season. I also think that they are unnecessary. A dado in the drawer’s side and a cleat in the carcase is all you need. I like maple or birch, smooth tight grained woods that take wax well.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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TuffO

15 posts in 676 days


#11 posted 02-01-2015 07:24 PM

I am designing some drawers for a project, I will be watching this thread closely. Great info guys!

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bobro

308 posts in 776 days


#12 posted 02-01-2015 08:12 PM



Sliding dovetails can be pretty fussy due to wood movement, grabby during periods of high humidity and loose in the dry season. I also think that they are unnecessary. A dado in the drawer s side and a cleat in the carcase is all you need. I like maple or birch, smooth tight grained woods that take wax well.

- bondogaposis

If the sides of the cabinet are solid wood, with the grain going vertically as usual, what do you attach the cleat to and how? Either the cleat is running between frame members, or the cleat’s in a groove and glued only at the front, or it’s done like a batten, or something, because you can’t just screw a long cleat cross-grain to a solid wood panel.

-- Lao Ma: You are so full of anger and hatred. Xena: Everybody's gotta be full of something.

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bondogaposis

4034 posts in 1816 days


#13 posted 02-01-2015 08:32 PM

Bobro, Generally I screw the cleat to the front side normally and use an oversize or elongated hole for the screw through the cleat at the rear of the cabinet side. Only 2 screws are needed in most applications.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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bobro

308 posts in 776 days


#14 posted 02-01-2015 08:37 PM


Bobro, Generally I screw the cleat to the front side normally and use an oversize or elongated hole for the screw through the cleat at the rear of the cabinet side. Only 2 screws are needed in most applications.

- bondogaposis

Cool, that’s what I meant by “done like a batten”. It would suck if the original poster went through all the trouble of wood slides then cracked the panel with the slide part!

-- Lao Ma: You are so full of anger and hatred. Xena: Everybody's gotta be full of something.

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TuffO

15 posts in 676 days


#15 posted 02-01-2015 08:58 PM

Wood using a wood with high oil content (cocobolo, Rosewood) as the slide/cleat help aid in the movement of the drawer?

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