This is 5 Huge Tips for Installing Drawer Slides. In this post, you’ll learn five super helpful ideas that will make installing your next pair of drawer glides very easy. Enjoy.
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Installing Drawer Slides
Believe it or not, installing drawer slides is actually going to be one of the more difficult things that you have to do as a new woodworker. On the surface, it looks very easy, but in practice, it’s definitely not.
There’s many a beginning woodworker who’s wanted to burn their entire shop to the ground after fighting with a set a drawer glides for the first time. It really comes down to a simple mistake in the beginning, and that makes the entire process very difficult.
The initial mistake is not thinking that you need a jig to install the glides. It’s just much easier to use a jig, and a whole lot less difficult of a process as you get going. Between this tip and the several that are coming up, you’ll be able to do it the easy way right from the beginning.
Pick the Right Slides
If you want to use the easy button, just pick a set of heavy duty, full extension drawer slides that are meant for a higher weight capacity, like a drawer in a workshop. These are pretty common, plain looking, and inexpensive.
Purchase them by the pair, and a matching set are all you need to create a drawer that slides out easily, and smoothly. Get them into your shop before you make your drawer and drawer box, that way you know you have enough clearance.
If you plan on making several drawers, get a ten pack and save even more by purchasing in bulk.
See Also: 15 Helpful Woodworking Bench Design Tips
Make Them Yourself
Another thing you can do is just make the drawer slides yourself. You won’t be able to make them nearly as elaborate as the ones you can buy in the store, but drawers have been made and used for a very long time before metal slides were invented.
Instead of metal and ball bearings, all you need to do is make a couple sticks of wood that slide on top of each other. You could also make one stick and one groove. Again, measure really well so that way your drawer lines up and everything is level.
This is a pretty easy project, because all you need to do is make sure that your two grooves are at the same height, and that your two sliders are also at the same height. Add a little candle wax, and you’ll have an old-fashioned method of opening a drawer that works really well.
See Also: 9 Tidy Workbench Organization Ideas
Consider the Width of the Drawer Opening
Another thing you need to pay attention to when you’re ordering metal drawer slides is that they all have a certain thickness to them. You don’t really have a lot of wiggle room when it comes to how your drawer fits in the drawer box, so you need to watch this measurement.
If the space is too narrow, you’ll pinch the slides, and you’ll have a drawer that doesn’t really open very well, or in some cases won’t open at all. If your measurement is too wide, you won’t be able to get the glides to assemble.
Take a look at the specifications that are given by the manufacturer, and it will tell you how wide of an opening, and how wide of a drawer you need to have for the specific slides. Then, just install them as directed.
Make a Jig to Place Them Evenly
Next, this is probably the most important tip that you can get besides getting the width correct. You absolutely need to use a jig to install your slides. It seems so simple, but in reality they have to be lined up really well in order to work.
This is where a jig makes a big difference. Even with the best measurement, and the best eyes, you just can’t do it as well as when you do it with a jig. That’s the whole point of a jig, and it will help you install your drawer glides perfectly.
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You don’t need to buy one of these if you like making jigs. You could just make one and slide it in position where you can hold up the glide in a notch, and it will tell you where to place your screws.
This means both of your slides and glides will be installed in the right places, and that means a good working drawer.
See Also: Woodworking Jig Definition [Define Jig]
Clamp Before You Screw
Finally, this seems like such a simple thing, but most people forget it. Take the extra second and clamp everything together before you start drilling for your glide screws.
This little extra step ensures that everything is locked down properly, and that you get all of your holes drilled perfectly. After all, the last thing you want is to drill a hole a little off center, and have it pull your glide bar one way or the other.
If this happens, it will wreck the alignment of your slides, and the next thing you know when your drawer closes, it just won’t close very evenly. On top of that, it may even cause the drawer to be misaligned, or not close at all.
Your Action Assignment
Now that you know these awesome tips for installing drawer slides, it’s time to get out in your shop and take action. If you’ve been waiting on installing some slides of your own, you definitely don’t have any more excuses.
It’s a lot easier to put in drawer slides than you might think, however, if you do it without these few tips, it will be miserable and difficult. Definitely use a jig, and definitely by drawer slides that are the right size and type for the application.
If you have any questions about putting in your slides, post a question and I’ll be happy to answer them. Happy building.
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