An Introduction to Drawer Slides

You can’t add drawers to a piece of furniture without using drawer slides. When building dressers, chest of drawers, nightstands and even workstations, you’ll need to use drawer slides. Each drawer requires the use of a pair of drawer slides. While they are typically hidden out of plain sight, drawer slides serve an important purpose.

Drawer Slides Basics

Also known as drawer runners, drawer slides are devices that allow for the horizontal movement of an attached drawer. Drawers are secured to a pair of drawer slides, thus allowing them to slide into and out of the piece of furniture. The most common type of drawer slides are side mounted drawer slides, you can commonly find side mounted drawer slides in your kitchen. There are two other types of common drawer slides, center-mounted drawer slides and under-mounted drawer slides. Under-mounted drawer slides are attached to the bottom of drawer and on the side of the cabinet, they are generally more expensive but that cost comes from higher grade materials and load capacities. Center-mounted drawer slides are becoming less and less popular, they are primarily used on antique furniture.

How Drawer Slides Work

Drawer slides work by reducing friction so that drawers can slide into and out of the furniture in which they are installed. Installing a drawer directly into a piece of furniture won’t work. Even if you’re still able to open and close the drawer, doing so will create friction. This friction can damage both the drawer and the furniture. Drawer slides offer a solution. They allow drawers to glide into and out of furniture by reducing friction.

Most drawer slides consist of a long and narrow metal housing unit. Within this housing unit is a set of small balls that roll along a set of tracks. Known as ball bearing drawer slides, they are one of the most common types of drawer slides. When you pull the attached drawer open, it will glide across these balls. Ball bearing drawer slides prevent drawers from directly rubbing against the furniture in which they are installed.

Two drawer slides are used for each drawer. Depending on the type, they may be mounted either to the sides or the bottom of the drawer. Ball bearing drawer slides use a side mounting. The side of each drawer is secured to a ball bearing drawer slide.

Things to Consider When Choosing Drawer Slides

When choosing drawer slides, you should consider the material, weight capacity and the length. To figure out the length you’ll need to measure the depth of the cabinet and

If they are made of weak or material, they may fail prematurely. Fortunately, you can find drawer slides in many strong materials, including carbon steel and galvanized cold-rolled steel.

Don’t forget to check the mounting system when choosing drawer slides. All drawer slides have a mounting system. When choosing drawer slides, check the mounting system to see what size fasteners it supports. You should also consider whether the drawer slides are one way or two way. One-way drawer slides only travel in one direction, whereas two-way drawer slides offer two methods of travel

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