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Thread: Need help installing drawers and full extension drawer slides

  1. #1

    Need help installing drawers and full extension drawer slides

    I am not a cabinet maker, and especially not a drawer maker. However I needed two storage cabinets for the garage. I was extra careful making my drawer boxes, and achieved a level of precision never before seen in my shop. So that is the good news. The problem I have is that when I mount the drawers and drawer slides in the cabinet, there is an increased amount of friction in opening the drawers. What I mean is that the friction to open the drawers is somewhat more than opening the drawer slides alone. I know there will need to be some increase in friction, but this seems to be too much, and some of the drawers work better than others. The drawers work fine, I am just worried that the bearings may wear prematurely. My drawer boxes are square, as are the cabinet carcasses. I used a template to mark the install locations of the slides, and rechecked them later. I can't imagine getting a better fit for my slides. I know this is a hard question to answer without being here, but is the increased friction likely due to:

    Cheap (Pride Brand) Chinese Drawer slides
    Poor workmanship on the cabinet carcass
    Poor workmanship on the drawer boxes
    Mounting the drawer slides crooked or incorrectly
    A need to wait while the drawer slides "break in"
    Something else I haven't thought of.
    A combinatiion of many of thge above

    Am I asking too much for these drawers to open as smooth a silk? Does anyone have any suggestiuons for making the drawers open easier?
    Brian

    Sawdust Formation Engineer
    in charge of Blade Dulling

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
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    Lacey, Washington
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    412
    Sounds like the cabinet sides are not parallel with the drawer sides. Dick B.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lewiston, Idaho
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    23,688
    Brian,

    Like Dick said ...either the sides aren't parallel or....the width of the box is just slightly...and I mean ever so slightly different than the distance between the inside edges of the drawer slides.
    Ken

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Dick Bringhurst View Post
    Sounds like the cabinet sides are not parallel with the drawer sides.
    If the cabinet sides are parallel with each other and the drawer sides are parallel with each other, wouldn't the drawer automatically be pulled parallel? To the best I can measure, all sides are parallel.
    Brian

    Sawdust Formation Engineer
    in charge of Blade Dulling

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Fort Worth, Tx
    Posts
    4,327
    If the cabinet and drawers are square and everything looks good then the way I see it is the opening is not wide enough or to wide.

    When the drawer is pulled out to its full extension do the slides feel easy to move?

    Are these ball bearing slides. if so are you sure that the row of bearings are in the U part of the slide.

    If you disconnect one slide and hold that side of the drawer up now will the drawer slide in and out easy?

    Are you sure the drawer is not rubbing on the carcasses?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Dallas, Tx.
    Posts
    1,335
    Brian, something is binding, some were. This can be maddening, but somewhere, something is not parallel, square, or level. Is the drawer your having trouble the same size as another? If so, swap them out and see if you have the same problem.
    Phil in Big D
    The only difference between a taxidermist and the taxman, is that the taxidermist leaves the skin. Mark Twain

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Marquette MI
    Posts
    418
    It could be the drawer slides. I learned some time ago to bite the bullet and buy good slides. I always use Blum Tandem slides. They are easy and forgiving to install, are very smooth, are self closing and you can even get a soft stop for them. Just be ready to spend $30 - $35 a pair. Good luck.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Huber View Post

    When the drawer is pulled out to its full extension do the slides feel easy to move? "Easier"

    Are these ball bearing slides. if so are you sure that the row of bearings are in the U part of the slide. [COLOR="rgb(139, 0, 0)"]It looks like they are[/COLOR]

    If you disconnect one slide and hold that side of the drawer up now will the drawer slide in and out easy? [COLOR="rgb(139, 0, 0)"]Not really, because of the torque I can't hold the drawer so it won't bind when running on only one slide
    [/COLOR]
    Are you sure the drawer is not rubbing on the carcasses?
    [COLOR="rgb(139, 0, 0)"]Yes, I am sure on this one. There is 1/2 inch of clearance on each side, and plenty on the bottom and top.
    [/COLOR]

    Phil,

    Good idea, I'll try swapping. I tried last night, but I was so tired, I don't think I could get a feel for how well it worked.

    Robert, Ouch, the wife is already having a fit at the cost of this whole project. $35 per pair is a touch steep, but I sure do like the self closing thing. One drawer will get more use thatn all the other put together, so Maybe I'll replace that one with the Blum. If it is that much better, I'll slowly replace them all. You know... "Oh honey, I have had that low angle block plane for a loooong time". The pairs cost me $4.80 ea. Although I should have paid more than I did and gotten something at least as good as some KV's.

    So far I have installed 7 drawers with 4 more to go. I am only really disappointed in the sticking on 2 of the drawers. I'll finish the rest today, and see how I feel.
    Brian

    Sawdust Formation Engineer
    in charge of Blade Dulling

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Livonia, Michigan
    Posts
    174

    Can be frustrating.

    Brian

    I taught myself drawer making with shop drawers before I made any that
    any one else would use.
    Like your problem, I went through the time when some parallelism (or lack
    thereof) caused me difficulties.
    This is what I found in troubleshooting these issues:
    1. Most common problem is parallel sides on drawers or carcass.
    2. binding with some other element (like slides themselves)
    3. binding with slide due to too thick drawer sides.

    I decided in the beginning to only use Blum Tandems, and learn the lessons one time.

    Blums are sensitive to the side thickness on the drawers.
    They have a model that will handle 3/4 thick drawer sides, but most of
    their sides are max thickness of 5/8.

    Good luck.
    John

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    700
    Sometimes you get what you paid for. Bite the bullet and buy decent slides. The Home Depot ones (not Accuride or Blum) work well and are middle of the road costly. If everything is square and the slides are parallel they should work. Do the slides work without the drawer? I once spent HOURS trying to fix a set of slides only to find out that one of them was SLIGHTLY bent, preventing it from sliding easily.

  11. #11
    Sounds like the drawer fit is too tight. Drawer is too wide.
    I give them a 1/16" clearance after the 1/2" for the slide on each side.
    Box opening, say 12"
    Build drawer width to 10-15/16"

    I have a habit of making them too tight, as I want a good fit. But learned to give them some clearance.

    When I get a tight one, I remove a 1/16" from the drawer side.


  12. Before you go out and get new slides, you might want to try this: Remove both parts of the slide set that are attached to the drawer itself. Take your belt sander and give both sides of the drawer a good hard even sanding. Reattach the slides, and see if they work better. Many times if the drawer is binding a bit, the sandig does the trick. If all is paralell, and the drawer is only slightly too wide, this should work.

    I use the import $5 slides all the time, and they work very well. If the drawer is too big for the hole, no amount of money that you throw at it is going to fix it, other than rebuild the drawer.

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