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Thread: Anyone have this problem w/ blum undermount?

  1. #1

    Anyone have this problem w/ blum undermount?

    No matter how carefully I install Blum soft close undermount drawer slides something very frustrating often happens.

    When fastening inset drawer front, I very carefully shim front until margin is perfect all away around face frame opening then press tight to double-stick carpet tape to hold in position. Then carefully pull drawer out and put two clamps on and install four screws.

    Now I take off clamps and close drawer to admire my perfect alignment and the dam thing closes to a completely different orientation. Its like the drawer does not close to the same position as it did when I aligned front.

    What am I doing wrong? The only thing I can come up with is perhaps I install the drawer slide hardware to carcase not wide enough or close enough in relation to drawer width. There is some play in the system left to right that seams to be causing these inconsistant and frustrating results. Lets face it, there are few things more satisfying than perfect inset door or drawer front alignment

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Dan

  2. #2
    Just a guess, but maybe your clamps are overpowering the tape and pulling the front out of alignment.
    If you have a 23 or 18 gauge pinner, I would tape, then pull the drawer out just enough to get the pinner in, and shoot a couple pins from the back.

  3. #3
    Clamps overpowering tape is certainly a possibility Bill. However, the alignment left to right has play within the hardware itself. In closed position, if margin is narrow on left, the front can be pushed to the right to correct alignment. This correction is lost when the drawer is opened and shut again with narrow margin to the left reappearing. I must be doing something wrong with the hardware. Blum should not be producing inconsistant results like this.

  4. #4

    what works for me

    I drill the front for the drawer pulls, align the front to the drawer box then put screw(s) in the drawer pull hole(s). I could use double sided tape in addition to the screws but so far have not had a front move on me. I then carefully pull drawer out, clamp and shoot my permanent mounting screws from inside, remove clamps & temporary screw(s) in the pull hole(s), drill drawer box for pull screws using the existing one(s) in the front as a guide - I always (when I remember) use a backer block inside the drawer box to reduce blowout when drilling.

    Not to say i have never had a mis-aligned front - but it was always due to a careless initial alignment and not because things moved on me during the mounting process. I have been as careful as I can be in making both casework and drawer box square and dimensionally accurate and so far all my blum undermounts have zero lateral play when mounted.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Washington, NC
    Posts
    2,098
    I use a different technique. I used applied fronts also, but give the drawer box a chance to settle, often loading it up with some weight before I attach the fronts. Once I'm sure the box and everything has settled I attach the front this way:

    1. On the drill press align and drill the holes in the applied front for the screws that mount the pull(s).
    2. Temporarily hold the front against the box while it is installed in the casework. I just hold it in place with my hand, no double stick tape. You can use shims if you need to.
    3. Gently mark the hole locations on the drawer box.
    4. Put the front aside and drill over-sized holes in the drawer box.
    5. Mount the pull and applied front to the box with washer head or truss head screws. You want screws with a large diameter, low profile head. You may need longer screws than those supplied with the pulls. If you mess up and don't have enough adjustment, enlarge the holes in the drawer box. Use a fender washer if the hole is larger than the head of the screw. If you don't want the head of the screw protruding into the drawer box, use a Forstner bit to make a counter bore.
    6. Tighten the screws slightly so the applied front can be moved but won't slip by itself.
    7. With over-sized holes in the drawer box you can adjust the position of applied front by gently tapping the edges with a mallet.
    8. Once I am happy with the position and reveal, I shoot a few brads from the inside to fix the position of the applied front, then I tighten the pull screws. With overlay drawers or if their are no intermediate rails between inset drawers in a stack, I align the entire stack before shooting any brads.

    The screws attach the front while the brads keep keep it from moving vertically and horizontally. Using brads allows me to remove and redo if needed, and I think it is neater than adding wood screws. It is hard to make minor adjustments since wood screws often seek the original hole.

    Using this technique and drilling holes first, you can wait until the project is complete or cabinets have been installed at the job site before aligning and installing the drawer fronts, and it only takes a few seconds to do final alignment of each drawer.

    (Since I received a check from Woodworker's Journal yesterday, this tip should be in their next issue )



    Last edited by Alan Schaffter; 06-12-2010 at 9:47 AM.

  6. #6
    Thanks for the front installment procedures. However, I really think my face frame opening / drawer box sizing math must be screwed-up resulting in inconsistances lateraly What is the proper math to achieve zero lateral play?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Redwood City, CA
    Posts
    6,434
    There is some play in the Blum undermounts. One thing that affects the lateral position is which slide hits its stop first. The springs on the drawers pull the drawer in, and therefore kick the drawer front away from the slide that first hit the stop. Blum has a fix. They offer a locking device specially intended for inset drawers. The part number is 51.1700PV. It does two things. First, it allows you to adjust the front to be exactly in the plane of the casework. Second, it allows you to adjust each slide stop separately, so you can get both slides to hit the stop simultaneously. This means there's less tendency to make that sideways kick.

  8. #8
    I think Jamie is on to something. I was wondering if you had confirmed that your carcass is square but unequal stop positions would behave similarly. I have had similar problems; my carcass was square but my drawer wasn't. I ended up with a very slightly (and thin) wedged shim between the slide and the carcass. Once the travel path and stops were consistent, all was well.

    P.s. Why is it always the last drawer that gives me trouble?
    “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” -- George Orwell


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

    Vertical Adjustment

    Could you inadvertantly be pushing on the vertical height adjustment on
    the Blum locking device as you install the drawer?

    I know I had a real sinking feeling one time when I had a drawer that
    looked to be badly misaligned, and I had simply hit the vertical adjuster
    on one side causing the out of level condition.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Mission Viejo CA
    Posts
    10
    I've had alignment problems with Blum slides when the drawer is empty vs. full too especially on the shorter slides. It usually happens when the drawer front is heavy like on MDF core veneer. I've played around with some other manufactures and have settled in on the Grass NT slides. They seem to have less play in all directions. I still have a few drawers on ever job that give me fits but less than with the Blum.

  11. #11
    You da man Jamie!

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Chouinard View Post
    No matter how carefully I install Blum soft close undermount drawer slides something very frustrating often happens.

    When fastening inset drawer front, I very carefully shim front until margin is perfect all away around face frame opening then press tight to double-stick carpet tape to hold in position. Then carefully pull drawer out and put two clamps on and install four screws.

    Now I take off clamps and close drawer to admire my perfect alignment and the dam thing closes to a completely different orientation. Its like the drawer does not close to the same position as it did when I aligned front.

    What am I doing wrong? The only thing I can come up with is perhaps I install the drawer slide hardware to carcase not wide enough or close enough in relation to drawer width. There is some play in the system left to right that seams to be causing these inconsistant and frustrating results. Lets face it, there are few things more satisfying than perfect inset door or drawer front alignment

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Dan
    If the tandems arent installed exactly in plane and exactly the same distance from the front of the cabinet they tend to shift a bit in the very last part of travel. The problem is that the shift isnt consistent every time.
    Dont even ask how I know this. hehe good luck
    I use a jig for drilling the holes and dont get this problem anymore. Jamie's solution should work though.
    Last edited by Eiji Fuller; 06-12-2010 at 6:06 PM.
    Fullerbuilt

  13. #13
    This forum is so helpful and I appreciate any and all feedback regarding my questions.
    I am a very experienced residential interior finish carpenter who occasionally makes cabinets trying to make the transition to a full-time cabinetmaker. Thru my dad I was able to score a brief apprenticship in my hometown three years ago in a cabinetmakers shop. The shop owner is an old timer who has done very well for himself with a large two man shop and customers who are contractors on Marthas Vinyard and Nantucket.
    The things I learned there work well for him and his main man. However not all his techniques translate well to the small shop (21' by 27') I use on my parents property. Trying to find my way to the same quality product I was exposed to, with modifications to fit the limitations of my experience and machinery. Its fun as hell, frustrating as heck sometimes, but I just love to be in my Dad's shop trying to figure this stuff out and using some equipment that belonged to his Dad. This also allows generous daily visits with both my parents who are a very robust 86 years of age, still living in the 1740's Colonial that I (and my mother) grew up in, full of rooms that they remodeled themselves (mom loves to boast about her ability to balance sheetrock on her head) and furnished with lots of furniture that my Dad made. Oh, and he makes killer muffins and fruitbread regularly. Cant buy that shit in a store!
    But as Eiji pointed out, these inset drawers are finicky little buggers. Using spacer sticks and working my way down from the top, I think that the slider hardware is getting mounted on the same plane. The flaw in my current installation procedure is the setback from the faceframe varies. My thinking was why fuss over the setback. Just set slide on the deep side and use adjustment pads to flush front with faceframe.
    WRONG!
    Thanks again to all you fine Creekers,
    Dan

  14. #14

    Almost there Dan

    you have half my slide mounting trick - start at the top of the case, make 2 height sticks EXACTLY the same length, put some double sided tape on them, stick them to the case and set the bottom of the slide on top. Do that for both slides and you know they are in the same plane and level (assuming the case box is square & level).

    the second part is to use a spacer to get the setback not only right - but the same for both slides so you dont get wracking when one slides hits the stop before the other. For frame-less cases I cut a rabbit in some scrap, make the rabbit depth the amount of slide setback and clamp the scrap to the case to install the slide. For faceframe cases rip a strip = setback depth and double tape it to the inside of the frame.

    As long as you are careful to make sure the first 2 screws are perfectly centered in the mounting holes you should have no trouble with blum undermount slides.

    Another area that I have caused problems for myself when using blum undermounts (the only slide of this type I have experience with) is on drawer box width - the slides are not at all tolerant of out-of -spec drawer box width. With my current skill for precision I have found the best chance of success is to build case first, measure actual opening and finally make drawers with half-blind dovetails - if I cut front/backs to the EXACT length of the finished width and make sure my dovetails are cut so the sides are perfectly flush (i have a Leigh D4R jig so this is easy) - I consistently make drawers within 1/32" of spec on width.

    The last dozen of so drawers I have made, assembled & mounted this way have worked perfectly first time - I could just have been lucky as I have a hard time believing I am getting proficient at this

  15. #15
    Thanks Eric. My next setbacks will be precise.
    You do use a vix bit for hole centering?

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