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Thread: Dresser Drawers: mechanical glides or not?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    London, Ontario

    Dresser Drawers: mechanical glides or not?

    I'm thinking seriously about building a pair of tall dressers for two of my sons.

    My oldest is almost 10, and the youngest is 3, so I know that any such furniture is going to get beat on. So I'm probably going to go for simple and sturdy. Probably baltic birch drawer boxes, and plywood for the sides, hardwood for the face frame + drawer fronts. Something similar to the 7-drawerchest in Thomas Moser's "Measured Drawings of American furniture"

    So the question I have for all of you out there who've gone down this road before, perhaps multiple times... What do you think works better for drawers? Mechanical slides, or just let them ride on wood tracks?

    Mechanical slides add to the cost, especially as I'd be inclined to get full extension 100lb slides for at least the two bottom/biggest drawers. (I know my kids, and I know that they'll stand on the drawers! ) They make the drawers easy to pull in and out for little kids, but I'm not sure how I'll feel about the look of them.

    Wooden slides are cheaper, traditional, repair-able if there is ever a problem, and so on.

    Actually, "hidden" bottom mount slides are also an option. I'm not sure how strong they are compared to side-mounted full-extension slides, though.

    thanks for any advice you care to share.

  2. #2
    Steve Clardy Guest
    My thoughts on dressers.
    Always stay with wooden slides.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Clardy View Post
    My thoughts on dressers.
    Always stay with wooden slides.

    I agree with Steve... Mechanical slides are for utility cabinets and benches, some entertainment centers where heavy weight is involved, Motel furniture, etc.

    Furniture is best constructed with wood slides and drawers. If the piece is expected to be a part of your family's heritage, then I would stay with traditional construction practices. Why? Tradition, I guess.

    Just makes for a nicer piece.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Houston, Texas
    Hi Art,
    I don't have a problem with good mechanical drawer slides. Quality is important. I started out building cabinets in the 70's and have seen them improve greatly. I use them on all my drawers. Since I was never introduced to making wood slides work in the drawer situaton I am less of a purist when it comes to using metal slides on "furniture".
    I grew up with inexpensive furniture. They all had wooden runners or provisions to go in and out using wood. I always had problems with the drawers. I was little then, I believe grown up now and still have trouble with the wooden slide.
    I would follow a wooden slide tutorial with an open mind.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Villa Park, CA
    I'm not an expert on glides, but if I could find some underdrawer mount that were strong enough and had the "self closing" feature for the last few inches, I'd be really tempted to put them on. It would just be so cool to see the drawers self close.

    This assumes you're building a modern piece and not a reproduction of an early American piece.

    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

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