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Thread: Wooden Drawer Slides?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Vancouver Island, Courtenay/Comox Valley, British Columbia

    Wooden Drawer Slides?

    Someone (I can't remember who) recommended the woodgears website recently, and I've been exploring it. For those who aren't familiar with it, the guy is an engineer and has lots of articles discussing his approach to woodworking.

    Apparently he's a big fan of wooden drawer slides. In fact, he says he never uses anything but wooden drawer slides, he has an interesting and detailed discussion of them.

    I rarely hear any mention of them here, and I was wondering what the experts think of them. When do you use them, if ever? Pros? Cons?

    Opinions? I'm all ears (or eyes).
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    I've never used a metal drawer slide. Nothing against them at all. For furniture I've always made my own wood slides. They just seem classier. If I was going to make kitchen cabinets I would use metal.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Plainwell, Michigan
    I have an upcoming project that I well use wood slides, bookmarked that link

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Delton, Michigan
    have used both and in furniture i try to stay with wood but kit cabs are metal.. and shop cabs as well
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  5. #5
    Chris Hatfield is offline Former Member (by the member's request)
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    I like the sliding dovetail ones they sell at Rockler. I've not found them cheaper, but I also haven't looked.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    I use them as well in furniture. I like hard maple runners and dados in the drawer sides. This requires a hardwood side to your drawer box for reliability over time.

    I use ball bearing, full extension for shop cabinets with the exception of my first attempt at a web-frame carcass built out of scrap ply way back when.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Northern Lower Michigan/Troll
    I made a toolbox for my dad more years ago then I like to admit, with wood slides. He overloads the crap out of it with wrenches and it is still working fine some 30 years later.

    I made some compound full extensions a few years ago for a project, but I lost my butt on them and never did it again. If a guy wanted to set up to make a few hundred at a time it wouldn't be too bad, or if it is for a hobby and you don't need to make a profit.

    Wood slides are cool, and what is called for with furniture. I agree that kitchen cabinets get too much abuse.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Independence MO
    There comes a point when I don't think wooden slides will cut it. One of my dream projects is to build a giant wooden (4' long or longer) wooden tool chest (think Snap on), that will be the lower part of a bench. The metal cabinets are expensive, and in an old shop I worked at, the Snap on chest grabbed attention, where the old wooden ones around there didn't. They were much narrower, and overloaded. (wax on the slides would help) But none of them had a four foot wide drawer.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Westphalia, Michigan
    I have used white oak runners, waxed, on the one cabinet I built for my shop. I have some furniture (dressers) where the wooden slides wore out. I think the wood used was inferior. Maybe soft maple? It was not very hard wood. wooden center drawer guides have failed also but they were glued with hide glue and it seems to get brittle with age. I bet a good modern glue and hard wood slides would work very well. I have thought about using Osage orange for slides and may do that some day. That wood is very hard and strong.

    The only drawback I have experienced was the lack of a drawer stop and a mind that forgot to NOT pull the drawer out too far.

    I bet a few center guides to support the weight and some strong (meaning beefed up) side slides would work just fine for a large drawer.
    I'm a certifiable tree hugger. (it's a poor mans way of determining DBH before cutting the tree down)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Madison Lake, Mn

    Woodgears site

    I've seen the site name many, many times but never looked so today I did. That's my kind of woodworking so I have just begun to look at the many links. I have already built projects using techniques of his but have never looked at his actual site. I have built a 43-note air calliope using a valve box technique that Mathias designed on his homebrew organ. I currently have it disassembled for more revision. On my "Convolution" project I used a wood chain design patterned off his Wood tank tread. That guy is an excellent woodworker! Thanks for the link
    Back to the drawer slides...I would like to see what others have done for wood slides. Is there something beyond just building a wood track in the center and attaching guides on the drawer to follow the track?
    Wood worker wannabee
    Semper FI

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