Drawer Slides

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Drawer slides aren't something we think about until they stick, or the drawer jambs. Perhaps we've managed to remove a drawer altogether and now can't put it back. You want to pull your hair out when that happens. There are several types of drawer slides. If you know what they are and how they work, you'll make a better choice if you need to install or replace them during a remodeling project. Remember that a ball-bearing drawer slides mechanism will probably serve you best over the long term.

Types of Drawer Slides

Let's review a couple of terms first. A slide length is the longest dimension of a fully closed drawer. The extension means how far a drawer stretches away from its cabinet. It can be three-quarter, full or over extension. There are two types of slide movements: telescoping and progressive. Progressive is smooth. Telescoping is something like a relay race that happens in stages.

Disconnects are the way in which you separate the drawer from the cabinet altogether. One option is lever (manual disengage), another is rail (lifting off and away), another is friction (force). You want to be able to get the drawer out and back in easily.

In choosing the type of drawer slides you will use, you want to think about the load the drawer will carry. You also want to think realistically about the wear and tear. How often will the drawer be opened and shut? How vigorously is it likely to be handled?


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