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Thread: Wooden drawer slides versus metal drawer slides

  1. #1

    Wooden drawer slides versus metal drawer slides

    Wanted some opinions of the use of wooden drawer slides in furniture today versus metal slides.

    Does anyone here still use wooden slides in their designs or has everyone converted to metal?


  2. #2
    I have tried to "deliver" wood slides but I have not run across anyone who wants them. My customers want "smooth and easy". One thing about metal slides, their predictable and relatively easy to install.
    If sawdust were gold, I'd be rich!

    Byron Trantham
    Fredericksburg, VA
    WUD WKR1

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Andersonville, TN
    I use metal slides in shop cabinets, and would use them on kitchen cabinets if I were to make any. The furniture is all wood.

    Metal slides make more sense for very high use/heavy duty drawers.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    I occasionally use wood slides. When I do, it is in pieces with traditional style. I generally put them in spots where the drawer is long and narrow, and where I think the drawer might not be used a lot. For instance, I recently used wood slides in a pair of Arts&Crafts-style bedside tables. However, most of the time I use metal full-extension slides.

  5. #5
    I second (or third or ...) the comments about "it depends."

    A well made wooden drawer slide is oh so smooth, and gives a real feel of luxury. Ideal for bedroom sets, coffee tables, etc.

    Cheap metal slides ... well, if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything, and we are supposed to avoid foul language here.

    I use good metal slides where
    1. Full extension is required
    2. The load is heavy, such as office files or some kitchen drawers
    3. Use multiple times per hour rather than a couple times per day - such as office and kitchen, not bedroom
    Remember that the metal slides take an inch or more out of the width capacity of the drawer, or a half inch or more out of the height capacity.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    St. Ignatius, MT
    On furniture, I've always used wooden drawer slides. I'm building a built in breakfast nook in a new A&C style house. The benches will have a 4' drawer in them, accessed from the end of the bench, for storage. I bought two pairs of 4' metal slides from Lee Valley for this project.
    Alan & Lynette Mikkelsen, Mountain View Farm Gardens & Fine Woodworking, St. Ignatius, MT. Visitors Welcome!

  7. #7
    It seems that the metal slides take away from the overall look of a very nice piece of furniture.

    All wood construction just looks more authentic, especially with great joinery throughout the design.


  8. #8
    Wood slides, hard maple sliding on hard maple (edging), is a lot of work. You also have to consider the drawer drop (tilt) as it's pulled. This leads to top edge runners and stops. I have always waxed wood slides. Soft wood slides will wear down and stick.

    Metal slides are much easier to install ( with a jig ), but be aware that cheap metal slides are just that. I'm about to use a set of Lee Valley slides that have the additional feature of self closing, something that you couldn't do with wooden slides.,43616&ap=1

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Livermore, CA
    I prefer runners and kickers versus slides - metal or wooden.

    on the neverending quest for wood.....

  10. #10
    I used wooden slides in all the furniture I make, unless the person I'm making it for insists on metal slides.

    Wooden slides are for fine furniture, metal slides are for kitchen cabinets and file cabinets.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Leesville, TX (San Antonio/Austin)
    I've made dovetailed guides on a couple pieces, but I'm just not comfortable with the future continued 'smooth' operation. For me, they'd be fine...for sale, I feel better with a quality metal slide/guide.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Laguna Beach , Ca.
    For heavy use the Blumotion or other quality slides are great. For fine furniture wood slides....NK drawers the feeling is unsurpassed and really says "Hand made" You can hear it as you open the drawer...."hand" and as you close it...."made"
    "All great work starts with love .... then it is no longer work"

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Spokane, Washington
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Singer
    For fine furniture wood slides....NK drawers the feeling is unsurpassed and really says "Hand made":
    Er....what is NK?

    Eternity is an awfully long time, especially toward the end.

    -Woody Allen-

    Critiques on works posted are always welcome

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Laguna Beach , Ca.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Forman
    Er....what is NK?

    Nordiska Kompaniet....NK....a Swedish Company that designed drawers to glide on integral "skis" . Very smooth and taught at college of the redwoods I believe. Seth Janofsky had an article on making them in FWW...Smooth
    "All great work starts with love .... then it is no longer work"

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    East Dundee, Illinois
    I use wooden drawer slides on all furniture. Often using runners on the drawer sides and sometimes in the center as well. When finished with oil and waxed they slide almost by themselves. It took some trial and error but I have a system that works for me in getting the fit just right.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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