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Drawer Slide Tips!

by Brian Steeves 04 Feb 2016
Drawer Slide Tips!

Installing drawer slides requires some precision and care but when properly installed, Accuride slides will give you thousands of cycles of trouble-free operation.

If your drawer is binding or otherwise not opening smoothly, here are some troubleshooting tips that may help.

Check the "Side Space".

Side space is industry-speak for the thickness of the slide profile. If you're using the Accuride 3832 series slides with a 0.50" side space, and your opening is 17 inches exactly, your drawer should be exactly 16 inches wide (17 inches less the width of two slides, or 1 inch).  If the drawers are too wide or too narrow, this puts pressure on the slide mechanism in all the wrong places, causing it to wear out prematurely.

Make sure your slides are on the level.

It's critical that your slides be aligned in every possible way.  They should be parallel, and installed at the same height.  If they're not aligned, bad things happen, and your drawer might appear to self-destruct.

There's a handy tool that we've found that seems to make this part easier: The Rockler Universal Drawer Slide Jig seems like it addresses this issue beautifully.  We haven't tested this product, and we're not affiliated in any way with the Rockler Woodworking Company, but we sure love the idea of making installation easier.  Also, they have some great videos!

Avoid Wide Loads.

Most slides have a "load capacity" rating.  The 3832 series, for example, has a load rating of 100lbs per pair.  This is measured using a 16 inch wide drawer.  If your drawers are significantly wider than 16 inches, the capacity of those slides decreases, especially if the drawer has the ability to flex or twist when it's loaded.  If your drawers are wider than 16", make sure that the sides walls of the drawer are not flexible, or are reinforced, so they can't flex or twist when the drawer is full of stuff.

Are You Operating at Full Capacity?

Remember, load ratings are per pair.  If you anticipate that you'll put, on average, 75 lbs of stuff into your drawer, use slides with a 100lb capacity to ensure they'll last a long, long time.

Are You Mobile?

Not many people know this, but drawer slide ratings are significantly reduced when installed in a mobile application:  trucks, buses, RV's, boats, even medical carts.   If you're thinking of using drawer slides in your RV, truck or bus, consider that the load ratings are reduced by as much as 40%.  This is mainly because the increase in vibration and impact forces (caused by bumps in the road, changes in direction, sudden stops, etc.) can cause a slide to wear very quickly.



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