How to Make Wooden Drawer Slides

How to make wooden drawer slides

With the high price of metal, building wooden drawer slides is an alternative many may consider. Of course it looks better, will fit any work area or drawer space, and it will save you a little on the project as well.

From creating a unique piece for your office, or designing a slide simply to save on cost, these are a few tips to consider in designing drawer slides made out of wood.

Choose two types of wood

Making wooden drawer slides, choosing two qualities of wood, rather than the same wood throughout, will result in higher durability and strength.

The drawers slides will also last longer, slide easier, and it will give them a distinguished, distinct finish which the same wood variety won't.

Consider the depth

When designing the drawer slides you must consider depth. The slides should:

  • check
    Be 10 to 16'' in length in order to properly and smoothly slide the entire length of the drawer.
  • check
    Be made of smooth wood grains, to avoid chipping, cracking, or other track running issues.
  • check
    Be cut using a table saw/router, in order to ensure smooth finishes and eliminate the possibility of splitting.

Depending on the length of the wood, the size of the drawer, and other mechanisms you purchase for stabilizing the sliders, the cost should be rather low in designing these sliders for drawers.

One of the major benefits of wood versus metal is the cost. Wooden sliders are going to cost far less to design and require no upkeep. But, a higher quality wood will cost more.

Cost of the project:

Make sure you use wood grains which are compatible with one another, for durability factors, and for ease of maneuverability once your sliders are installed in the drawers.

If you are using a particular type of wood (drawers) you want to consider this when designing wooden sliders. Not only to ensure it will seamlessly glide once installed, but also to ensure there won't be any problems in compromising the integrity of the drawers.

Consider design implications:

So do consider the quality of materials and wood used when designing your sliders, in order to extend their life cycle in drawers.

Of course with the weight consideration also comes the quality consideration. If you are using the most durable hardwood to build your slider, you can possibly put an additional 20 pounds in the drawer, whereas the oak wood, might not carry as much weight.

Consider the wood grain:

Wax or grease will help extend the durability and the longevity of the sliders you built out of wood.

Simply apply it to the base when needed. This will help the roller mechanism of your slider, and will help prevent the wood grain from chipping, cracking, or from compromising the integrity of the wood used in the slider.

Wood rubbing on wood when opening/closing the drawers will cause a level of friction. If you notice the slides aren't gliding as easily, an oil based lubricant can help.

Lubricating the slides -

So keep this in mind once your sliders are installed. The higher the quality of the wood slider, the more weight it can typically handle.

Of course you must consider the implication of using wood over metal sliders in terms of weight. Due to the fact that the wood isn't as strong as metal, your drawers can't hold as much weight.

Weight considerations:

The plywood back base is durable, and is a cheap wood finish to help keep the cost of your project down. Not only does it serve as a stop base for your drawers, it also helps in reinforcing the drawer sliders you have built for your drawers.

  • Prevent the drawers from coming off the track, and will stop them at the back to avoid breaking the wood.
  • Help to add stability and depth to the drawers and slider base.

Adding a couple of pieces of plywood to the back base of the drawers is another reinforcement mechanism. This will help:

Add blocks to the back of the drawer base:

Using washers is a simple solution for the front stops; it will help prevent the slides from coming off the track, and add the desired stability to the wooden base.

It will also help ensure balance, even and level movement, and will ensure the drawer will not come off the track you have built with your wooden base.

At the front of your drawer slides (where the drawer opens) you want to add stops. This will help reinforce, and add stability when the slides are placed on the draw glider.

Add stops to the front:

Of course you need to screw the wood panels into place on your drawers. Using an electric drill or framing nail gun is a simple way to do this. Not only will it drill the screws in without penetrating or cracking the wood, it also allows you to hide the screws in an area where they aren't visible when opening/closing the drawers.

Stabilizing the drawer sliders :

When cutting the wood, 3/8'' to 1/2'' in width will provide a solid base and even sliding mechanism without the possibility of breaking in the drawer.

And a final piece of wood will sit in between on the guided router (sliding mechanism) where the drawer will open/close.

Your drawer slide will consist of several parts. You should have 2 or 3 pieces of wood which will be on the inside portion of the drawer. Another two pieces of wood will be placed on the exterior siding of the drawer.

Putting together the drawer slide:

When putting the slide parts together (you are typically cutting into 5 or 6 parts which will come together), they should fit in seamlessly and evenly.

Conclusion -

Whether you prefer a rustic look and charm, or simply want to save on the high cost of metal sliders, building wooden drawer sliders is one option for you to consider.

For those who want to know how to make wooden drawer slides, these are a few simple steps you can follow. With online guides and tutorials, you will find it rather easy to design and complete this project, with limited supplies, and limited experience in woodworking.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.