Drawers without slides

I've posted a couple of other questions here and have received some very good advice during the process of building some built in shelves. The bottom section has 10 drawers that will be about 8.5" tall, about 17" deep, and about 17" wide. I am going to install them without slides of any sort. Are there any coatings or waxes that I should use on the inside of the casing or on the bottom of the drawers that will make them slide easier?
The reason I'm going slideless is because I want this piece to have the feel of an antique piece of furniture, many of which were built without slides or glides or guides of any sort. I know they will not slide as smoothly as today's drawers with good quality slides, but I want to know if there are any things to watch out for when building these. These will be flush fit drawers, so the face of the drawer will be 3/4" stock and hopefully the sides will be 1/2" stock, if I can find any around here (otherwise, I've considered buying a planer to plane 3/4" down to 1/2").
Thanks again for the prior help, Justin
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jo_jo wrote:

I usually just use some paste wax on both the runners and the bottom of the drawer sides.
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"jo_jo" wrote in message

Paste wax.

While by no means an exhaustive treatise of methods, there are a couple of ideas on my website at the bottom of the following page:
http://www.e-woodshop.net/Projects3.htm
There are many more ways to attack the wooden slide issue than you see there, but there is no reason why wooden drawer slides should not work as well as modern metal slides providing you're not loading them down.
AAMOF, I recently saw an old cupboard with inset drawers that used side mounted wooden slides, with grooves in the drawer sides, and the slides mounted on the interior of the drawer box. After a good hundred years, these particular drawers were working as smoothly as you could ask for.
Wished I'd taken pictures. Although I have clear idea of the concept, it was an unusual implementation, with a few tricks, that has obviously stood the test of time.
I wouldn't want to try to explain it until I can see it again ... but your post may be the impetus to do that at some point this week, as I've got a project on burner that I may want to use the idea on.
For those familiar with Houston, the piece in question is upstairs in the old Heights Fire House, which is now called the Heights City Hall ... stay tuned.
--
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"Swingman" wrote

In my youth, while attending school, I stayed in a rooming house that was an old mansion that had fallen on hard times. It was still a beautiful house with dangerous and very inadequate electrical and mechanical systems.
The master bedroom was one of the most original rooms I have ever seen. It was huge with a wall of a hundred or so small windows on one end. It had big box beams on the ceiling. It had a bathroom with a bathtub built for two with the faucets on the middle of the tub and the water came into the tub on the side and bottom of the tub.
But by far the most intriguing and unique feature of the room was its total wall cabinet/dresser/etc that went on forever. It must of had about 40 - 50 drawers. There were at least 20 different cabinets for hanging clothes. There were about 8 shoe storage units. And some other assorted units.
The inside of this thing looked like a huge version of what all the old kitchens had. But they were for more substantial than any kitchen cabinets. They were also very deep. The drawers were quite heavy and the sides extended a foot past the backs. There was at least two runners on each side of the drawers.
The frame they sat in also extended back to the wall. Essentially what we had here was an all wood version of the full extension drawer. This would not be a furniture application. But this monster wall cabinet was made of very sturdy furniture grade components. Some of the drawers were sticking and I waxed them and they were as good as new. Very smooth sliding. And they were over a hundred years old.
I never forgot that place. It was far more luxurious than the modern walkin closet. I can not imagine the time, labor and materials cost to make such a beast today. It was about 25 - 30 feet long. And at least 7 foot tall.
That grand old house (along with three of its neighbors) has since been torn down and a huge, high rise apartment building was been built in its place.
There is nothing wrong with going to all wood construction for drawers. There applications out there that have not been equaled yet in terms of luxury, style and class.
Lee Michaels <suddenly feeling very old>
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One I'm finishing has UHMW in slots for the maple laminated drawer sides to run on. Not antique, but serviceable.
I'd put something like bass or poplar on the replaceable parts, maple on the bottom of the drawer sides and let 'er go if it's a seldom rather than frequent use item.
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Two things come to mind:
1. UHMW plastic, if you don't mind that it's there.
2. Dense tropical woods, especially the oily ones like cocobolo.
In either case, paste wax or bees wax (candles) are traditional lubricants that works just fine.
As for the slide, my dad made a desk drawer for me that never got stuck. He had one runner in the middle of the drawer that ran in a slot, so tha the drawer couldn't cant and jam.
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Paste wax.
Oak makes good runners and drawer sides.
Three thumbtacks on each side make for a very smoothly working drawer: Front of "runner" (dust panel frame on which drawer sides rest), bottom of drawer side at back (to ride on runner) and top of drawer side a back (to bear against frame above when the drawer is pulled out more than half-way and starts to try to tip down). The slightly rounded top of a normal steel thumb tack makes a great bearing surface.
--
Alex -- Replace "nospam" with "mail" to reply by email. Checked infrequently.

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Thanks guys! I think I'll make one drawer, test it with some paste wax, and see how that feels. I bet it will work. These drawers will be holding DVD's, which aren't particularly heavy, and won't be opened that often.
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jo_jo wrote:

I just finished a chest of six drawers for the shop. The wood is all construction grade pine (soft and economical) . A little Butchers wax and they all slide nicely with no metal hardware of any kind. I didn't bother to make center slides this time. I have used them in the past on other projects, and they always make the drawers work a little nicer. Center slides are easy enough to make. Just dado a groove in the slider on the drawer bottom and fasten a 3/4 inch guide to the case frame under the drawer.
David Starr
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jo_jo wrote:

Most any wax will do, but beeswax or paraffin will last longer. If this is for a customer/friend/relative give them a piece of whatever lubricant you use and tell them to rewax the drawers once a year.
-- It's turtles, all the way down
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I used this when a built some mission furniture.
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&cat=1,110,43466&p2182
jo_jo wrote:

Most any wax will do, but beeswax or paraffin will last longer. If this is for a customer/friend/relative give them a piece of whatever lubricant you use and tell them to rewax the drawers once a year.
--
It's turtles, all the way down



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Those seem a little big to be going slide-less on. It may not be a bad idea to look into putting rollers on them, at least in the back. The rollers can slide in a wooden track or ride on the dust panels.

Here's a thought for you, and for my buck, it's better than doing without slides or the roller idea above- why not make wooden slides out of maple or a similar hardwood inside the cabinet, and route a dado in each side of the drawer to ride along them? Wax the runners well, and it works pretty nicely- I've made a number of tables with drawers like this, and a couple of little cabinets that used the technique as well, and they've all turned out pretty nice- and they still have that sort of *antique* feel to them.
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