I recently put together my first piece of furniture that uses metal
drawer slides (Accuride). I purchased an installation jig to go along
with them, and getting the holes lined up wasn't as difficult as I'd
expected (thanks to the jig).
But here's the thing. I have the 3 drawers in place in the carcase, but
the fit isn't quite right. There's too much resistance to moving in and
Now, what flummoxes me about this is what seems like the vast number of
variables at play here. I can adjust any of the following:
- front to back, and top to bottom placement of the large slide members
- front to back, and top to bottom placement of the small slide members
- relationship front to back between top and bottom members of the same
- overall width inside the carcase (adjustable with shims or with
...and more. My point is, there are -so- many variables with these
things, how on earth does anyone actually troubleshoot? It seems to me
that "too much resistance" could be the result of a problem with almost
any of those variables, and possibly a combination.
So - anyone with experience perfecting drawer slides able to comment on
this? Where do I begin?
It is possible that the drawer part of the slide, and the cabinet part
of the slide have not been fully engaged. When you reconnect the drawer
part to the cabinet part you need to make sure that the drawer part has
been pushed in all the way. It could be that the relative "in/out"
locations of the drawer part and the cabinet part are such that even
when the drawer is closed the drawer part is not all the way in. So you
may have to move the cabinet part closer to the front of the cabinet
(or the drawer part closer to the back of the drawer).
I assume that the slides operated ok before they were installed?
Measure the clearance between the drawer and the cabinet. It should be
exactly 1/2 inch.
Try a drop of oil here and there along the slide.
The position of the whole slide assembly, relative to the drawer is not
important. As long as the moving part and the stationary part are all
in a line.
I've used the Accurides a lot over the years. Difficulty opening and closing
is usually one of two things:
1) Your drawer is a little to wide and you're "forcing" the mating hardware
too tightly against each other. Is it hard to get the drawer into the
cabinet runners when you first put the drawer in? Do you see any marks on
the sides of your drawers where the wood is rubbing against the cabinet
hardware. You can usually get away with being a little bit "thin" in the
width because of the slop in the accuride members, but too thick can cause
2) Another common possibility is the matching left and right runners or
cabinet members aren't parallel to each other or coplanar. If one member
points a little bit up and the other points a little down - as the drawer
closes it's going to start "binding" as it fights to go in opposite planes.
My 2 cents.
Gary in KC
Start with the drawers ... if they are too wide, you will have to somehow
trim/plane one or both drawer sides until the drawer width falls within the
guidlines of your slides.
If they are too narrow, you will have to shim the drawer slides. If both of
these are in play, then do what you have to do with a combination of
shimming and trimming and take the last sentence below to heart.
With that out of the way ...
There is some wiggle room built into the slides themselves and you can
generally get a sense of where things are wrong pretty quickly with just a
couple of screws on each slide, and by taking advantage of the built in
adjustment holes in the slides themselves.
Remove all but two screws on each side, leave one in the front, one in the
back. Make sure the screws are in the MIDDLE of holes that allow the most
vertical adjustment, as that is where the problem often is.
(You can usually tell quickly if the drawer slides are not lined up with
each other along their length/height by closing the drawer and seeing if one
side of the drawer want to be further inside the cabinet than the other, or
higher on one side, or if it rocks excessively in any plane ... if so,
rectify that situation first, with the front screws)
Leave the back screws just loose enough to allow the slides to move out of
any bind as you close the drawer. Does it now close easier? If so, open the
drawer and tighten up the back screws a bit at a time, repeating the open
and close routine, until the drawer works like you want it.
If not, loosen the two front screws a bit and repeat the process,
alternately tightening from front to back, side to side as you go.
If the above doesn't work at all, then chances are you've got a problem with
the width of the installation. If it gets more difficult to close as you
tighten the screws in the first above, you may need to shim one, or both, of
the slides at the back, or vice versa.
Good luck ... and don't settle for less than perfection. The more you work
at getting it "perfect", the more you learn, the more your intuition becomes
finely tuned, and the quicker the process becomes for the next drawer.
IME, most of the problems with drawer slides stem from the cabinet or drawer
sides, or both, not being square and that generally comes from like parts
not being BATCH cut to the same size ... doing that one step can save you
all the time and frustration of going through the above.
Thanks for all the suggestions! I'll go through everything later
tonight and see where it lands me.
I don't know why Accuride can't be bothered to include any
troubleshooting tips. It seems like it wouldn't be that hard for them
to compile a list of "check this first, if x then y", etc. I understand
that some of thier customers have done this so many times that it comes
naturally, but for those of us just starting out with this type of
slide it'd be awfully helpful to have more information provided up
front, or at least available on their website.
Actually, and I don't mean to be snide, there is enough play built into the
drawer slides that if you do your job building a square cabinet and drawers,
you shouldn't have any problem whatsoever with installation.
In short, they've already done pretty much all they can do when they ship
them out the door.
Well, I'm certainly not claiming to have built a 100% dead-on square
carcase, but I disagree that Accuride has done all they can. I think
that at the very least, some basic installation tips other than their
semi-cryptic instructions would be nice.
An update - I was able to significantly improve the slide behavior,
mostly by slightly loosening the screws on the large members (the part
attached to the inside of the carcase). It seems that I'd torqued them
down too much and was creating a little bit of a warp in the slide that
way. I also added a couple of small shims in spots where the carcase
sides weren't quite flat.
So, the drawers are close. Now, the main problem is that the last 1/2
to 3/4 inch of travel is way rough. In other words, if you pull a
drawer all the way out, it moves reasonably well back in, until you get
-almost- all the way in. Then it basically stops, and you have to use a
fair bit of pressure to get it the rest of the way in. In practice,
this probably won't matter much since my design uses false fronts that
will prevent the drawers from going 100% back in anyways. But I'm still
left wondering what the problem is here.
As I mentioned, my carcase isn't 100% dead-on square (though it's
close). The individual drawers are pretty square, though one is
admittedly further off than the others. But the clearance between
drawer edges and inside edges is -fairly- consistent. Again, not
perfect but pretty close.
So, other than planing out the carcase interior, can anyone suggest
something else to try, to eliminate this end-of-travel binding? Anyone
run across this problem before?
Square and flat surfaces are a must with ANY brand slide. I have been using
these type slides for a long time and when the drawer does not fit right, it
is a manufacturiung problem on my part.
Now your learning. ;~)
Ok, on most of these type slides if your drawer width is not with in 1/32"
of be what it should be the drawers will be harder to insert, index, and
operate. That said as you have noticed, the drawers seem to want to stop
going in. Almost always this is because the ball bearings that slide
indipendently on the carcus portion of the slide are not properly
positioned. To properly position them simply keep working on getting the
drawer to fully close. Then pull the drawer out FULLY, you may find that it
also does not want to come all the way out with out some resistance. Again
work the drawer untill it is all the way out to its stops. After doing this
the drawer should open cand close fully with much less resistance. Note
however that the better you fit the drawer to the specified opening in the
instructions the easier the drawer will position the ball bearing carrier.
Consider also that if the back of the ends of the carcus slides are either
closer or farther apart than the front ends there will be more resistance
like you witnessed.
Again, it is imperative that you pay very close attention to the details you
mentioned. If the drawers widths are not with in 1/32 or 1/16 collectively
for both slides the slides are going to be tight. If the sides of the
carcus where the slide is attached are not dead on parallel to each other
your slides are going to be tight. If you drawers are not dead on square,
they will not properly or fully close.
I have been there and can only repeat to adhere to exact fit and squareness
of the drawers and cabinet there the drawers will fit.
If you are talking about the last half inch of travel this may help:
The end of the slide (on the drawer) has a "c" shaped clip that engages
a rubber bumper (on the carcass side). This helps to keep the drawer
closed. You can use a pair of pliers to open the clip that engages the
rubber bumper. Also a drop of silicone spray lets the clip slide easier
over the bumper.
Double echo on that! In fact I'd go so far as to say throw the damned can
of silicone away - or use it to waterproof the boots you bought your wife
for shoveling out the driveway. That stuff is the death of any kind of
future finish work, on any material. There's a ton of things that will give
all the lubrication necessary - simple bar soap being one of the most
commonly available, and it won't cause you any grief with finishes.
Hm ok - thanks for the added warnings. I guess I'll skip the silicone,
at least for now. Good thing I haven't bought it yet, 'cause there's
not much need for waterproofing boots or shoveling driveways here in
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.