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An Easy DIY Guide On How To Make Wooden Drawer Slides

Mar. 2017

Most home improvement enthusiasts love to make, repair, reconstruct and construct stuff around the home. However, some get stuck somewhere in the middle of these home improvement projects. Why do you think so? It is mostly because they lack the proper knowledge and guidance on how to go about these activities and also for lack of proper woodworking tools.

For the above reasons, it is imperative that you have all the appropriate tools and clear guidance on how to go about some of these home improvement projects.

So what is it this time? Are your drawers giving you trouble i.e. getting stuck when you pull them out or they get all the way out until they fall with the contents on the floor? Or maybe you want to build a beautiful and durable chest of drawers but not sure on how to go about the slides? Well don’t worry, here is a simple do it yourself guide on how to make wooden drawer slides.

Why wooden slides?

There are obviously different typesof drawer slides available today, but unfortunately, most of these slides have their disadvantages. Some are expensive, some not durable and others are simply not suitable for certain types of drawers and materials.

Wooden drawer slides, on the other hand, are the most and best-recommended types of sliding for use in drawers. This preference is mostly because wooden slides are inexpensive, durable and are less mental to make and fix. A well-built drawer with wooden slides will easily open all the way giving you full access to contents of the drawer.

Types of drawer slides

There are different types of drawer slides, and your choice on one that is best suited for your construction will depend on various factors. The most important factors to consider include, the ease of sliding, base material, and how the slides are mounted.

You also need to understand the benefits of the various types of slides, how easy it is to install them and how much weight the drawer can contain before you settle on a particular slide type.

These are the most popular types of drawer sides;

  • European type slides– European drawer slides are mounted directly to the bottom of the drawer side and the inside of the cabinet. These kind of slides are not just inexpensive but are also easy to install making them a popular preference for home improvement repairs.
  • Side mount slides –the side slides are the most popular slides used in most drawer constructions. The slides are typically fastened on the outside of the drawers and the inside of the cabinet. These slides are however only visible when you open the drawers.
  • Center mount slides – just like the name suggests, center mount slides are mounted under the center of the drawers. Once installed, the slides are barely visible from the top and are therefore the best choice if you want a slide that is hidden. Additionally, these type of slidesis easy to install and are best fitted for smaller drawers where visibility is not needed.
  • Bottom mount slides - bottom slides are usually mounted underneath which leaves the sides of the drawers divested with clutter. They are mostly usedin rooms where storage is of top priority like kitchens, computer rooms, and bathrooms. What is more is that bottom mount slides tend to hold heavyweight capacities and are afull extension which means that you can remove them for cleaning and related things.
  • Under mount slides – these type of slides are equally easy to install just like the center mount slides. They are a perfect variation for drawers that can hold heavier loads. For installation, these slides are usually mounted under the sides of the drawer and are therefore not very visible.

How to make wooden drawer slides- the side mount

Making wooden drawer slides is very simple. As long as you have the right tools and material, then the process is very easy and fast. Follow this guide to make the best side mount slides for your drawers.

1. Assemble everything you need

It is vital that before you embark on any woodworking/home improvement project that you organize everything you need for the task. For this particular project, you will need;

2. Take appropriate measurements for the drawer and slides

When making drawer slides, you first need to have the proper measurements for where the drawer will be placed. You should use the tape measure for this. Once you have the necessary measurements, you can then commence to cutting the wood in consideration to the exact height, width and depth measurements you have taken.

3. Cut the dado

For you to be able to make slides that drawers can snug in perfectly you also need to cut perfect dadoes on the side of the drawers where the slides will fit in. A dado is just a groove cut into one piece of wood to help you connect two pieces of stock together.

To be able to do this, you will a table saw or a router.

Note: for a table saw, ensure that you are very familiar with the table saw at hand and that you observe all safety precautions when using this machine.

Also, do not cut the dado too deep as this may weaken the stock. Ensure that the dado is not more than 1/3” deep into the stock.

So now to cut a dado, you need first to set the rip fence and the blade height accordingly so that they don’t cut the wood board all the way through. Unfortunately, the table saw is not always able to get all the wood pieces out of the dado. Therefore, you will have to use a chisel to remove any bits of wood remaining in the cut groove.

4. Cut the slider strips

Next, you need to cut the strips for the slides. Remember that for the slides, you will need to make two of them, one for each side of the drawer.

To proceed, begin by cutting strips that are 3/4” wide from the wooden board. These strips should also be slightly shorter that the length of the drawer box sides.

5. Drill holes on the strips

You have the strips, one for each side of the drawer. So next you just need to drill holes onto each strip using a drill machine. Drill three holes, on both ends and the middle of each strip. These holes are the ones you will use to screw the slides onto the cabinet.

6. Install the slides on the cabinet

With the slides in place, your next step is to install them on the cabinet. To do this, you need to ensure that the slides are placed strategically so that the top of the dado rests on the slider. But before this, you first need to use the measurements taken earlier in the process to mark the position of the slides on the cabinet.

Just mark the position of the wood slides so that the top of the dado will be sitting on the slider and the bottom snagging slider from below. When doing this, ensure that the slides are level. Use a tape measure to make accurate markings and a level to make sure that slides are well leveled and sitting correctly.

Next, drill holes onto the cabinet and screw the slides onto the cabinet securely.

7. Assemble your drawers

You are done making the wooden slides and attaching them to the main cabinet. The next thing you should do is just to assemble your drawer and bam! Test to see that the drawers can pull out easily and moderately.

Importantly, you might want to wax the slides to improve the gliding motion. Other things can be used in this case like oil, but wax is much better as it helps to make the drawers glide smoothly on the wooden slides and also make the slides last longer.


With all said and done, it is time you stopped enduring poorly built slides or dealing with slides that pull all the way out until they fall and scatter contents on the floor. With this guide, you should be able to perfectly make and install side wooden drawer slides on a cabinet.

From the details above on how to make wooden drawer slides, you can conclude that making wooden slides is not difficult. In fact, it is very easy; you just need to follow the above steps to the latter, take measurements and use them correctly, use the appropriate tools and exercise patience. At the end of the day,you will find that the project is very successful and that you have a chest of drawers with very well-built drawer slides.

Take advantage of your woodworking skills and tools to save on unnecessary spending for repairs and other home improvement projects that you can do with a simple DIY guide like this one. So good luck!

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