How to install ball-bearing drawer slides

Ball-bearing slides

Why choose these?

  • Ideal for drawers with hefty contents, such as silverware or tools.
  • Full-extension range allows the drawer to open fully for best access to contents in the back. Less-costly, 34 extensions open to expose all but the back fourth of the drawer. Installation is the same for each style.
  • Lubricated bearings make for the smoothest sliding action.
  • Typical ball-bearing slides sell for about $8 to $25 per pair. Additional features, such as self-closing mechanisms or higher weight ratings, increase this cost.

Mount to the drawer first

1. Begin by attaching the drawer-mount member. With the slide aligned flush to the drawer front and bottom edge, attach with a screw at the front in a vertical slot, photo below, and then add one at the rear.

Drilling top of metal slide
With the slide still joined together, align it with the bottom edge of the drawer side. Slide it back to reveal a screw slot and drive a screw.

2. Repeat for the other side of the drawer; then separate the cabinet-mount portions of the slides.

Now for the cabinet

1. With the cabinet-mount member clipped into its front mounting bracket (about $1 apiece), seat the bracket's wrapped shoulder snugly against the back of the face frame for the correct offset, photo below.

Drilling the meta slide on the left of drawer
With the bracket resting on the face frame, hold the slide as level as possible, and then secure it with two screws in the frame.

2. Tape a torpedo or any short level onto the slide—or use one with a magnet that will grip the slide—and use it to align the slide up or down. (The cabinet must be shimmed level for this to be accurate.) Measure the gap between the slide and cabinet side to ensure the slide mounts parallel to the cabinet side.Attach the back end

3. Secure the rear mounting bracket ($1.50 each) to the cabinet, photo right.

Drilling slide on back slide of drawer
Use a self-centering bit to drill pilot holes and then drive a screw into the center of the horizontal slot to allow for adjustment later.

4. Slide the drawer into the cabinet mounts until the catches lock. To adjust the fit, use the same techniques from Step 4 of the roller slides.

5. Drive the remaining screws to secure the slides in place.


Tip of the Day

Rolls-Royce stopblock

shop tip

Stopblocks come in real handy when you want to cut several pieces to the same length. But you... read more