DO IT RIGHT!
That is my mantra. I like to see the end results just as much as anyone else, but a hurried project will look hurried. That being said, this is Post 2.5 of a 3 post series of the Roadside Redo cabinet project Click here to read Part 1 in this series, or here to read Part 2.
When this cabinet was originally built, the top wide drawer was made to slide on wooden rails inside the cabinet walls. This is a very simple solution for a drawer slide but by far not the best solution for such a wide, heavy drawer such as this cabinet features. On its original slides the drawer would not have extended from the cabinet very easily; it would have torqued from one side to the other when pulled out or pushed in. Also, once extended more than halfway, the drawer would have begun to fall out of its opening, potentially falling onto the floor (or someones feet) if pulled out all the way. Below is a SketchUp model of what the left cabinet slide looked like originally, highlighted in red.
With all the time I have invested in refinishing this cabinet I wanted a smooth sliding drawer that would operate easily even when weighted down by objects stored inside. For this purpose I purchased drawer slides from my local hardware store. Simple drawer slides come in various lengths; my local hardware store had them in even numbered lengths from 14″ to 24″. My cabinet is just over 17″ deep, so I chose a set of 16″ drawer slides. They came with 2 drawer rails, 2 cabinet rails, all required screws, and detailed instructions (in multiple languages).
Because I had already assembled the cabinet face frame, I would have to make a slight adjustment for the new drawer slides. The instructions call for the drawer opening to be between 1″ and 1 + 1/16″ wider than the drawer width. The width of my drawer was already 38 + 3/4″, and making it narrower would be far too much work. Instead I chose to make notches out of the face frame to allow for the metal drawer slides to operate.
The opening in the cabinet face for the drawer was 39 + 1/16″, and I needed to make it 39 + 3/4″. This meant cutting a 3/8″ notch out of each side of the face frame. Once the drawer is in place, these notches would be practically unnoticeable as they would be hidden by the perimeter of the drawer face. Below is the left of the cabinet opening showing in red where I needed to cut out the notch.
I cut these notches very carefully with a handheld jigsaw, trying to keep them as square as possible; the notches will be noticeable when the drawer is opened and I want them to look very clean. I made the notches just taller than the height of the metal slides. You can see how these notches allow for the metal slides in the photo below.
And in the next photo, the drawer is in! It slides quite well, but is a bit difficult to lift in and out; I don’t plan on removing the drawer very often so it will work fine for me.
Ignore how bright the wood looks in these photos, I was working in a poorly lit garage and the flash seems to think the wood is much lighter and uglier in color than it really is. But you will see that in the Final Reveal in the last post of this series, where I will explain what finish I chose and how to apply it, secure the glass in the doors, and put on all the hardware.