Changing from Undermount to Side-Mounted Drawer Glides

Swapping out the hardware is simple enough, but the strength of attachment of the drawer bottoms could be a concern. November 29, 2014

Question (WOODWEB Member) :
I have a number of cabinets that use a Euro bottom glide slide. I am wondering how tough it will be to modify the wood cabinets to a side glide. I am thinking of one with a slow closure-side mount. The cabinets are made of oak but the darn mounts are starting to break at the back where the brackets attach to the back of the cabinet.

I see on a number of websites that a half inch space is needed on both sides of the cabinet to the drawer. I wondered if there was a tutorial on this process. I could imagine there will need to be a shim possibly on each one. I was looking at the glideRite line of slides and wondered if there was a better choice that is tried and true. Any insight and wisdom for this project will be much helpful.

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor D:
Modifying the cabinet to accept the slides is not the problem but the existing drawers probably have the bottom under the box instead of being encased in a groove - not good for side mounts.

From contributor M:
I disagree with the last comment. I have used side-mounted drawer hardware for years on drawers I make myself with nail on bottoms not mounted in a dado.

From contributor D:
The original poster asked about retro fitting some existing drawer boxes that have Euro slides. When you make yours you must glue the bottom on, right? Typically it's been my experience that the lionís share of this type of drawer box may not have the bottom glued on but only pinned or stapled up to the bottom of the drawer box, and that is one reason what I said is a concern. Even with the bottom glued on the weight is going the wrong way against the fasteners. Maybe it's just me. I suppose it would be interesting to see how many others build a drawer like yours. Is there something that makes it better or stronger that I am missing?

From contributor M:
Nothing is as strong, ultimately, as having the drawer bottom in a dado. But gluing and stapling a bottom onto a drawer side can be more than adequate. Have you ever tried to pull a staple out of Baltic birch plywood? I don't know why the original poster here couldn't just reinforce his existing drawers with more fasteners.

From contributor D:
I don't personally know any shops that build that way on purpose for side mounts. I have repaired pantry roll out drawers made that way that the bottoms were coming off. It could have been an afterthought to make them full ext side mounts? The bottom will square up the drawer box nice, but other than that and only when a Euro mount is used not much structural integrity for a side mount slide. In my opinion most bottom unders use Euro type slides from cabinet shops.

From the original questioner:
I have been doing professional woodworking for the last 15 years. I retired 15 years ago as a machinist and decided to go from metal to wood. I have a client who wanted to swap out some hardware. It is wrapped up and I modified the cabinets to meet the needs of the customer.

From contributor M:
Nailing on drawer bottoms has the added benefit of not making dead space at the bottom of the drawer. Of course, that wasted space isn't wasted if you are using undermount slides - it is needed. For side slides there is no point in dadoing in the bottoms if you have good fasteners to attach them to the sides. The only problem with this is that the edges of the bottom panel will show around the perimeter of the drawer. I just put the part of the drawer slide which attaches to the drawer down low enough to cover it up.