Drawer Slide Choices for Pull-Out Shelving

Thoughts on whether to use high-end drawer slides to mount pull-out shelves, and on what the installation process would entail. February 26, 2007

I am looking over a set of prints for a large set of kitchen cabinets and the thing is, the customer saw a cabinet display that had what I assume was "Blumotion" on the drawers. This client wants Blumotion on the many drawers in the kitchen but also wants it on the many "pull out shelves" too - even a pantry.

Does anyone have any thoughts on pull out shelves with Blumotion? It seems over the top to me but also I suppose I can make a lot of money if I price them correctly. I have been an Accuride full extension sidemount kind of drawer man. Can anyone tell me what my increase in hardware cost and labor will be to switch from Accuride full extension to Tandem with Blumotion?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor D:
If you want to come all of the way out of the dark ages, just use the tandem box drawers with Blumotion. They have a ton of value added options and configurations available and make assembly very easy.

From the original questioner:
Yes, I agree that they are sharp and add value. I’m wondering about how to bid as far as increased labor over full extension sidemounts. I’m shooting in the dark here.

From contributor P:
The increased labor will mostly be in your own learning curve. You do need to notch the bottom of the drawer boxes to accept the slides. There’s really no extra work for the Blumotion part, as it's integrated into the slide.

From contributor C:
To contributor D: Thanks for the advice. I'm actually considering using the new Nova Pro drawer boxes from Grass. The advantage as described on the True32 site include fewer parts, easier drawer front adjustability, slightly increased storage space as well as being able to use the same width for the drawer bottoms and the backs. You're absolutely right, though, about the time savings: five minutes assembly time vs. hours preparing solid wood stock, cutting, dovetailing, assembly and finishing. Is that a sliver of daylight I see up ahead?

From contributor M:
I use some of each - tandem and side mount - and I think the tandems are no more time to install (except for the learning curve as mentioned). Plus, they are easy to adjust. Get the little drill jig from Blum (p/n T165-1000) to locate the rear and front holes. You can leave the drawer box backs short to slide in the bottoms and then no notching is needed, but this works best with 1/4" bottoms (otherwise you're drilling into the edge of the bottom). As far as pullout shelves go, I think the Blumotion is especially nice, since it makes sure everything is tucked in when the doors close.

From contributor R:
What are the costs when comparing the "Nova Pro " to the "Tandem box"?

From contributor H:
I use the Blum tandems with Softclose for pantry pullouts and customers love them. I use 1/2 bottoms to handle the weight of canned goods. 1/2 sides, 3/4 front and back and 1/2 bottom. No notch is needed and it takes less than 1 minute to assemble a drawer. I add a 1/2 face that hides the bottom track and part of the spacer. I started using the Tenn-Tex system and clients love the fact that they can adjust the heights of the pullouts instantaneously.

From contributor F:
I use the regular slides for these and the Blumotion for drawers. The Blumotion are a little slow in closing (by design) so there is a tendency to want to close the door before the drawer is fully recessed. Then again if the client wants them and understands how they will work, so be it.

From contributor D:
To contributor M: The customers’ perception is kind of funny. I am not sure how your customers are, but mine are used to seeing baltic birch or melamine drawers and 3/4 ext epoxy slides from the other shops and the wives are making all of the decisions while the husband just nods his head with that glazed look in his eyes. But when the husband sees the Tandembox with Blumotion (I think it hits their mechanical bone) they get interested and pick them flat out. Then they show every friend that stops by their house how their drawers don't slam because they have shock absorbers. For the customers who are putting in stainless appliances I show them the stainless Tandembox drawers and how they compliment them.

The worst thing about ordering them used to be putting all of the parts together for all of the different configurations but HDL took care of that by packaging them in their catalog with pictures and giving retail pricing, which helps.

The other benefit I think is hard to realize up front is that when you are working with clients and giving estimates, when you are using wood drawers and especially if you outsource, you are charged for every inch of height and width of drawer. So if the customer makes changes and adds or subtracts drawers or worse, changes an opening of a drawer bank a few inches, you have to resubmit the new sizes and recalculate the cost, where with the metal drawer systems the cost doesn't change except the price of the 5/8" back and bottom. So with that I have one price for all drawers under 24 inches wide and one price for drawers over 24 inches wide.

From contributor D:
The different widths for the backs and bottoms aren’t that bad. We have a chart that we made to help make it easier. When there is a little free time I have somebody crosscut enough melamine to 21 9/16 x 96" to do all of the bottoms, then take the leftover pieces and rip to 2 5/8 for the m height drawers and 7 3/16 for the d height backs.

Then as soon as the face frames are assembled and we get the opening sizes, you just have to subtract 2 7/8 from the opening width for the bottoms and cut them all at once, then subtract 3 7/16 from the opening width and cut all of the backs, edgeband them and the drawers are ready to assemble, which only takes a few minutes per drawer.

And we have 2 jigs for drilling the drawer fronts for the front fixing brackets. One for inset drawers and one for 1/2" overlay. Once the drawers are built we drill them and fit them, make any adjustments, which are generally minor, and then take them off to finish.

From contributor F:
Although my boxes cost more to make, I still think they are a better value for the dollar. If the difference in price were $30 per box (as stated in the previous post), in a kitchen with say 10 drawers, that's a total of $300. For me an average custom kitchen is 20k making the difference 1.5%. Not really a big cost savings in my opinion to not go with solid wood. And people do tend to show off their Blumotion slides/drawers so the solid gets plenty of attention.

From contributor D:
It is hard to get a consistent price comparison between Tandembox vss maple dovetail because my cost for Tandembox stays pretty consistent per drawer even when the with changes. For instance a drawer that is 10 inches wide and a drawer that is 30 inches wide do not cost me significantly more to produce since the only change is the cost of the melamine, which would be approximately $2.50. But if you price a 10 inch wide dovetail drawer vs. a 30 inch wide dovetail drawer, your cost would be quite a bit more.

Now, Take 2 -9 inch deep drawers, one 10 inches wide in Tandembox and one in dovetailed maple. That Tandembox drawer may cost you as much as a dovetailed maple drawer in that size, but if you make them 30 inches wide, The Tandembox gets to be much cheaper. That is why I try to design in more wide drawers where possible. It ends up giving the customers bigger and wider drawers that they love and my cost per foot goes down.

From contributor C:

To contributor F: There's no doubt in my mind which one has more personality - the dovetailed drawer, of course! It takes much more time and skill to pump those things out, however. Are you notching for the tandem slides or cutting the back short?

From contributor T:
To contributor F: You say "It takes much more time and skill to pump those things out." I would suggest that you outsource. My dovetails are delivered just as quick (well, nearly) as the slides.

From contributor F:
I cut the backs short right before assembly. For my setup it's quicker than notching. All told making them in house takes a good amount of time, but then again that's my job, making things, so I don't mind. It's not for everyone, but I enjoy making as much of the project in house as my skills allow.

From contributor C:
To contributor F: It's obvious you take a great deal of pride in your work! Are your bottom pins extra wide to hide the drawer bottom's edge and the space underneath?

From contributor F:
Nope, I just let the last pin end. I did spend some time trying to come up with a cleaner solution but realized I was getting a bit too carried away.