Drawer Slide Options

A discussion of the latest in drawer slide technology. October 25, 2006

I'm wondering what people prefer to use for undermounted drawer slides on dovetail drawers. I've noticed that the tandem drawer slides glide very smoothly but are much more expensive than the Blum solo slides. They also seem to involve a couple more steps in installing. Is the reasoning behind using the Blum tandem slides that if the customer can afford the dovetail drawer upgrade, they can also spring for the tandem slides?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor R:
In my shop, we don't offer anything except Blum Tandem undermount slides. Doesn't matter if the drawer is dovetailed or not. I don't think there's any viable alternative for custom cabinetry, unless it's built with traditional wooden runners. The extra cost of Tandems needs to be figured in, sure. But we can't claim to sell high-end custom work and give them anything less.

From contributor T:
I agree 100%. You are known for the worst thing you do as well as the best. We switched to dovetail with Blum Tandem slides two years ago. Customers and installers love them. Starting this month, we no longer do laminate tops - Dovae solid surface is our standard top. We only offer one brand and only 10 colors at the standard price. Thinking this will minimize waste.

From contributor O:
We offer the Blum epoxy coated slides as our standard, with Tandems as an upgrade, and have sold the upgrade on every job for the past 2 years. You can get these slides and low end Merilat cabinets now! You may want to check out KV's new undermount slide. Same specs for milling the drawer box as Blum. Quality is the same, plus the soft close feature is standard, at a much better price point. One major point is all components are included in the case. No more forgetting front latches or rear L brackets. Check them out and you may be surprised.

From contributor J:
The Hettich Quattros also come with the soft close feature now, at about 70% of the cost for the Blum slides. Having tried them both, I think the Blum has a smoother operation. My only concern is the longevity of them. The mechanism seems a bit lightweight in comparison to the construction of the rest of the slide.

Previously I used the Quattros for all my cabinetry because I believed they were beefier and would last longer then the Blum and/or other brands. Now I have started using Blumotion slides in all my cabinetry, specifically for the soft close feature. I just hope I don't regret it.

As for the cost, in a kitchen with say 10 drawers, it will add roughly an additional $100, depending of course on what you are using now. Not all that much in the overall price for a feature people really like.

From the original questioner:
Thank you for your timely responses! Custom cabinetry and dovetail drawers seem to go hand in hand. It does make sense to use the very best of drawer slides.

Thanks for the lower priced alternatives. Contributor J, are you charging $100 per drawer or for the entire upgrade? You brought up another interesting point: the blumotion feature. How many of your clients are going for this extra?

From contributor J:
That's an example of the cost difference for going from the Quattros without the silent close (what used to be my standard slide) to the Blumotion. Since everything else stays the same - drawer construction, assembly, etc. - they only pay the difference in costs of the slide. I am currently working on some wardrobes and drawer cabinets. Altogether, 12 drawers with Blumotion slides. The difference in my cost is about $10 per pair, so that's a total of $120 difference in a 10k job. At this point I don't even offer the less expensive slides unless a client is trying to get my price down. Like I said before though, as they are relatively new to the scene, I am a little concerned about what their lifespan will be. More moving parts mean more things to wear out. Only time will tell when.

From contributor H:
I have started using the KV undermount after years of the tandem. The price is better, the slide is quieter, and the locking mechanism is better, in my opinion. I did have a problem with the rubber bumper falling off the SMOVE device on my first order and called the local KV rep. He was already on a tour of my area with new and better rubber tips, which work great. They do not have the rear angle adjustment, but will have it soon, although I have not used it yet with my tandems, as my double line borer is deadly accurate.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the clarification on pricing. It's funny how even though the drawer slide prices seem high at first, they're actually pretty small compared to the finished drawers, fronts and doors.

Contributor H, are you talking about the KV9400's? The price I'm seeing for a 22" slide on Woodworker's Hardware is $30.38 per pair, whereas the price for a 21" pair of Blum tandem/Blumotion's is $35.78.

From contributor Z:
The prices you list for kv9400's seem high. My catalog from HDL (Hardware Distributors Limited - same as Woodworkers Hardware, but wholesale division) lists the 22" kv9400 at $20.25 a set. I may not be understanding because it's late on a Friday after a long and blistering hot week, but if you're not signed up with HDL, you need to be.

From contributor M:
Yes - HDL rules! I'm in MA, and it makes more sense to order from a company half way across the country than it does to order from a company 10 miles away. They are very prompt, and always have my stuff in stock. I have never waited for a back order.

As far as the slides go… We never have a job with so many drawers that the "extra" 10 bucks a box will have a huge impact. Most of the people in my area expect whatever they get to be the best of quality and question nothing. The slides with Blumotion are about $22/pair. I buy boxes of the locking devices at a time, and the slides as I need them. One note about the Blumotion: I feel that the first version of it (you know - the huge contraption) works much better than the newer version, where it is integrated in the slide. Anyone else agree?

From contributor I:
At this time, the tandem with blumotion is the best and hottest selling slide in my territory. The retro-kit that attached to the slide did have a nice closing action; however, it takes about 20% more force to open, 3 lbs force vs. 2.5 lbs, than the new integrated version, and because women open a finger pull drawer very differently from men, that has made a difference.

On the west coast, CA, the tandem with blumotion has taken over in high end kitchens. All you have to do is display it and let them close it and they're sold - they love it. The KV9400 is just now hitting this market. We'll have stock next week. Nice slide, not quite as smooth as a tandem, but very close. Well thought out with extra slide lengths, brackets included, soon to receive a WI approval rating at 75 lb and 125 lb and the $6.00 savings is nice as well.

That type of savings may not sway the high end customer if the Blum still has a smoother action, and takes less force to open (3 lb vs 2.5 lb), however, it should help those who are on the fence add the soft close to their kitchens.

Wait till you see the new Silence Hinge that should be in stock in the next couple weeks. It starts its soft close motion at 45 degrees, and they have a patent pending on the mechanism located inside the hinge body so you can't even tell it's there. Blum hole pattern, Salice ram needed for hinge machines. Expensive? Yes, but if it's the best, that's what the high end customer wants. Only 105 degree opening for now, but what a nice closing action. Show this on a door as a complement to the tandem slide with blumotion and it will sell itself.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for directing my attention to HDL - I never knew it existed! I thought that since the prices on Woodworker's Hardware were so long, they were already wholesale.

Funny that you should mention the huge contraption on the blumotion slides. I remember seeing them all over the catalogs and then suddenly fading into non-existence.

A silent close hinge? That sounds very promising and would eliminate the extra drilling for the blumotion.

From contributor H:
I get mine from Trend here in Ft. Lauderdale and they are 20.00pr and change. You are paying too much, as the others have already mentioned.

From the original questioner:
Just watched a Silence Hinge video on the web. Didn't realize that they were an independent company. Looks like a very simple installation process. Anyone got any ideas what those puppies will be going for?

By the way, contributor H, I just noticed on your website that you have a line directed at kosher Jews - very clever!

From contributor F:
I've heard the cost is in the $5 to $6 range. About half again as much as the commodity Blum, just like the soft close Tandem is more.

From contributor H:
I have been designing and building kosher kitchens for 27 years. I am an orthodox Jew and my main clientele in Montreal, Canada, before I moved to South Florida, was the orthodox in Montreal and New York.

From contributor I:
Louis and Company sells it for about $6.00 hinge and plate down to about $5.00 hinge and plate, depending on the quantity of hinges and plates ordered. Texas has them in stock, and California should have them in stock after August 8th.

From contributor F:
The Silence Hinge is also in stock at Louis & Company branches other than those mentioned.

From contributor D:
You can end up with a lower overall cost per drawer by switching to Tandembox vs. Tandems and wood drawers. They come standard with Blumotion and HDL has now made it simple to order different configurations with only one part number. Since the only thing that changes your cost with different drawer widths is the cost of the bottom and back, you can build wide drawers much more profitably than you can do them in wood.

From the original questioner:
You guys are the best! Those hinges aren't nearly as expensive as I had anticipated. Thanks for suggesting the tandembox alternative. It could serve as an intermediate option between the metal box and the dovetail drawers.

From contributor N:

Did anyone see the new Salice Hinge with the softclose feature built into the cup part of the hinge? It is pretty slick! The only drawback is that the cup depth is not standard, but according to the rep, the same cup depth will be available in a couple months. Also, I disagree about metabox being cheaper than dovetail maple. I have an automatic dovetailer machine and total time to build a dovetail drawer of about 15 minutes. I always offer the metabox as an option, but I don't see it as a standard.