We have typically built Baltic birch drawer boxes. However, I have a large job coming up that requires 1500 plus drawers. I have had both Blum and Grass reps in to demonstrate their drawer systems. I am still undecided so I would like some feedback. What are the pros and cons to either system?
From contributor A:
At 1500 boxes the price should be your deciding factor. Ask for a Blum minipress, a bomber jacket, and a couple of hats for the boys.
By the Grass using a consistent spacing I feel that it is much simplifier to lay out.
One of the biggest selling points for the Grass over the Blum is the full extension. If you want full extension drawers, the Grass you just order a full extension member, and lower the cabinet mounting slide 32mm, where the Blum you must purchase a whole new drawer and slide assembly, mounting is similar, I cannot remember if you move the slide up or down 32mm. If you know you are using full extension from the start it doesn’t make much of a difference, however if your drawer extension changes after you have ordered, it is much easier to change using the Grass.
The tough part is when the drawer fronts don't line up. Getting behind the front with a posi driver to loosen and adjust the "up and down cams" isn't too bad. Getting the left and right adjusted is slower with a tap here and a tap there. Then when you tighten the screws the front moves, so you do it again. Sometimes you force it out of alignment so it aligns when you tighten it. It can be a pain.
Also, don't forget your angle drill/driver 'cause you need to run some 5/8" screws into the back of the drawer fronts to hold them tight and hold the adjustments. Remember they are just pressed together and sometimes those press-in dowels let loose. It is especially important on the 6436's (tall ones). Use square drive pan heads with a long driver bit so you can go in as square as possible. A flat head will cause your front to move (again). Or you can do what my competition does and just forget about the screws and hope they don't get loose.
Keep an eye on the plastic bumpers that are snapped on behind the front roller (cabinet member). These disappear from time to time. If they go, then your drawer front will be smacking against your cab constantly and will definitely loosen the plastic dowels.
Lastly, if you wind up in a very quiet room, and your customer is particularly picky, the noise will bother them. They are not quiet when they close. Grass has not introduced a quiet close system for Zargen's (that I know of) yet. I guess it's difficult to have a slow close with a gravity close type slide. Or the cost (already high) will go through the roof.
There is a wrinkle to this project that I didn't want to divulge too soon. The fronts are going to need to be interchangeable in the field. The customer wants tenants to have the option of black pl, natural maple, and maple stained cherry. Although the Blum system has the added of benefit of clipping off one front and attaching another, this is also their drawback.
The bigger concern, however, is that we are thinking of going to a drawer slide system for all of commercial projects which means that I needed to look at this with a broader scope than just this one job.
I wasn't aware of the A-frame clamping system. The literature says that assembly times of 60 boxes per hour are attainable. With the mini press we thought that we would be in the 20 box per hour range. Do you have experience with the bigger press? What are the realistic times?
The A-Frame is absolutely worth the investment, and buying in the bulk 300 pack is great as well, as the case sides go right to the assembly area in their own boxes. We pocket-screwed the front of the bottom to hold it tight against the face, and set up a dedicated staple gun on the A-Frame press for shooting through the back into the bottom.
The only problem is when you have both partial overlay and full overlay situations, as the faces with have holes that are offset, which adds extra sorting into the mix. I've used the metabox, and it’s a good system, but grass is the one I would go with for both ease of use and speed in assembly.