Supporting Drawer Slides in Face-Frame Cabinets

When face frames aren't flush with the cabinet box, setting drawer slides is tricky. Cabinetmakers share tips and techniques. July 9, 2005

Is there an easy way to build drawers out of face-frame cabinets? What I mean is when the sides can't be flush with the inside of the face-frame. I'm not really into using the sockets for the back of the slides. Is there any easy trick other than going frameless?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor K:
It certainly isn't an easy answer. You need to put filler strips to build out the side of the case to be flush to the inside of the face frame. I typically make them 2" wide and the depth of the cabinet. You may have to rip them to the thickness you need.

On my cabinets I use 1 1/2" styles on the finished ends, and use 3/4 material for the case. This way when I have to add filler it is 3/4" thick. When cabinets are placed side by side, I flush the case to the inside of the frame and sometimes double my partitions where I need a mid style. Fillers are tricky, but if you don't intend on using the guide brackets there really isn't another choice.

From contributor M:
I would suggest trying to mount the slides to a 3/4" X 2" wood runner that is nailed through the face frame and stapled through the back.

From contributor T:
The built-out runners as described above are really not a big deal as far as construction and cost, and I have never had any problems with this approach over many years of making face-frame cabinets. The same goes for the doors. Only I use 3" blocks instead of runners and have never had any complaints or call backs. I still prefer face-frame style like in the old days of making cabinets.

From contributor H:
I definitely agree - I don't like using the mounting brackets on the back because they are difficult to install, and are not all that strong. I used wood runners for years, but if you use accurate guides, you have to nail through the front of the frames. I use filterer full extension guides (KV will also work) because they have a hole to mount a screw into the face frame, and then we use a block on the side of the cabinet. This seems to work very well.

From contributor G:
We used to build out from the sides so the slide was secured all the way to the back. We found it was very time consuming trying to set the drawers, especially if the cabinet wasn't perfectly square. We started using blum slides and bought a jig to set them in the face frame. We use a ratchet hand clamp to hold the jig nice and tight.

When we make the boxes, we run a piece of pine across the back inset 3/4" in every drawer hole - it's usually 2" wide and it helps sturdy up the cabinet as well. We then make up some 3" pieces of the same 2" wide pine and take some 1/4" Luan scraps and cut them into 2" wide by 3" long strips and glue and staple one on to the end of the pine blocks to form an L.

After the slide is in the jig in the frame, we go to the back end and put the luan side against the back brace and slide it till the pine block barely touches the slide. We then run two 1" screws through the luan into the back brace. Then you can run a couple of screws through your slide into the pine block. The drawer is almost always set just right the first time. It seems to hold as tight as tail sockets and it’s very easy to adjust. The drawers slide very nice as well.