Friday, April 24, 2009

Good Slides = $$$$$$

I'm finally back to work on my base cabinets after a few weeks of flooring work. It's going well, and I should be able to start installation this weekend. This past week I had to sort out some drawer slide issues.

On the advice of Paul Gort I got an account with the Montreal hardware dealer Richelieu and ordered all my hinges through them. I bought Blum hinges with the optional 'Blumotion' clips, which adds a soft-close feature. It was worth the trouble of setting up an account and ordering online because the hinges were about half the price than I could find locally (about a third of Lee Valley!!). Drawer slides caused some grief though. I wanted the same soft-close feature but Blum Tandem slides with the optional Blumotion clips were $35 a pair. Including my pantry I have 30 drawers. That's $1050 in slides alone, more than the entire materials bill!

After some hunting around I found some ball bearing slides with a soft close feature at Lee Valley. At $13 a pair they seemed like a more economical choice.

Lee Valley didn't have a set of these on display unfortunately so I couldn't see how they worked. After purchasing them I saw that they didn't work worth a shit. The mechanism that creates the soft close is basically a spring that engages the slide once it gets close, and a small oil shock stops the spring from slamming the slide home. Unfortunately the spring didn't engage the slide everytime, sometimes it just bounced off the little clip. And when it did engage properly the spring didn't always pull the slide all the way home, leaving the drawer sticking out about 1/4". I mocked up a quick drawer and drawer pocket just to confirm my suspicions. Yup, turns out they suck.

I was at PJ White last week and saw that they had Hettich soft close slides on sale. I played around with the little mock up drawer they had on display and they worked beautifully, opening easily and closing perfectly every time.

Like the Blum slides, Hettich has a unique way of attaching the slide to the actual drawer. The slides themselves don't come apart, instead a hole in the back of the drawer engages a small pin in the back of the slide and the front clips to the bottom of the drawer with a set of plastic clips. The entire slides are hidden under the drawer which means the weight of the drawer rests entirely on the slide, rather than on a couple screws like side mount slides.

At $26 a pair they were twice the price of the shitty Lee Valley slides but $10 cheaper than the Blum slides. I think I'll still build a drawer mockup, just to make sure I don't mess up the actual drawers.