Slides for drawers

I’m planning to redesign my workbench, it will probably become 1m deep. While searching for long ball bearing slides I found out that stable ones with this length will be practically unaffordable for a hobby workshop. Has anyone ever built cheap and well running drawers themselves and has a few tips for me?
Thank you,

What about using traditional kickers and runner that are waxed? Or you could update them by using HDPE or another slick plastic material.

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With honey? :wink: We used candle’s with a scent for that.
How much weight? The stable ones are up to € 300 and could take approximately 250 kg, I have found cheaper ones that can take 45 kg but cost only € 33. Two pair can thus take 90 kg for € 66…

Hi Carsten,

Not sure what your budget is, but these guys might be worth a look.

They kit out fire trucks with these, so I guess that makes them pretty reliable (one would hope!).

I have built many kitchen islands too wide for standard guides, so I put drawers on both sides with standard guides. Of course you need access from both sides.

A few thoughts:

Hack job? Buy cheaper runners and double them up (lengthways, and in parallel if you need to support extra weight).

Smart but not space efficient? Use ball(bearing) casters on the base of the drawers or runners (possibly sacrificing some space in the process).

Old skool practicality: Solid runners (aluminium, hdpe or hardwood) with teflon tape on the edges as DaveR suggested, or find some skis and recycle those :slight_smile:

My favourite option:
Use rollers (wardrobe sliders or barn door sliders) instead of ballbearing runners. You just have to keep the tolerances tight so the drawer stays aligned - so maybe not a good option fro a very large drawer

Outta the box method:
Dont use drawers, use pullout bins (like a shoe rack) with compartments.

If you need them to stop, my preferred method is a bit of rope or strapping tied through the back of the drawer, and through a hole into the back of the work bench, to stop the drawer sliding out (nylon rope gives a bit of stretch too which is nice). It’s important not to have a drawer full of tools sliding out onto your feet :slight_smile:


This is the mess I want to replace in my garage which makes me nervous every time I get close… :wink:
Skis are already there! (left of the picture)…

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In total this would be too expensive because I plan to build a lot of drawers.

This isn’t an option here (see picture above).

I have seen a Teflon tape (also not cheap), would it be stable enough for heavy drawers?

Thank you all for the great input so far!

[quote=“AK_SAM, post:6, topic:134454”]
Use ball(bearing) casters
[/quote]… done something similar except takes up less room with discarded skate bearings (even new skate bearing are pretty inexpensive) and aluminum angle attached to the drawer sides, two rows of bearings on each side, set one row above the other attached to the carcass sides, aluminum slides between them. Inexpensive and carries a heavy load. Can get fancy and add a third set of bearings to ride the sides of the drawers to keep them from racking.

Something like this?


Yup! only I off set the bearings, lower row leading the upper by about a bearing. But to tell the truth can’t remember why, or if it’d make a difference. :wink:

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Yes. You really don’t need any synthetic materials at all if you use hardwood.


They say very intelligent people have messy workplaces :smiley:

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That’s a good idea using roller/ball bearings (like 6001)

…but i think the idea is to put one row of bearings on the drawer and use two L-brackets as runner, fixed to the carcass (one which the bearings ride on, and one upper or lower just to keep it aligned.) I guess both methods have pros/cons!

Accounting for the bolt head will be important too when selecting the size/shape of the bracket. Model the bolts (fixing bearings to carcass) and see how they fit for clearance. Or find some bearings with an inset that can accept a bolt head (flanged/offset?)

oh, and that drawer will come out at the rate of 10,000m/second so a firm Stop is required. You could even tilt the drawer runner (brackt) by 1-2 degrees so it naturally closes rather than opens.

General drawer design best practise is to make drawers as small and light as practicable - the design issues with wide/large and heavy drawers are multiplied exponentially.


These folks have some really good prices and great service-

I’ve repurposed the slides of an old filing cabinet purchased at a thrift store. Cost me $15 and labour to remove them.

This will be my first try…

a test frame is already assembled…

at maximum extension…


Over-engineering at its finest. :smiley:


I would be concerned with that wooden splint hanging out the back of the drawer. It has to support the torque of a drawer full of tools and it appears to be about 3/8" thick.

Maybe a steel runner or pair of runners as previously suggested? L-iron should be pretty inexpensive.

I may be speaking out of turn here: you did say “prototype”.

Nice half-lap joints in the frame, btw. :slight_smile:

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How deep will these drawers be?