Today’s furniture market offers a wide variety of different quality options. From the most inexpensive options available at a high discount to top-end styles that cost thousands, there is a piece of furniture to suit virtually every budget. Yet in many of the cheaper models, you get exactly the cabinet drawer slides you pay for. Learning how to recognize quality hardware can mean the difference between a wise bargain purchase and an expensive mistake.
Checking The Hardware
Whenever you purchase a piece of furniture, regardless of whether it’s expensive or a bargain, you should always check the hardware – and not just the sliders. The entire piece should have a solid feel to it. All screws and nails should be securely fastened. Nothing should be sticking out, and there should be no snags. In addition, all the pieces should fit securely together. There should be no obvious skew or crookedness in the piece. Any one of these problems goes well beyond the scope of cabinet drawer slides – it indicates a serious flaw in design or craftsmanship of the piece.
During the inspection, be certain that you are thorough. Test everything, pull out every extension, and examine everything for obvious signs of damage. This can be difficult if you are building the unit yourself, as many of today’s bargain hunters do. Instead of scrutinizing a box, look at the in-store model that has been assembled and has probably been through some wear and tear. Learn to recognize signs that the unit has been fortified in ways that a home assembly might not use – extra glue, extra screws, etc.
Recognizing Good Cabinet Drawer Slides
Even veteran furniture enthusiasts are often surprised to learn how different one slider can be from another. First, there’s the question of how it was made. Typically, sliders made using roll forming offer the best strength and durability. Roll forming is a process that involves passing a single sheet of metal through custom-configured rollers, achieving an end form that has more strength than if it were made by folding or another easier type of attachment.
Roll forming is as expensive as it sounds. The equipment is costly, and the process requires a fair amount of skill. Few inexpensive units have furniture drawer slides made this way. Instead, look for a construction that seems to be made of one solid and fairly thick piece of metal. The greater thickness will help prevent bending. If you have access to a spare slider, try to bend it with your own strength. Keep in mind how much weight it needs to hold. Does it feel solid? Is the rolling mechanism securely attached? Do the drawers glide easily, or is there resistance? Good cabinet drawer slides will be almost effortless to open and close, and have a fair amount of strength.