The very first thing I do is to open the drawers. You can tell about the quality of cabinets by the way the drawers function. The drawers shouldn’t feel wobbly, sticky, or loose. They should be smooth, even, and close like they slide.
If you are looking at new cabinets, they most likely have European glides. Typically, these are white metal glides with a nylon wheel attached to the drawer box. These are inexpensive for the cabinet maker, and cost you in the long run.
Many big box line cabinets have upped their quality through purchasing in amazing volumes by putting in soft close under mount glides. These are a nice feature, but most drawers are still too wobbly for my taste.
In older homes, many drawers today have those old European drawer glide with nylon wheels that keep the drawer on track. These are cheap and operate just like you would expect. I believe it is the reason for the invention of soft close drawers. After all: Mothers are the necessity of invention. So, some mother got tired of the drawers slamming shut (which sounds like a shelf of glass dishes crashing on the floor) and put her husband to the task. In reality, the soft close was created by Blum. Blum is the industry leader of drawer slides. They were presented the inventors award for design of the original soft close drawer glide in June of 2013 – so in reality what has become the norm, is not really very old at all.
In older homes, there are lots of creative ways people have put glides in. Some have a wooden rail under the middle of the drawer with a single nylon wheel which guides the drawer. These are awful and miraculous at the same time. Awful because they just are; miraculous because it’s a miracle the drawer doesn’t simply fall out. Some drawer glides are literally wood grooves – where the wood from the drawer is gliding on the wood of the cabinet. There is a myriad of ways older drawers work, but it should be fun to see what’s inside and how they work. Regardless of what you find, when it comes time to put in your new cabinets, you will want to use a glide that is made of steel, with ball bearings to keep it steady and smooth for a very long time.
Which brings us to Maccabee’s Cabinets: We typically use Blum side mount glides. These are the smoothest strongest glides on the market. I once designed a kitchen for my wife with our grand kids in mind. The sink cabinet had drawers under the sink; and I built the drawers with ¾” bottoms and Blum side mount glides which I mounted dead center on the drawers. You could pull the drawer out, flip it upside down (assuming it is empty), and put it back in to use it as a step for the kids to reach the sink for washing their hands. These glides are so strong; I could stand on the drawers and not get nervous.
So, when it’s time for you to shop for cabinets; don’t judge a book by the cover… take the time to look inside to see what you are actually getting. Note: if all you have to see is a nice brochure, it’s tough to tell what’s really going into them. Next time we will talk about the drawer boxes themselves.
Remember – Designing your kitchen is not something you do often. So, have fun with it and get yourself someone who can share their expertise to build you the most amazing room in your house. Until next time, God bless.