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Cabinets 101
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Lesson #9 - Drawer Guides Prev Next
Guides are what allow the drawer to open and close. A nice smooth guide is much more important than a nice looking drawer. Guides come in two main varieties: epoxy coated and metal ball bearing. Epoxy guides are your standard guide in most all drawers. They work fine but over time they wear out and cause the drawer to shake side to side when opening and closing. Ball bearing guides are much nicer and last longer. With them, the drawer feels like it glides to a close. Also if you put heavy objects into your drawers it's a good idea to get a ball bearing guide. Most cabinets come with epoxy guides that can be upgraded to ball bearing for $50 to $100 each.

In addition to the two types there are also standard and full extension guides. This refers to how deep the drawer is. The cabinet itself is 24" deep, a standard guide drawer is about 18" deep and a full extension guide 20". Thus you gain a little bit more drawer space with a full extenstion guide. For some strange reason cabinet makers refer to full extension guides instead of full extension drawers (which really are the ones being extended). Also, in many cases, the epoxy guides only come in standard length and the ball bearing in full extension. Last most manufacturers only offer full extension guides with dovetail drawers. So there aren't as many options as you might think.

Finally, the lastest feature to be added to guides is the autoclose feature. With one of these guides, once the drawer reaches a certain distance from the front of the cabinet the mechanism automatically closes it the rest of the way. Since people tend to use their drawers more then their doors, I always recommend upgrading the guides to ball bearing with full extension. It usually adds about $50 - $100 per drawer but it makes the cabinets feel much classier.
Ball bearing Epoxy