What’s in your drawers?
The importance of drawer construction cannot be overstated. Take a bedroom set for example: the drawers are the sole moving part. They take a lot of wear and tear. You open and close them hundreds of times a year until the glides either break or stick. The drawers come apart at the joints. We overstuff them with clothes and back them beyond capacity until the bottoms fall out. It can be very difficult to discern good quality from poor quality drawer constriction. There are several things that intelligent shoppers can look for that can help you spot better quality goods from introductory.
Let’s start with the glide system. There are three basic types of glide systems: Wheelie glides, Center glides, and Ball bearing glides. The wheelie glide is the most common and most basic. These are two white tracks that can be found on either side of the drawer. They have a large wheel in the back to help ensure smooth operation. While these types of glides can be very quiet, they also offer no support in the bottom of the drawer. This makes the drawer susceptible to overstuffing which can cause damage or breakage. Some companies add a wooden bracer along the center of the drawer to provided extra support and durability. Center glide systems are generally made from metal or wood. Though not as smooth in operation, they provide center support for your drawer system. Ball bearing glides can be found either on the sides or bottom of your drawer. They offer reliable, smooth, and quiet operation and are largely the most sought after.
Another key place to look is at the joints of the drawer. There are three different types of joints commonly used in furniture. The first is a dado groove joint. This is a groove system where one piece of the drawer slides into the groove of another. This is the least durable of the joints and is regularly connected using staples. A French dovetail, also known as a sliding dovetail, is similar to a dado joint in that is a groove system. One piece of wood slides vertically into the channel of the other, locking them together. The third type of joint construction is an English dovetail or plain dovetail. This is where the grooves are interlaced like a puzzle, which makes it very difficult for the joint to be pulled apart.
As you shop for furniture, make sure to ask your salesperson to explain and demo these features for you. It can be difficult to remove a drawer from a dresser or nightstand, and an experienced salesperson can help educate and guide you as you find the right set to fit your needs.