4

I am beginner/intermediate in woodworking and I am busy replacing my drawer sliders and hinges in my kitchen cupboards.

I have noticed that the hardware I'm using has got oval screw holes in addition to circular ones. enter image description here My guess is that they are used to be able to adjust the direction vertically/horizontally so that I can adjust the position.

However, when both vertical and horizontal oval holes are available, which one do I pick? I can't use both at the same time, so I have to pick one dimension I can 'adjust'. How do I decide which dimension to pick?

Also, are these designed so that I use every hole in the hardware to attach, or can I skip the vertical if I use the horizontal?

I apologise if this is too simple of a question, but I have searched this site and googled and I can't find anything about these holes.

4
  • Some of the 'oval' (elongated) screw holes may be intended to provide a degree of adjustability, but the horizontal ones serve a different function in that they allow for seasonal wood movement if the slides are mounted in solid-wood cabinets. Anyway, the bottom line is that if you get your layout right at the outset you can use only the three round holes and call it good. But if you want to give yourself some leeway on vertical positioning — possibly useful on the middle drawer(s) after the first and last are mounted — use the vertical ones.
    – Graphus
    Commented Oct 13, 2022 at 19:09
  • 2
    "I apologise if this is too simple a question" No need to apologise on that front, and especially since you indicate that you Googled around and couldn't find your answer. Helping after that is precisely what SE is for :-)
    – Graphus
    Commented Oct 13, 2022 at 19:09
  • @Graphus I had no idea the horizontal ones are for seasonal wood movement!! Maybe a better question would be "what are these holes for?"
    – stan
    Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 7:12
  • I suppose they could offer simple adjustability front to back but from what I've seen (or at least what I've noticed) it seems rare that people need to adjust slide position slightly in that direction. On the other hand, any slide that might go into a solid-wood cabinet must allow for at least some seasonal movement to be on the safe side (as their well-made wooden counterparts did in the past, often/usually by having the front and back holes elongated).
    – Graphus
    Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 16:22

1 Answer 1

3

How do I use the oval screw holes in drawer sliders?

Use the ones that suit you best. Drawer slides typically have more holes than you need because they need to adapt to lots of different situations.

My guess is that they are used to be able to adjust the direction vertically/horizontally so that I can adjust the position.

I agree. Drawer slides often come with a sheet of installation instructions, and all the ones I can remember seeing have called the oval holes adjustment holes or similar. Here's an article from Wood Magazine that says:

Many slides come with multiple holes and slots to allow fine-tuning drawer position and accommodate a variety of mounting options...

I don't think that the oval holes are really meant to accommodate seasonal movement. Most of the solid wood drawer sides that I've ever seen have the grain running parallel to the length of the side, and while wood does move a little bit radially and tangentially, it really doesn't change much in the direction of the grain.

However, when both vertical and horizontal oval holes are available, which one do I pick? I can't use both at the same time, so I have to pick one dimension I can 'adjust'. How do I decide which dimension to pick?

Again, use the ones that make sense for your situation. As long as the drawer fits and slides smoothly, nobody's going to say that you did it wrong. For example, if you want a bit of adjustment both horizontally and vertically, you could use the horizontal holes on the case sides and the vertical holes on the drawer sides. If you then find that you're happy with the horizontal position but need more vertical adjustment than you've got, drive some screws into the vertical slots on the case side and remove the horizontal ones. Or, if you're using a jig to install the slides and have a lot of confidence that the jig will get the position right, use the round holes and skip the oval ones entirely.

Also, are these designed so that I use every hole in the hardware to attach, or can I skip the vertical if I use the horizontal?

No, you don't need screws in every hole. I'd install one screw for each set of holes. For example, the slide in the image you provided has three groups of holes on the drawer side, with each group having a round hole and a horizontal and vertical oval hole, so I'd install one screw in each of those groups.

2
  • "I don't think that the oval holes are really meant to accommodate seasonal movement" Not in the drawer sides, the cabinet sides. The grain will invariably run vertically, so expansion/contraction is of course then horizontal.
    – Graphus
    Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 9:47
  • "Drawer slides often come with a sheet of installation instructions," mine didn't, which I think was the cause of this confusion too.
    – stan
    Commented Oct 17, 2022 at 7:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.