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People and their homes are gradually getting bigger in the U.S.

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In June 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that average adult Americans are about one inch taller and nearly 25 pounds heavier than they were in 1960.

Houses have grown, too. The New York Times ran a piece on Feb. 26, 2015, titled “American homes are getting bigger again,” and went on to say that: “after a few years of shrinkage in the aftermath of the Great Recession, the median square footage of newly built homes last year tipped the scales at over 2,400 square feet. That’s nearly 1,000 square feet larger than the median home built in 1992.”

As one might expect, the drawers that accommodate those fundamental changes are also growing. So it was no surprise last October when Accuride announced its new model 3634, a heavy-duty slide specifically designed for wide drawers up to 42” with loads up to 150 lbs. The company also announced an Easy-Close version of the slide, the 3634EC. One advantage of that is for commercial applications, where a large drawer often needs to close smoothly without upsetting its cargo. The new slides also have 1” of over-travel built in, so a woodshop’s customer can access the entire contents without excessive reach. The slides are also very quiet, which is another plus for commercial customers. Installers will like them because they’re unhanded and have a simple level disconnect. And designers will appreciate that they come in black or zinc with a maximum 28” depth.

Sources Accuride International 562-903-0200; www.accuride.com Amerock 800-435-6959; www.amerock.com Blum 800-438-6788; www.blum.com Conestoga Wood Specialties 800-964-3667; www.conestogawood.com Faucher 800-361-8085; www.faucher.ca Fulterer 800-395-4646; www.fultererusa.com Häfele America Co. 800-423-3531; www.hafele.com/us/en Hardware Resources www.hardwareresources.com Hettich www.hettich.com/en Hickory Hardware 877-556-2918; www.hickoryhardware.com Jonathan Engineered Solutions 714-665-4400; www.jonathanengr.com Liberty Hardware 800-542-3789; www.libertyhardware.com Knape & Vogt 800-253-1561; www.knapeandvogt.com Orr & Orr Inc. 708-496-9800; www.orrorr.com Rev-A-Shelf 800-626-1126; www.rev-a-shelf.com Richelieu Hardware 800-619-5446; www.richelieu.com/us/en Rockler Woodworking & Hardware 800-279-4441; www.rockler.com Salice America 800-222-9652; www.saliceamerica.com Selby Furniture Hardware Co. 718-993-3700; www.selbyhardware.com Schock Metal www.schockmetal.com Sugatsune America 800-562-5267; www.sugatsune.com Vance Industries 847-983-0960; www.vanceind.com

Rev-A-Shelf gives a nod to larger drawers with its cut-to-size peg system for organizing them. Originally designed with wooden pegs, the company has recently started offering chrome ones. The pegs screw into a grid in the bottom of the drawer and stand vertically. They offer the support of a divider without eating up that kind of space, so that stacks of dishes or other items don’t topple over. Restaurant and institution kitchen designers have welcomed the option. The wooden peg systems come in three versions with nine, 12 or 16 pegs and will work with drawers up to 39-1/4” wide by 21-1/4”.

Last year, Conestoga Wood Specialties expanded its wall cabinet heights in response to a market trend that called for maximizing storage space. The company also introduced wide single doors for appliance toppers and began offering its own peg system for deep drawers. The Fineline kitchen and plate organizer includes a base plate and 12 solid wood posts that can be positioned to accommodate stacks of bowls, plates and lids. Again, these deep drawers need full extension, heavy-duty slides, so Conestoga also offers an upgrade to Tandem Plus Blumotion slides from Blum.

These slides feature four-dimensional adjustment and come in lengths from 9” to 30”. Side adjustments can be made by hand on the job site, both in the front and the rear of each drawer. Height adjustment is also tool-free, so an installer can line up the drawer fronts along a bank of bases. They even have fingertip tilt adjustment and two depth-tweaking options that can be accomplished with a Phillips screwdriver.

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Incidentally, Rockler Woodworking & Hardware offers a nifty little drawer slide jig (Item 57268) that lets a woodworker quickly and accurately install Blum Tandem under-mount drawer slides. The company also makes a JigIt under-mount drilling guide (Item 50713) that really helps when drilling all the holes required to install the Tandem slides in the drawer boxes, and a pair of left and right drawer installation brackets (Item 51613) that are clamped to the cabinet and align slides. They work with framed and frameless cases and any side-mounted, ball-bearing style slide.

Häfele America Co. has introduced a novel way to maximize drawer storage space by offering the Vionaro drawer system from the Austrian manufacturer Grass. Slim and stylish, these drawer bodies come in aluminum or steel with very strong but thin, 13mm sides. They are supported by Dynapro undermount slide system.

A system approach

Innovation never ends in the hardware market, especially for slides incorporated with new drawer systems.

“In years past, the focus was on soft close,” says Karen Armour, the company’s functional hardware project manager. “Today, that’s nearly a universal requirement for drawer slides. Recently, manufacturers have been focusing on providing a fully synchronized opening, often with the use of a rack-and-pinion system. That allows for stable, smooth running and the elimination of wobble or play in larger base cabinet or island drawers.”

Hettich’s AvanTech and InnoTech Atira drawer systems were both nominated for the 2016 German Design Award. InnoTech is a double-walled system running on Quadro slides that offers a number of customizable options including decorative profiles, railings and interior organizers. They’re built on partial or full-extension runners with a loading capacity up to 154 lbs. AvanTech runs on the new Actro 5-D runner that has five-way adjustability, including front panel alignment for the narrowest of reveals.

Salice calls its new sliding shelf system Shelf. This is a runner for pullout shelves (ideal for entertainment system components) that is installed on the bottom and it allows shelves to slide forward for easy access. It’s available with full-extension, in all common lengths, and comes with fingertip “push” opening and with the company’s “Smove” decelerated closing mechanism. Designed with retail displays, living room furniture and kitchen cabinets in mind, Shelf can also be used to support access to small domestic appliances or even office printers.

Knape & Vogt introduced the model 8450FM drawer slide, a Soft-Close runner that features the company’s trademarked Force Management technology. It has a patented rack-and-gear design that creates a mechanical action designed to decrease pull force and even out the sensation of opening a drawer. It also increases closure force during shutting. The rack-and-gear design actually manages pull force on a curve, delivering significantly lower peak force via linear spring designs and creates a lower drop-off force that eliminates “jerkiness,” according to the company. This is again a larger drawer capable slide with a 100-lb. load rating and full extension slide. A 1” over-travel option, model 8455FM, is also available.

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Amerock offers its Series 700 full-extension, ball-bearing slides in lengths up to 22”. It’s also added a nifty little hardware alignment template (Item TMPMULTI) to aid with installation.

Unusually robust

Orr & Orr is a name that might not be too familiar to custom woodshops, but it’s well-known in the specialty vehicle market. The company offers full extension slides with load capacities up to 500 lbs. They run from 10” to a staggering 60” in length.

Speaking of specialty vehicles, Fulterer’s vertical slides might remind one of the pullout sides on recreational vehicles. The company’s new downloadable catalog shows its rugged pantry slides (which can handle loads up to 450 lbs.) being used in a few innovative ways. The second page of the catalog, for example, pictures a series of progressively larger pullouts under a staircase, where the “pantry” stores an extensive collection of shoes. The company has also just introduced a new line of full-extension ball-bearing slides with a 225-lb. load capacity (the FR56 series).

Hardware Resources, with warehouses in six major metro areas, has a new line of full-extension, ball-bearing slides named 303-50 that run from 12” to 24” in length. The company also introduced its Retail Duraclose line with a soft-closing mechanism, which is sold in packs and comes in 12” to 20” lengths. And if a woodshop needs either a 3” or 6” base filler, Hardware Resources has just added a couple of pullout, stainless-steel pegboard organizers (items BFPOSS3 and 6) that are ideal for shallow frying pan or pot storage. They operate on the company’s 100-lb. rated Duraclose slides and come completely assembled with 12 pegs and 18 hooks.

Not quite as muscle-bound

Hettich’s InnoTech double-walled drawer system.

If the budget or the client don’t require massive muscles in a drawer slide, Liberty Hardware has a line of full-extension, soft-close, ball-bearing slides that are rated at 50 lbs. for medium duty. They range from 14” to 24”, and are easily recognizable with their distinctive blue release mechanism and zinc plating.

Sugatsune America is a Japanese manufacturer with a facility in Carson, Calif., and it carries a line of stainless-steel, full-extension, ball-bearing slides with load ratings from 110 to 209 lbs. The company also features a CAD mini-app on the site for previewing and generating 2-D or 3-D graphic files of the slides.

Vance Industries carries the EZ Slide line of inexpensive accents that include breadboards, pill bottle organizers, spice racks and the like, all operating on a heavy-duty steel-rail system that uses adjustable brackets.

Jonathan Engineered Solutions makes both steel and stainless solid bearing slides that “are a durable and economical solution for a variety of applications where the presence of ball bearings could pose a hazard or safety issue,” according to the company. That’s of special interest to woodshops with military contracts as the U.S. armed forces are one of the largest customers for these specialty slides.

Salice’s new pull-out Shelf slides in a pantry.

Faucher, a division of Industries Rad Inc., carries a line of slides rated for 100 to 500 lbs., the latter having up to a 28” run.

Selby Furniture Hardware Co. offers a concealed drawer slide (55-lb. rating, available in 12” to 24” lengths) where the cabinet member is screwed to the case’s sidewall, but no screws are used on the drawer itself. The drawer is installed by just fitting it over a front pin and a rear bracket.

Along with Blum, Accuride, K&V, Grass and Salice, Richelieu also carries lines from the Italian manufacturer Formenti & Giovenzana SPA, including concealed Excel soft closing slides where the bottom-mounting runners mount to the cabinet with self-tapping screws or dowels.

And speaking of Europe, Germany’s Schock Metal (schockmetal.com) has been using a high-precision roll-forming technology to manufacture telescopic slides and other sliding systems for more than 40 years. The company’s new partial extension slide, model ITS 064, requires only 0.69” x 0.57” installation space. This narrow and shallow slide also weighs less, making it a good choice for RTA and other casework that will be shipped. Schock also offers Air Motion slides, which won a Best of the Best award at the 2015 Interzum awards, an international fair for the furniture and interior construction industries held in Cologne, Germany, every other year.

This article originally appeared in the March 2016 issue.

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