As you probably know, installing drawers without a drawer slide jig is a recipe for frustration and poor performing drawers. But did you know that variations in cabinet construction, mounting styles of your drawers and jig bundles are factors in deciding on the best drawer slide jig for your projects? In this article learn what jig you’ll need and some accessories to go with it.
When I first started building cabinets in the 1990’s we made our own drawer jigs that looked pretty close to the jigs available to the popular Kreg jigs.
But, they lacked the indexing tabs and reversible design that has made Kreg the leader in not just drawer slide jigs, but almost all woodworking jigs.
Now fast forward 30 or so years and not only are drawer slide jigs available for less cost than a pair of soft close drawer slides, there are jig bundles that cover every step of making your project.
In this article we’ll cover:
- Drawer jigs for frameless and face frame cabinets
- Jig bundles from top manufacturers like Kreg
- Which clamps you’ll want for drawer jigs
- Best drawer slide jigs
We’ll also take a look at a few of the bundles that fit your woodworking.
Best Drawer Slide Jig
Unfortunately (or fortunately) there aren’t many options in drawer slide jigs.
And Kreg, the industry leader in woodworking jigs, dominates the market for drawer slide jigs.
So what should you choose?
Well, for most types of drawers and drawer slide lengths a simple “L” design will work just fine. And, for the best possible alignment, purchasing two jigs and two clamps to allow fine-tuning slide position with both slides loose.
Which makes the Kreg combo kits (including their popular face clamps) a great buy.
1. Kreg Drawer Slide Jig Accessory Bundle
- HARDWARE INSTALLATION KIT: Four easy-to-use Jigs plus two bonus Clamps in…
- Contains everything you need to install cabinets and shelves
- Extra shelf pin bit included for making 1/4 or 5mm shelf pins
- Two 3″ Face clamps to hold everything in place while building your cabinets…
Last update on 2022-06-28 at 07:12 / Images from Amazon
When it comes to jigs and cabinets one thing is always true: you’ll need more than just one.
And, with bundles comes savings.
Which is why I really like this combination kit that will let you:
- Install drawer slides with two slide jigs and clamps
- Drill cabinet handles and knobs with a cabinet hardware jig
- Lastly, drill concealed hinge holes in cabinet doors
This combo kit checks the box on these important features:
- Supports frameless and face frame cabinets
- Installation of ball bearing, epoxy, undermount and center mount drawers.
- Easy to clamp
- Reversible for left and right hand slide installation
- Simple design for ease of use
Editor: Don’t forget to invest in a good set of vix bits to drill self centering holes in your cabinet hardware.
2. Kreg Drawer Slide Jig and Premium clamps
- Accurate slide positioning with built-in indexing tabs. Repeatable results…
- Versatile for use in cabinets, cases, and more. Reversible to mount slides…
- Secure for holding slides in place as you work. Strong, lightweight…
- 3″ reach (76mm); clamps materials up to 23/4″ thick (70mm)
Last update on 2022-06-28 at 08:03 / Images from Amazon
Features are similar to the larger set but this combination includes just the two clamps and drawer slide jigs.
Pros / Cons
3. Rockler Multi-Function Drawer Slide Jig
- Allows installation of drawer slides quickly, accurately & easily
- Sliding wedge locks Slide securely into jig
- Adjustable indexing foot allows perfect repeatability
- Rotating foot for use on top or bottom
Last update on 2022-06-28 at 04:54 / Images from Amazon
The Rockler jig features a unique side mount wedge that holds the slide in place.
- Use on sidemount, under mount, epoxy bottom mount and centermount drawer slides.
- Automatic setback
- Can be clamped
- Adjustable rod for referenced setbacks
- Drill cutouts for access to drawer slide screws
- Supports drawer slides up to 1-3/4″
Pros and Cons
5 Tips for Choosing a Drawer Slide Jig
Tip #1 - Buy a Combination Set if You Build Cabinets or Furniture
Installing drawers is the first of four common cabinet jig uses:
That’s a lot of jigs, right?
Well, without them it’s tough to build cabinets accurately and quickly.
So, look for a combination kit that will include these four jigs plus the popular face clamps.
Tip #2 - Don't forget the Clamps
I like to clamp and install both slides at the same time. So while most jig kits will come with two jigs you’ll want to make sure you grab two face clamps as well.
Tip #3: use Rear Brackets on Face Frame Cabinets
No matter how great your drawer slide jig is, if you try to install any type of drawer slide in a face frame cabinet without rear mounting brackets you are headed for a disaster.
So, don’t make suspending the slide easy and then try to custom mount a side block of wood on face frame cabinets.
It just doesn’t work.
Tip #4: Avoid Jigs Made Only for Frameless Cabinets
Unless your cabinet and furniture making is 100% using frameless designs try to avoid a frameless-only jig.
With most jigs capable of supporting frameless and face frame cabinets there’s little reason to be limiting your installation options.
Tip #5: Maximum Clamping Power is Best
If you’re contemplating use of standard “big box store” trigger clamps I recommend you don’t.
Instead, use the Kreg face clamps you’ll find in their kits or another style of high pressure clamp. I’ve also had great luck with the Milwaukee style clamps pictured above.
Making a DIY Drawer JIg
Maybe you’re thinking you’d like to tackle just making your own jig?
Well, after having done that and used the resulting product it’s just not something I’d recommend.
Here’s the challenge with a DIY drawer jig:
- Making it perfectly 90-degrees is a hard
- Customizing the layout to fit face clamps or squeeze clamps is difficult
- You’ll need to make two of them to match the $25 or so a pair of jigs will cost
What should you build instead? Well, invest that time and energy into learning how to make better drawers. Like with a dovetail jig.
Frequently Asked Questions on Drawer Slide Jigs
How do you use a drawer slide jig?
To use a drawer slide jig for side mount, bottom mount or undermount drawers first place the jig inside the cabinet and clamp it to the cabinet side. Then place the slide on top, ensure it is parallel to the side of the cabinet and insert screws into the cabinet side or back of the cabinet (using a mounting bracket).
How do you install Kreg Jig drawer slides?
Kreg jigs are first positioned inside the cabinet on either side of the drawer opening. Then, ensure they are flush with the cabinet face frame or set to the proper height on frameless cabinets. Last, rest the drawer slide on the jig and secure the slide to the back or side of the cabinet.
Are there drawer slide jigs for undermount slides?
There are drawer slide jigs built specifically for under mount slides, such as the Blum Tandem drawer slide. This style of jig also can include a template to drill the needed holes for the rear bracket hole and the front trigger release.
How much clearance do you need for drawer slides?
Most drawer slides require 1/2″ of clearance on both sides. There are exceptions to this clearance requirement, however, especially for heavy duty and under mount drawer slides. Due to extra weight demands a heavy duty slide may take up to and over 3/4″ of an each per slide. While an under mount slide can get by with as little as 3/8″ of an inch. For this reason I recommend deciding on your drawer slides before building the drawer.
While the best drawer slide jig will not be a lasting part of your cabinet, it will leave it’s mark. Since installing cabinet drawer slides without a jig is asking for trouble it’s a low cost solution to make the job easier.
Last update on 2022-06-28 at 04:33 / Images from Amazon