From experience, I know drawers can’t be installed without a drawer slide jig. Even the simple bottom mount slide requires a jig for an accurate installation. Not sure which jig is best for your project(s)? In this article we’ll review to top drawer slide jigs and help you decide which is best for your budget and projects.
If you haven’t installed drawers before you might not know a drawer slide jig will save you hours of frustration.
Because drawers require precise installation you’ll need a tool, like these jigs, that will hold the slide in place for initial placement.
In this article we’ll cover:
- The major styles of drawer jigs
- How to use a drawer jig
- Best drawer slide jigs
Along the way we’ll include links to the industry leaders. Including, of course, Kreg who is a leader in jigs of all kinds.
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 undermount and side mount drawer slides a simple “L” design will work just fine. And I highly recommend 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
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
2. Kreg Drawer Slide Jig and Premium clamps
If you have other jigs but need the clamps, a combination kit will save you money on the bundle.
Not sure on the face clamps? Here’s why I like them:
- Massive clamping power
- Fast adjustment
- Deep throat for clearing wide face frames
- Universal for other work (clamping on bench tops etc)
Features are similar to the larger set but this combination includes just the two clamps and drawer slide jigs.
3. Rockler Multi-Function Drawer Slide Jig
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″
5 Tips for Choosing a Drawer Slide Jig
Tip #1: If This is Your First cabinet Jig...
Installing drawers is the first of four common cabinet jig uses:
- Drawer slide jigs
- Shelf pin jigs
- Cabinet hardware jigs
- Concealed hinge drilling jigs
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: Get a Pair of Jigs and 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 had great luck with the Milwaukee style clamps pictured above.
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.