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PullOut Shelf Construction

Quality materials plus quality design equals quality shelves

At Shelf Depot we know what it takes to build a superior sliding shelf and the answer is Quality. We find that quality material and hardware put together following a quality design are the building blocks to quality pull out shelving. The one extra item need is quality craft persons that care about what they do. It does not matter if we manufacture thousands of shelves per week, we still treat each shelf with care to be sure we provide the quality craftsmanship that you expect


We use 9 ply Baltic Birch for the front, back and sides of our custom made pullout shelving. 9 layers of birch are joined together with the grain alternating 90 degrees on each successive layer. The resulting 1/2" thick material is amazingly strong yet attractive and is really the perfect material for building quality glide out shelves. We cut the material to size, machine the corner and bottom joinery and round over the top edge. The material then heads to the spray booth for two coats of lacquer. The Birch is then hand sanded and ready for assembly.

The 1/4" medium density fiberboard bottom has a vinyl coating on it which holds up well to pots and pans, provides the friction needed to keep items in place and is is easy to clean with a damp cloth


We only use quality slide hardware from Blum. The average consumer may not be familiar with the Blum name but ask any cabinet maker and they will tell you that Blum has the highest quality cabinet hardware available. There are many cheap knock off slides that look very similar to the Blum slides we use but if you pick them up you will immediately feel the difference. The Blum slide can be twice as heavy (or even more) due to the thicker gauge material used. The simple way to tell the difference is to read. Companies selling shelves with quality hardware like Blum will be very quick to list that company. If they don't tell you the name of the hardware manufacturer there is a very good chance they are trying to save a dollar and go with the cheap knock offs. We have used the Blum 230M slide for 20 years because when it comes to sliding shelves it all starts with the slide hardware.

A quick note about ball bearing slides. Many companies use ball bearing slides for their pull out shelves. While the slides themselves are often good quality it is the design that is faulty. Our slides wrap around the sides of the pullout shelves and actually become part of the shelf structure. Ball bearing slides simply screw to the side of the shelves with two or sometimes three screws and if these screws pull out your shelf will not be able to and even worse it will probably come crashing down. Even if you are careful and check the screws every 6 months (and who would remember to do that) the ball bearing slides will still usually fail over time. There are many many moving parts in a ball bearing slide. Being installed in a kitchen means they will be exposed to grease and over the years this will build up and gum up the slides. Then one day you go to pullout you sliding shelf and the little ball bearings start to come out and roll across the floor


When it comes to pullout shelf design we find simple is better. Simple things like wrap around slides, rabbet joinery for shelf corners and a bottom that is held in by a dado all add up to the finest quality pullout shelving

Rabbet Joints - The corners of the shelves use a rabbet joint to provide the support and glue area required for a strong drawer. The average consumer is not familiar with the rabbet joint. They are a very simple yet strong joint that uses both a mechanical fastener and adhesive attachment. We find that the rabbet joint is the perfect joinery for use with the 9 ply 1/2" birch. Many consumers feel that a dovetail joint is superior for pull out shelves but that is not really the case. The dovetail joint is actually a prehistoric joint and has been used to join hardwoods together. the Egyptians of the First Dynasty (3000 to 2800 BCE) entombed royalty and wealthy nobles with handcrafted furniture using the dovetail joint. The dovetail joint was needed as trying to put a screw or nail that close to the end of a piece of hardwood would invariably split the material. The 9 ply Birch does not have this problem so the advantage of the dovetail joint is lost and the advantage of having two forms of attachment takes over

Dove tail joint used in a log cabin
How to Cut Dovetail Joints in Logs thumbnail

Rabbet Joint

Dado Joint

Dado Joint - The 1/4" bottom material for our gliding shelving is not just nailed or screwed to the bottom of the shelf as some lesser quality shelves are made. There is a dado joint cut into the back, front and the sides of the 1/2" birch. A dado joint is a slot cut into the material. The 1/4" bottom is then glued into this slot and becomes an integral part of the shelf construction. We don't just use any wood glue when it comes to building our high quality line of pull out shelves. We use a specially formulated glue that adheres to unfinished wood and more importantly to the wood that has already been lacquered.  All shelves over 24" wide receive a plywood support strip to further reinforce the shelf bottom

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