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Drawers easier to use

20110121spicedrawer

Kitchen cabinets have come a long way since grandma's silverware drawer threatened to land on the floor, spilling its contents, if a helpful grandchild pulled too hard when setting the table.

First, cabinet hardware gained stops that prevent drawers from being pulled out too far, but the old wooden cabinet drawers with their wooden glides can only be opened about three-quarters of the way. Metal glides let drawers move easily, and the drawer cannot be accidentally pulled out of the cabinet.

Full-extension glides, once available only through special order and more expensive than standard glides, are now becoming common even in ready-made cabinets. Those last four inches hidden beneath the countertop when you pull out a standard drawer may not make much difference if you're storing towels in the drawer, but for pots and pans, long utensils and spices, the full-extension drawer makes the difference between easy access to the drawer's contents and a tug-of-war to wrestle the drawer's contents past the countertop above.

pullout_pantries_opt Full-extension glides are especially important for cabinets such as the ceiling-high pantries at right, with deep drawers where you store pots and pans and with cabinets that hide recycling bins, as well as on the pullout shelves of lower cabinets.

The best option is to order full-extension drawer and shelf glides when purchasing cabinets, but they can be installed in existing cabinets. Always opt for the heavy-duty glides for pots and pans drawers, recycling bins, and shelves that will hold appliances or other heavy objects.