How about a pullout sliding shelf that is actually made to fit your kitchen cabinet?
Here are some great places to buy pullout sliding shelving online
get into the list of the pullout shelf companies we should talk about pullout
shelves and what they can and can not do for you. Pull out shelves are not
really space saving. In fact you will usually lose space after adding pullout
shelves. What you do gain is accessibility. Some pullout shelf companies
will tell you that any cabinet is the perfect place for a pullout shelf but that
is not true. While most base cabinets can use shelves that slide your upper
cabinets are usually too shallow to get any benefit from installing pull out
shelves. Some base cabinets are too small to to make pull out shelving worth
installing. We think any cabinet less than 6" wide and many less than 8" wide
are not worth installing sliding shelves. You may be better off installing wire
dividers and using that location for cookie sheets and baking and serving trays.
You can find the
wire dividers here.
That said most kitchen cabinets are a great location for pull
out shelves. The first thing to decide is what type of slides do you need. There
are many different brands and styles of slides but most sliding shelf companies
use Euro style slides. There are many different quality levels of Euro slides
for pull out shelves. One of the best names in slides is Blum, another is Grass.
Because the quality of the Blum and Grass slides stands above that of other
slide companies we will only recommend pull out shelf companies that use Blum or
Grass slides. The slides are the heart of a pullout shelf and companies that cut
corners on the slide quality are probably going to cut other corners as well. So
understanding that you want quality slides let us look at the two main options
that are available, full extension and three quarter extension. For most base
cabinets the 3/4 extension slides will give you access to the rear of your
cabinets while saving you both money and hassles on installation. The 3/4
extension slides have more mounting styles available as well as being a very
simple slide to install. The full extension slides use an extra center member
and can be confusing to cabinet makers and down right perplexing to the average
do it yourselfer. For some locations such as pantries or pull out shelving for
computer or CD / DVD storage the full extension slides are worth the money and
the hassle. For normal base cabinets with pot and pan storage save your money
and go with 3/4 extension. Items that are in the back of the sliding shelf will
be out to the front of the cabinet when the shelf is extended. Watch out for
ball bearing type slides as they have a tendency to lose their balls over the
The next thing to look at is what type of wood is used in the
shelves. Some rolling shelf companies make shelves from 1/2" thick Melamine
which is a nice name for covered particle board. They trim the shelf with some
Birch plywood but the true strength of the shelf relies on the particle board.
The other problem is the weight of the particle board. I was at a local Ace
hardware where one company sells a rolling shelf kit. I picked up the kit and it
must have weighed forty pounds. You have to cut the shelf bottom, back and front
to make it fit your cabinet. I believe the slides are rated for 75 pounds. Even
if they are rated for more screwing the slides into particle board reduces the
strength. If you take forty pounds (the weight of the shelf) off the seventy
five pound rating and you only have thirty five pounds available for your items.
A quality pullout shelf that is 30" wide need weigh no more than 7 or 8 pounds.
If mounted on 100 pound slides that will leave you over 90 pounds of capacity
for your goods.
One small step up from particle board shelves are shelves
that are made from solid light density woods such as poplar. Since the time of
the Egyptian Pharos the world has know the strength and stability of laminating
woods together. The alternating grain directions of plywood layers glued
together with waterproof glue give it stability and greatly increase the
strength. Solid wood may look nicer but considering that sliding shelves spend
most of their time behind closed doors looks are not the number one
consideration. The reality is solid wood is prone to warping and splitting where
plywood is not.
So we have it narrowed down that is you are looking for a
quality pullout shelf you should be looking at a shelf which has a structure
made from plywood, but what type of plywood is best? At first you might think
that the thicker the plywood the stronger the pull out shelf but that would be
forgetting that the strength of plywood comes from the layers, not the thickness
of the layers. Hands down the best material for building sliding shelves is 1/2"
thick 9 ply plywood and the best 9 ply 1/2" plywood is Baltic Birch. The average
3/4" plywood has just five layers and needs to be edge banded to cover the look
of the low density that it has. There is at least one sliding shelf company out
there that actually thinks their 3/4" plywood is stronger than the 1/2" 9 ply
birch plywood. The concern is that the same person that does not know the
difference in strength is also designing the construction of that 3/4" shelf.
The other disadvantage of 3/4" material is the waste of space that the 3/4"
plywood causes. The extra thickness of the 3/4" material is that much less space
inside the shelf times four. Times four because of the two sides and the front
and back all which are reduced by 1/4" due to the thicker yet weaker wood.
Joinery is the last item to look at to determine shelf
quality. The simplest type of joint for the corners of the pullout shelves is a
butt joint. This is where the the sides of the shelf sit flat against the front
and back of the shelves where it is glued and nailed. This joint is actually
fairly solid for a small shelf for cabinets that are less than 24" wide. While
not recommended for heavy loads such as canned foods the simple butt joint will
hold up well if the quality of the material is good enough. A nicer looking
joint is a mitered joint such as you find in the corners of picture frames.
While more difficult to manufacture than a butt joint there is no edge grain of
the wood exposed so it is a nicer looking joint. Unfortunately the miter joint
does not add any strength to the corner and if fact it is not as strong as the
plain butt joint. Most everyone is familiar with dovetail joints and have heard
that a way to tell fine quality furniture is to look for a dovetail joint.
Dovetail joints are great for solid hardwood shelves and if you ignore the fact
that solid hardwood is not the best material for sliding shelves than you should
look for a dovetail joint. The reason is that solid hardwoods are susceptible to
splitting so you do not want to nail or screw a hardwood shelf together. The
dovetail joint does not require nails or screws so the tendency for the solid
wood to split is reduced. The dovetail joint is very strong from one direction
but it is inherently weak in the opposite direction. This means that the sliding
shelf may be strong when pulled from the front but it is possible for the sides
to pop out and then all structure is lost. Another joint that is used in pullout
shelf construction is a rabbet joint. With a rabbet joint half of the material
is removed from the sides the depth of the front / back. This gives extra glue
area and provides a shoulder for the front and back to sit in. With the nails
coming through the sides into the front and back the joint provides the strength
needed for repeated pull outs and yet provides good support for side to side
strength. When combined with a dado joint for the bottom material the rabbet
joint is the preferred method of construction for pull out shelving and is what
you will find in the best pull out shelves.
Bottom material / construction. The last thing to look at is
the material used for the bottom of the shelves. We have already learned the
disadvantages of 1/2" or 5/8" thick melamine bottoms. Companies that use
melamine bottoms are usually relying on them for the strength of the shelves and
they weigh so much that you lose much of the slide capacity just supporting the
shelf. For shelves that have the bottom nailed flat on to the shelf frame the
bet bet is 5 ply 1/4" plywood. The plywood is needed to help with the shelf
structure as the material is just nailed to the bottom of the shelf. The better
way to go is to use material that is fit into a dado that is cut into the front,
back and sides of the slide out shelf. Now the key is the density of the
material used as sitting in the dados provides extra structure. MDF covered with
vinyl is probably the best choice for bottoms that are contained in a dodo
joint. The MDF is very stable and it's high density provides the strength needed
even in the larger pull out shelves. You will usually find that the best sliding
shelf companies will add a plywood support strip under the MDF on wider shelves
over 27" or so.
So here it is, the list of pullout shelf companies that we
feel are the best available places
to purchase custom made pull out
sliding shelves that slide
Shelves That Slide