Text Resize

  • -A
  • +A
  • No votes yet

    Pocket Door Slides

    more on woodworking safety

    Tools and Materials

    By Robert J. Settich

    This article originally appeared in Taunton's Complete Illustrated Guide to Choosing and Installing Hardware (2003).

    Combining a Euro hinge with a door slide may seem like a mixed marriage, but the result—a pocket door slide—is one of the key components in many home entertainment centers. The doors swing open, then glide backward into the cabinet to give a nearly unobstructed view of the television as well as clear access to all of the interconnected components. For this use, the slides usually handle vertical doors, but they can also be mounted to the underside of a horizontal carcase member for a retracting door like that used in barrister bookcases. The slide used in this demonstration requires a specific type of Euro hinge for the inlay installation shown, although you could choose a different hinge and achieve an overlay fit. Be absolutely certain that the hinges you select are one of the types recommended by the slide’s manufacturer.

    Photos by Robert J. Settich

    How to Make

    Attach the mounting plate to the slide plateclick to enlargeThe slide's detent

    Attach the mounting plate to the slide plate: The slide has a detent that locks its motion when the door is pulled fully forward. This mechanism is the bent piece of metal engaging the roller in the lower left portion of the photo. Use the supplied tapping screws to attach the hinge’s mounting plate to the plate of the slide.

    Attach the mounting plate to the slide plateclick to enlargeHold the block against the detent roller

    Use a gauge block to attach the slides: Measure the thickness of your door, add 1⁄8 in., and make a gauge block that length. Hold the block against the detent roller of the slide, and drive a screw into a pilot hole drilled into the slot near the back of the slide. (The slide manufacturer supplies black screws, but I temporarily substituted bright ones for photographic clarity.) Slide the plate mechanism backward, and drive another screw into the slot at the front of the slide. Attach the upper slide in the same manner, butting it against the interior top of the carcase.

    Attach the mounting plate to the slide plateclick to enlargeThe follower strip controls slide speed

    Add the follower strip: Rip a piece of stock 2-3⁄4 in. wide to serve as the follower strip that unites the two slides. Screw the follower strip to the plates of the upper and lower slides. The follower strip ensures that the slides move at the same speed to prevent the door from racking. I chose edge-banded plywood for this application because it’s more dimensionally stable than solid wood.

    Attach the mounting plate to the slide plateclick to enlargeCheck the hinge arm

    Drill the hinge-cup folrs and fasten the hinge screws: Drill the hinge-cup holes in the door at the location dictated by the hinge model you selected. Use a square to ensure that the hinge arm is perpendicular to the door, and drive the hinge screws into pilot holes in the door.

    Attach the mounting plate to the slide plateclick to enlargeSnap in the hinges

    Attach the hinges to the mounting plates: Snap the hinges on their mounting plates, and adjust the door in its opening.

    Attach the mounting plate to the slide plateclick to enlargeA pivot block protects the door from damage

    Install the pivot block: Install the plastic pivot block at the edge of the door. By installing the center screw as shown in the photo, you can slide the block slightly forward and back until you have its location perfect. When properly positioned, the block’s edge will ouch the door as it moves forward and back and will also just contact the back of the door when it’s closed. The pivot block prevents damage to the door by preventing it from rotating before it’s fully extended. Install a block to the carcase near the top and bottom of each door. After you have the block’s position settled, drive at least one more screw through it to lock it in place. If your slide doesn’t come with these blocks, you can buy inexpensive plastic rollers that serve this same function.

    Attach the mounting plate to the slide plateclick to enlargeAdd the last screws and clean up the hinges

    Finish the job: Snapping the cover plate onto the hinge arm conceals the adjustment screws, giving the completed installation a cleaner look. Drive additional screws into holes in the slide’s track to fix it in place. Clean any chips out of the slide track because this debris can cause sluggish operation or damage to the slide’s bearings.

    Attach the mounting plate to the slide plateclick to enlargeSlides can add attractiveness to any bookcase design

    Variation- add slides to the top of a carcase: Mount the slides onto the interior top of the carcase, and you can make a self-storing horizontal flipper door mechanism. Make a door frame with a glass insert, and you’ll have the smoothest-operating barrister bookcase mechanism in town.