Drawers - Old and New

January 20, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Over the years we have literally built hundreds of drawers. In my grandfather’s day drawers were fit into a cabinet hole with perhaps some wood side runners. These later evolved into a simple wood stick, which was usually in the center of the drawer either on the top or bottom to help the drawer track in straight.   Often these old classic drawers took quite an effort to push and pull the unit especially if the drawer or frame became slightly out of square.  


My father, Dewey remembers using wax and perhaps a thumbtack on the bottom of drawers to make the operation smooth. In the early 1950s dad remembers installing several “Youngstown Steel Kitchens”. These cabinets were made completely from steel and were “Very Space-Age” Another big selling point for the Youngstown Kitchens was that your food stayed “Vermin Proof”. After installing a couple of these types of kitchens, the Hanson Brothers went back to building their own cabinets!




Sometime in the mid 1960s an architect introduced Dad into the first metal guides- the KV1300. We used these guides exclusively until the early 1980s, as they were a great performer.

The KV1300 was eventually replaced with various side mount guides. Most of these provided full extension of the drawer to the outside of the cabinet.  Weight load efficiency was also increased by the ball bearings of these side mount guides. 


In the early 2000s our drawer guides became fully hidden under mount guides with soft close. Currently we use Gras Dynapro, a high performance guide from Austria- very nice! 






Drawer boxes have changed significantly over years as well.   Grandfather used solid wood- most often a soft wood.   Pine or fir would often cup or warp over time, which made the drawer operate poorly.  So once hardwood plywood came into production, this became the choice of many cabinet builders, as it was straight and less likely to warp or cup.  Sometime in the 1990s we started providing hardwood drawers with dovetailed sides.  The dovetails (while making the drawer stronger) also provided a statement of high quality and craftsmanship.  These first dovetail drawer boxes were made from Baltic birch plywood.   After a time we went back to Grandfather’s technique of using solid wood again for the drawer sides- however, instead of soft wood we use maple cut into small boards and then it is glued back up into large slabs that would not warp.  


Today we offer two-drawer configurations, a traditional maple box with dovetailed sides and a minimalist slender metal guide for more contemporary designs.  Both are world-class quality you would expect from Hanson Carlen. 


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