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Easy to Install File Drawer Cabinet Hanging Rails

How hard is it to install a file rail system. The hanging support bars are easy to fasten in place. Some product parts clip onto the wood cabinet drawers and others get screwed into position. Another style is made out of metal frame that just rests inside the space. The rods are designed to support Pendaflex brand folders. There are also plastic slip on rails available for purchase through various hardware supply companies online.

Not all wood drawers will be able to store legal size documents. The most common size cabinet in office supply stores seem to be designed for letter size file hanging bar style organizers. If your drawers are not the right dimensions there’s not much that can be done to make the larger size accessories work.

The first thing you need to do is measure the inside dimensions of your drawer. This will basically determine what file drawer accessories will be easy to install. Most parts are available in office supply stores or through an online supplier.

What are the two different File Folder Sizes

The legal file folder size is fourteen and three quarter inches (14-3/4”). The letter size is only eleven and three quarters of an inch (11-3/4”).

Adjustable Metal Frame Type Rack

If you have ever seen the metal frame styles, these are rather simple to assemble and they just set in the bottom of the drawer. Most of the frame depths are in the eighteen inch range because most desk cabinets are around twenty inches deep. The biggest drawback to these hanging file drawer bars is that they are supported by the bottom of the drawer. Many office cabinets that get purchased from retail stores have thin, flimsy materials in the bottom of the drawers that are not really strong enough to support the weight associated with hanging files.

Hanging File-Side Rail Bars
There are a couple of different style kits for hanging file folders in office cabinet drawers.

One side rail design has plastic clips that attach to the sides of the wood drawers and then the metal rails slip inside the supports. Usually there is one screw that must be secured into position on each bracket.

Another style part is all plastic and actually slips over the half inch (1/2”) thick wood drawer side. This particular slide on design is only good for interior dimensions that are accurately fabricated for the hanging files to rest on the plastic rails. Obviously, anything that is made out of plastic is going to be very reasonably priced.

Of these hanging lateral file drawer rack systems, the most readily available style is going to be the metal frame rod design that is adjustable. You should be able to find them in stock locally at any office supply store where they sell Pendaflex products. The frame should only take a few minutes to assemble. You will not need to secure it to the cabinet drawer in any way. Just put the metal rails together and set the frame inside your office cabinet drawer.

Finding the correct bars system for your file drawer cabinet should be as easy as measuring the opening size of your cabinet drawer and then locating the system that will work best for your situation. Make sure that you take into consideration the width, depth and length of the area where you are planning on installing the lateral support rails.

Categories: Cabinet Making
  1. Lee
    June 21st, 2010 at 14:07 | #1

    We have a 2-drawer wooden file cabinet and the center hanging file rails fall out of their slots in the drawers. How can this be remedied?

  2. admin
    June 22nd, 2010 at 05:07 | #2

    Hi Lee, take a look at this article on building a file drawer. You may find some ideas to help.

    If you could post a few more details perhaps I could give some suggestions.

  3. Sharon Goes
    December 21st, 2010 at 14:09 | #3

    I am looking for the plastic rails for my desk drawer. They just slip over the side of the drawer (1/2″ thick) and have an upright piece where the file folders hang. I need 4 lengths of 21″ long. Do you sell this item or can you tell me where to get this item? I have been to several office supply stores and they told me to go on line. Any suggestions??

  4. January 1st, 2011 at 16:55 | #4

    I am interested in converting kitchen cabinet drawers (base cabinet with 2-3 drawers) for use as file drawers with a hanging file system. Have you seen/heard of people dropping the free-standing frames into a 15″ cabinet that has a drawer at least 9 1/8″ deep?

  5. Micheal
    February 22nd, 2011 at 09:12 | #5

    ROCKLER sell plastic rail file hangers.

  6. Catherine
    September 15th, 2013 at 14:47 | #6

    I don’t have the center file rail for my cabinet. And can not find any anywhere. I keep finding the edge pieces. There is a slot in my lateral laminate cabinet for the bar. Any thoughts?

  7. Jackie Pash
    April 14th, 2016 at 16:06 | #7

    I have a built in office desk. The drawers are small. Dimensions are 10 1/2″ wide, 14 1/2″ long and 10″ deep. I am interested in getting file rails to install sideways for hanging file folders. Do you have anything that will fit this description of my drawers. Thank you.

  8. admin
    May 1st, 2016 at 20:37 | #8

    Purchase some 1/2″ x 1/2″ aluminum L-channel from Homedepot. Cut the aluminum to the desired width. Use Pendaflex file folders.

  9. Brian
    August 25th, 2016 at 09:48 | #9

    I have a file cabinet and almost all of the file rails are too short; should be 14″ but are only 13.8″ so they fall every time I open then close the cabinet. I had the manufacturer send out new railings and they are also 13.8″.

    Is there an easy solution to keep the file rails from falling?

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