How to Fix Sticking Drawers
A stubborn drawer which won’t open or close the right way is simply annoying; but something can be done to fix a sticky drawer. Sometimes, this happens during a damp weather conditon. Too much moisture in the air causes temporary swelling of the wood. This can often be fixed by simple lubrication. A type of silicone spray which can be bought at hardware stores, paraffin, or a wax candle can do the job. Remove the drawer from its place and vacuum or wipe off all the dust from its edges and from the guide strips on which the drawer rides, then apply the lubricant or rub candle wax to the edges of the drawer and to these guides.
When lubrication alone does not work, planing or sanding may have to be done to shave off the drawer edges. Carefully observe the sides of the drawer and its receptacle, then try to locate the areas that are rubbing. The stress points where the contact occurs are usualy the areas that look polished.
Using a medium grade sand paper wrapped around a sharp plane or a wood block, trim down these problem spots. Keep testing the drawer to make sure that only the necessary amount of wood is removed. If the sides of the drawer appears to be too high, plane the top edge instead of the bottom edge.
If the drawer glides in smoothly until about the last inch or a bit more, but would not close totally unless it is slightly lifted, then most likely, the bottoms edges are already excessively worn down. This can generally be fixed by inserting some smooth-headed thumbtacks into the wooden tracks inside the drawer chest to make the bottom edge of the drawer ride on top of them slightly raising the drawer making the front panel clear easier. This will also help make a drawer that is loaded heavily to slide better.
Sometimes, the poor functioning of drawers may be caused by the uneven standing of the whole cabinet on the floor. You can easily check this by using a carpenter’s level. Check if the top of the chest is leveled with the floor. This is necessary to keep the drawer working smoothly. If you discover that the whole cabinet’s level is not good, adjust the legs by wedging folded cardboard or a thin strip of wood under the affected corner or side. Continue adjusting the cabinet in this manner until the drawer chest sits absolutely level from all sides.
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