Tip & How-To about Office Equipment & Supplies

A Quick Fix for many old sticky drawers

We all have one of those old wooden dressers or kitchen silverware drawer that drives us nuts because it catches. I now an a very easy solution that does not require installing a ball bearing set of slides though the end result is pretty close.

The old way used to be to remove the drawer and sand/wax the runners (wear surfaces).

The most difficult part of this is properly removing the drawer. Some simply flop out, their contents all over the floor. Other have stops to prevent this. Here's how to handle those:

Drawer Removal
Do this by releasing the latch at the back of the drawer. Some push in (spring models like on Singer Sewing machine drawers)and on really ancient antique furniture they are simply gravity operated. A stick of wood that has a small part sticking up and a much larger heavier part below attached by a single screw. It pivots on this screw. So rotate it 90 degrees either left or right then gently remove the drawer, supporting it underneath.

Ultimately it is best to remove all the drawer contents FIRST since you will be for the next step anyway. Better it on the table than all over the floor!

You will need one product to make this work. You go to your local hw store or home center and buy any teflon spray THAT DRIES. It must dry and not stay wet.

Carefully spray the bottom runners of the drawers with a light coat. If you're worried about the finish use a piece of shirt cardboard against the side of the runner so no overspray hits the finish. If you are uncomfortable and the item is expensive, just mask off the sides with newspaper.

But with a little practice and keeping the nozzle very close (1/2 to 1 inch) away from the drawer side runner bottom you will be able to do this easily.

Hitting the inside of the drawer also helps but is not neccessary.

The the spray dry (usually white) before reinstalling. Slide it back and forth many times. Remove and respray any area that are not white anymore -- the product wore onto the wear surfaces in the dresser. This is a good thing.

After doing this most drawers will slide almost as well as if you had spent $40-$100 on a set of professional slides like the new kitchen drawers have.

I did this on a 1950s dresser I refinished and I am just amazed at how well it works. I invented/discovered it just by experimenting with it on wood.

This compares favorably to my first drawer I built in woodworking shop in school. I spent hours sanding that from 180 to 220 to 320 and finally 400 sandpaper and then waxing it and buffing it. It slides well but the above proceedure is far less time consuming than this.

So go! Get a can of dry-setting teflon spray, available for around/under $5 at most home centers and do every drawer in the house! You're life will be so much easier.

I've done every drawer in my place, even a classic mahogany tambour type sliding door for a home entertainment center. That was a custom conversion from a 1960s B&W TV that I reused as a home entertainment center. It covers the system and has the class of real wood furniture. I mention this because I think this would also work on sticky tambour classic rolltop desks as well. I know they are getting repopular again for computer stations. I've seen them in the high end mailorder catalogs as well as custom designs in my favorite woodworking magazines.

But I came up with this tip all on my own. It started in my woodworking shop. Unfortunately now it won't let me put it in an appropriate catagory -- furniture drawers. Building is maybe the cloest?

Management: Maybe you can find the right catagory or create a furniture catagory? Or a Miscellaneous "Around the house" tip catagory. People who google the problem will still find it.

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