There is so much to love about wooden drawers. They give your space that traditional and antique look that adds to its personality. They are easy to install and come in many different designs. However, they are also more prone to getting stuck as compared to modern drawers with metal slides.
But worry not, there is an easy solution. Read on to learn more about how to make stubborn wooden drawers slide smoothly.
There are many reasons why your wooden drawers may not slide smoothly. One of the reasons is the seasonal expansion and contraction of wood. In certain weather conditions, some types of wood are prone to expanding or contracting. In either case, your wooden drawers won’t fit into the cabinet snuggly, and sliding them in and out will be a problem. It is really hard to resize drawers so the only solution here would be to replace them.
Another reason why wooden drawers get stuck is that there might be some damage to the drawer sides due to constant friction. In this case, all you need is to add a lubricant to ensure smooth sliding. There are many different kinds of lubricants you can use. All of them are mentioned below
Paeaffin wax is straight, solid wax that is derived from petroleum, coal, or shale oil. It is easy to come by as it is the most common and cheap kind of wax available in the market. It is usually available in the form of small blocks so it is easy to rub on the sides of the drawers.
Adding nylon tape to the sides of the drawers creates a smooth barrier between the drawer sides and the cabinet. This reduces the damage caused by friction and the wooden drawers are able to slide easily. Since nylon tape is colorless, you don’t have to worry about ruining the appearance of your drawers.
In addition to paraffin, candle wax can also be used to smoothen out the sides of your wooden drawers. The main difference between candle wax and paraffin is that the former contains additives to make the wax last longer and have other features. Also, we all have candles lying around the house somewhere so it is more convenient to come by as compared to paraffin wax.
Wax paper is a good alternative to candle and paraffin wax as it does the same thing as them without making as much of a mess. Wax paper is usually found in rolls and you can get one at your local supermarket or hardware store. Simply taping wax paper on the sides of the wooden drawer can make them smooth and slide easily.
Soap is the easiest and most convenient lubricant for wooden drawers. It is easy to come by and in light of the current COVID-19 crisis, you are bound to have some extra bars lying around the house. Just rub soap on the sides of the drawers to make them smoother, hence reducing friction between the drawer and the cabinet. Make sure to use unscented soap though as the scent will rub off on your drawer as well.
Baby powder is also effective in making wooden drawers slide smoothly. The powder makes the surface of the drawer sides smooth so it can easily slide in and out of the cabinet without getting stuck. The reason why we prefer baby powder instead of just normal powder is that the former is more finely milled and does a better job of making the sides smooth. However, just like with the soap, you are better off choosing an unscented baby powder.
Grit paper or sandpaper helps provide a more permanent solution to your wooden drawer sliding problems. You can use this paper to sand the surface and edges of the drawer sides to make them smooth and slide easily. This is a long-term solution as you are not adding any lubricant on top of the sides but are actually making the surface smoother.
The only downside to this is that excessive sanding may change the dimensions of your drawer causing the drawer to not fit snuggly in the cabinet. This option is also not a suitable one if you have painted or coated the sides of your drawers.
Plumber’s grease is a combination of silicone oil and silicone grease. It is available as a thick viscous vaseline-like substance and is waterproof. You can add a little bit of this grease to the sides of your wooden drawers and they will never get stuck. This works great in all kinds of temperatures and doesn’t damage the wooden surface of the drawers.
Now that you know about the different kinds of lubricants you can use to make sure your wood drawers glide smoothly, here is a step-by-step guide of how to use them.
The first step is to remove the wooden drawer from the cabinet. A good way to do this is to lift the drawer slightly as you pull it out so that it comes out easily.
Once the drawer is out, it is time to rub or tape your lubricant to the drawer sides. If you’re using wax, soap, grease, or baby powder, rub all of them over the drawer sides vigorously. Also, rub some of the lubricants on the internal edges of the cabinet as well.
If you’re using tape or wax paper, cut them in the exact size of the sides of the drawer and then attach them firmly in place. For sanding the sides of the drawer, start with a high grit like 200 and make smooth long strokes to make sure sides are evenly sanded. Make your way up to 300 grit paper.
Once your lubricants are added, it is time to check if your hard work has paid off. Slide the drawers back in to see if they slide smoothly. Open and close the drawers a couple of times to make sure they are good to go.
Unfortunately, there is no permanent solution to fixing wooden drawers that don’t slide smoothly. All the lubricants above will last varying degrees of time and then you’ll be back repeating the same process. All the lubricants above can be easily used repeatedly for making the sides of your drawers smooth. However, beware of excessive sanding as that can damage your drawers.
Here is a video explaining the process.
You can easily remove normal wooden drawers by pulling them all the way out of the dresser. If you have drawers with metal slides you will have to click and release the slide first. This is pretty simple as well, just locate the clip/pin/button on the slide and click it to release the drawer.
There are many ways you can try to pry open a stuck drawer. The first is by exerting additional pressure while pulling the drawer so that if it is stuck in place you can dislodge it. Another way would be to use some kind of lubricant to reduce the friction between the drawer and the cabinet. Lasty, if your drawer is completely stuck, you might need to call in a professional and have the drawer sawed off.
You can lubricate cabinet drawers by using any of the lubricants mentioned above in the blog. In most cases, candle wax and soap work well. However, you can never fail with some plumber’s grease at hand.
There are many ways to make sure wooden drawers slide easily. However, keep in mind that wooden drawers may never slide as smoothly as metal drawers with soft-close hinges. You can also install metal slides on your wooden drawers to get the best of both worlds. Contact us today or visit our website to see a huge variety of hinges such as corner hinges and wardrobe hinges, slides like telescopic drawer slides and under-mount metal slides, and more.
RMGHardware is a professional cabinet hinge manufacturer who works closely with various well-known furniture brands, check out our blogs for tips and tricks around furniture hardware! Or contact us if you need help with sourcing hinges.