Drawer Is Stuck

Problem: Drawer is hard to open, sticks occasionally, or can’t be opened.

Background: Old-style drawers which slide on wood often can be fixed to move more easily. New- style drawers may slide on tracks in side the drawer cavity where sticking may be caused by worn-out tracks or rollers.

What to do: For drawers that ride on wooden guides, remove the drawer and look for shiny spots on the top or bottom edges of the drawer, or on the sides. Sand these shiny areas, then try the drawer again to see if it moves more easily. Repeat the sanding if it still sticks, and then rub the drawer bottom and the drawer frame where they contact with candle wax, paraffin, or soap. This will make drawers, especially those filled with heavy items, glide easier.

Special advice: If the glides are badly worn, the drawer may not close all the way, and the drawer front may strike the frame.. In this case, the drawer needs to be lifted. Remove it and insert 2 or 3 large smooth-headed thumbtacks along the front of each glide. If the drawer sticks because of damp weather and only opens partially, drying it with a hair dryer may work (be careful not to start a fire). If the drawer won’t open any other way, it may be necessary to remove the back, if accessible.

Helpful hint: If you find that drawers are sticking only in damp weather, wait until the weather is dry and the drawers are not sticking. Then coat the unfinished wood with a penetrating sealer or with wax.