Stuck Wooden Drawers

Written by cynthia measom
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A wooden drawer is prone to sticking under certain conditions. It may be the product of the wood swelling due to temperature changes or moisture, a poorly made drawer that needs altering, the presence of a warped bottom or a combination of reasons. Whatever the problem, you may have to troubleshoot in order to loosen the drawer and help it regain functionality.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 50-80 grit sandpaper
  • Silicone spray
  • Extension cord with light-bulb socket
  • Outlet
  • 75-watt bulb

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Instructions

    Multiple-Drawer Solution

  1. 1

    Remove the drawer below or above the stuck drawer and place it aside.

  2. 2

    Reach into the opening from above or below and pull or push the drawer upward and out simultaneously to free it from the opening.

  3. 3

    Inspect the bottom of the drawer to see if it's intact. If the bottom is a removable piece that's bowing out at the bottom, remove it and turn it over before replacing.

  4. 4

    Run a piece of coarse -- 50 to 80 grit -- sandpaper over the top, sides and bottom of the drawer to sand it down. Spray the top and bottom edges and the runners of the drawer with silicone spray to lubricate the drawer.

  5. 5

    Replace the drawer in the opening and pull it out to test how well it slides. If it still binds, pull it out and sandpaper the area that you think is binding it.

    Single- or Multiple-Drawer Solution

  1. 1

    Pull the drawer open as far as you can. Screw a 75-watt light bulb into an extension cord with a light-bulb socket.

  2. 2

    Place the light bulb end of the cord into the drawer. Plug in the extension cord and turn on the switch to light the bulb if necessary.

  3. 3

    Allow the bulb to remain in the drawer for 15 minutes to shrink the wood. Remove the bulb and pull the drawer free.

  4. 4

    Run a piece of coarse -- 50 to 80 grit -- sandpaper over the sides, top and bottom of the drawer to sand it down. Spray the top and bottom edges and the runners of the drawer with silicone spray to lubricate the drawer.

  5. 5

    Replace the drawer and test it by pulling it out and pushing it in. It may need additional sanding.

Tips and warnings

  • Inspect the wood runners or rails for shiny spots that indicate friction. Lightly sand these areas with 100-grit sandpaper.
  • Stay close by when using the light bulb to heat the wood to avoid a potential problem.
  • Don't sand wood that's wet or swollen. When it dries out or changes temperature, it will shrink back into place.

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