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REPAIRS : For a Smooth Operation, Keeps Things Top-Drawer

November 12, 1994|From Associated Press

When a drawer sticks, the bottom might be warped. Remove the bottom, flip it over and reinstall. The bottom usually slides out for repairs, but on some drawers you have to disassemble and rebuild the drawer.

Humidity may swell the wood, causing parts to rub. Sand or use a plane to lightly shave some wood from the affected area.

On a drawer with wooden runners, look for shiny spots on the sliding parts and signs of uneven wear--especially on the bottom of runners--and for looseness, breakage or missing screws or nails.

Rub a sticking runner with candle wax or soap, or spray it with silicone lubricant. If it still sticks, lightly plane the runner's bottom. Then re-wax the runner.

If a runner is damaged, remove it. Then plane or sand the area flush with the drawer bottom. Cut a new runner of straight-grain hardwood. Glue it to the drawer with carpenter's glue. Clamp it along its entire length until the glue is dry. Then drill pilot holes for nails and secure it with finishing nails.

If the sliding mechanism is plastic or metal, check the alignment and look for signs of looseness, breakage or missing fasteners. Inspect rollers. If they don't operate smoothly, clean with ammonia. If they're damaged, replace them.

To repair a loose drawer glide, use a square to check that it's perpendicular to the front. Tighten or replace screws.

Sometimes a drawer sticks because its joints are loose or no longer square.

To check for squareness, measure each side diagonally from inside corner to inside corner. They should be equal. If the drawer is out of square, disassemble it carefully. When separating the elements of the drawer, be careful not to chip or break the wood.

Once the drawer is disassembled, remove all old nails and scrape off the old glue. Then re-glue the drawer pieces and hold them together with bar clamps. Check the joints with a rule.

Flush-front drawers sometimes get pushed too far into the cabinet. To prevent this, glue and tack small wood blocks to the rear of the drawer runners to serve as stops.

To fix a split drawer bottom, glue a canvas strip across the underside of the split to reinforce the bottom.

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