Help me get my knickers out!
November 17, 2011 1:33 PM   Subscribe

Wood! Lubrication and glide.

I find myself living among several nice but sticky chest of drawers. They are all older in age and the drawers have been very difficult to get in and out smoothly.

Do I take to them with a plane? What's the best thing to use on them to get a smoother glide? Candles? Some kind of commercial wax?

Struggling with them just to get a pair of knickers out is driving me crazy - although they look fab.
posted by gomichild to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
beeswax. Also, make sure the drawer slides are straight and firmly attached.
posted by cosmicbandito at 1:38 PM on November 17, 2011

I have the same problem with my dresser (it came from the farm, it's 100 years old). My aunt always said "soap" but I don't think that's a really good idea. Particularly in, you know, a humid climate. I kind of thought beeswax would be pretty soft? No?
posted by zomg at 1:38 PM on November 17, 2011

Best answer: Soap does work, but rubbing a candle on the sliding surface works better.
posted by anadem at 1:43 PM on November 17, 2011

Best answer: WD-40 makes some new lubricants that may work. Something silicone-based, depending on the type of wood could be a solution.
posted by rich at 1:44 PM on November 17, 2011

Best answer: If they pull with a lot of friction (even high force), you need lube).

If they pull unevenly, you need to sand or scrape.

If they stick when you first pull, you probably need lube... unless it feels like you're pulling them out of a physical notch, in which case you need to examine the track for a gouge/wear spot, and sand/scrape.

Candle wax and soap are both good, but will need periodic reapplications. NBD.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:58 PM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: It depends.

Sometimes sticky drawers is caused by expanding wood due to moisture/ temperature changes causing the drawers to bind. Try to identify exactly where/if the drawers are binding. Take the drawers out of the chest. Look for blank spots on the outside of the sides an on the top of the sides. Blank spots indicate friction. Remove wood as necessary. I'd use a belt sander, but a plane could be used too. Just go slow and try the drawers out frequently.

If the drawers are not actually binding, roughness of the sliding surfaces could indeed be the problem. I have used the liquid silicone normally used on the rubber gaskets of car doors with good result in the past.

Wax might be good too, but it'd need to be hard, I suppose, e.g.. paraffin wax or carnauba, not beeswax.
posted by Thug at 2:00 PM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ooh, yeah, what Thug said. Look at the sliding surfaces and outer edges for unusual wear!
posted by IAmBroom at 2:02 PM on November 17, 2011

Best answer: Older chests of drawers often don't have a central guiding slide to keep them aligned in the chest. Often they had instead "fences" (don't know proper term) along the sides of the drawers to keep them aligned for ease of opening.

Some may be missing causing the drawers the rake and pull out of true making them stick or completely jam. I'd check for evidence, or lack of these. Pull the drawers out and check the inside of the chest, on the tracks the drawers rest there should be little maybe inch high pieces of wood running the length of the chest.

If they have a center glide, maybe they have become loose and are off true.
posted by Max Power at 3:03 PM on November 17, 2011

Best answer: Ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene tape.
posted by nicwolff at 3:49 PM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

aka Nylo-tape.
posted by nicwolff at 3:49 PM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

AAKA Slippery Tape

Seconding this stuff, its awesome.
posted by Pink Fuzzy Bunny at 3:53 PM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

nthing slippery tape. Its amazing.
posted by Lame_username at 4:03 PM on November 17, 2011

Best answer: I had a sticky drawer in an old chest of drawers, so I pulled it out, made sure it was all square, reglued a loose side, and used soap on the runners. It's perfect now.
posted by thylacinthine at 5:18 PM on November 17, 2011

Best answer: If you ever think you'd want to refinish it, don't use silicone. It does not go well with most finishes and is very difficult to remove completely. I've used wax with good results.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 5:29 PM on November 17, 2011

My mum has used candle wax on sliding window runners with success.

There's some stuff (graphite! thanks to the googles!) that you can use to lube car door locks. You use it with a puffer thing to allow the key to be inserted more easily. Or perhaps talc/baby powder?
posted by deborah at 10:53 PM on November 17, 2011

Best answer: Rubbing the runners with a candle will let you quickly figure out whether it's a simple question of lubrication (in which case you can keep using candlewax or switch to one of the more fancy lubricants described above) or something more complicated.
posted by primer_dimer at 2:52 AM on November 18, 2011

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