How to fix a stuck wooden drawer

Updated: May 15, 2019

finishing wax to use on a stuck wooden drawer on white background Photo by Liam Mogan

Yanking on a hopelessly stuck wooden drawer while groping for matches in a cold, dark cottage isn’t a good way to spend time at the lake, nor does it have to be part of the experience. Wooden drawers usually stick because they’re too big. The cure is to find the rub, work it down, then coat the area with something slippery. It all starts with detective work. Empty the drawer, pull it out, then examine the outside for the most worn areas. A random-orbit-sander spinning an 80-grit abrasive is ideal for removing wood from drawer excess. Sometimes you’ll need to use a sharp chisel to remove wood from tight spots. Test-fit the drawer after sanding, sand more if necessary, then apply a coat of paste wax to the drawer sides, bottom, and top edges. Waxing will also help with drawers that rock from side to side and jam because they’re too small.

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