I've got a large oak chest of drawers I got a pretty good deal on a long time ago. But one of the drawers is always getting stuck, it slips off the side of the runner shown below. It then needs lifting and moving to the side to remount. I've figured out that the reason for this is two-fold:

Firstly the drawer isn't quite as wide as the other drawers in the unit (larger gap at the side of the drawer and the frame. Maybe by 1-2mm.

Secondly the runner on this side isn't as wide as the other side, by maybe 3mm.

I can switch the drawers around but its still not quite right. I want to try and do something about it and it looks as though I have two options.

  • I can fix another piece of wood onto the runner on the outside, to ensure the drawer doesn't fall off the runner but I'm concerned that the drawer won't move smoothly and that by doing that I could weaken the runner.
  • The second option would be to remove the runner, put some wood in between the runner and its mounting on the frame to push the runner out towards the drawer.

Are there any pros or cons to those or any alternative ways to do this? I'm not an expert carpenter but I'm familiar with screwdrivers and saws.

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  • 1
    Definitely option #2 here, that's the right way to do this sort of thing (it's called packing out). The packing pieces only need to take up enough space that you get equivalent gaps to the other drawers that run well. Since you're not a woodworker the difficulty for you might be in finding something of the right thickness. A woodworker could fabricate the pieces needed by sawing off thin pieces or planing down thicker stock. You'll probably need to find something of suitable thickness and just use pieces of it. Thin MDF or hardboard are two good candidates for packing material, or thin ply.
    – Graphus
    May 26 '17 at 17:06

It looks like the runner is screwed into the frame. In this case unscrewing it and adding spacers between the runner and the frame, then screwing back should provide a solution. You should probably put the spacer behind the blocks the runner is screwed to, and not between the runner and those blocks (to get more stability).

  • I tried this this weekend failed. Ontop of the screws, the runner is glued to the blocks and the blocks glued to the frame. I'm not willing to attempt to crow bar out the glued pieces once unscrewed. I'm trying to think of alternatives - but I can't think of anything that would work with a thin spacer without impeding the movement of the drawer Jun 18 '17 at 19:24
  • Depending on your skill levels and tools, it's not so bad to pry off the runners or the blocks and putting in spacers or even replacing the existing blocks with wider ones.
    – Eli Iser
    Jun 18 '17 at 22:58

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