How to Adjust a Drawer if It Is Too Tight on a Side Mount Slide

There are two reasons that a slide may fell tight on a side mount slide. Both have to do with the space between the drawer piece of the slide and cabinet piece. If the drawer is too narrow, the slide will bind up along the inside of the track. If the drawer is too wide, it will bind up along the outside of the track. There is a simple test you can do to determine which is the case and the correction procedures for both are simple.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft-lead pencil
  • Screwdriver
  • Card stock
  • Sureform plane

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Remove the drawer. Rub the pencil on the inside edge of the drawer guide wheel. Replace the drawer and run it in and out several times. Remove the drawer and check to see if any pencil has been transferred to the inside of the cabinet piece of the guide.

Clean the pencil from the wheel and repeat the process. Rub the pencil on the outside of the wheel. If you find more pencil on the inside of the track, your drawer is too narrow. If the pencil transfers more to the outside, your drawer is too wide.

Remove the drawer. If the drawer is too narrow, loosen the screws on either side of the drawer. Fold a small piece of cardstock in half and cut several folded pieces approximately 1/2 inch square. Place one piece of folded card at the back end of the guide, between the guide and drawer, on the right side of the drawer, and tighten the screw. Add a piece of card in the center of the guide and tighten screws there. Do the same at the front.

Repeat the process on the left side of the drawer. Reset the drawer and test for improvement. If the drawer still does not move freely, repeat the process with card folded two or three times. Once the drawer functions properly, snug all screws to complete the repair.

Remove the drawer and remove the guides from either side of the drawer for drawers that are too wide. Remove the screws to prevent damage to the screw heads.

Plane the sides of the drawer with a sureform plane. A sureform plane looks similar to a cheese grater along the bottom, and works by removing small ribbons of material over an area about 2 inches wide. Plane the drawer lightly. Repeat the process with both sides of the drawer, making six to eight passes to start. Reattach the drawer guides using just the front and back screws to test. Set the drawer back into the furniture and test for proper action.

Remove the drawer and take the guides off. If the drawer functioned correctly, lightly sand the planed drawer sides to smooth the planer marks. Sand with 100-grit paper for best results. If the drawer still does not move freely, plane it again and retest it. Once the guides function properly, reattach it with all screws firmly and insert the drawer.

References

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