Fixing a Binding Drawer

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    Topic
  • #567675
    GfB
    Participant

    I built a hanging wall shelf similar to Paul’s, but with a drawer on the bottom for my wife’s stored knick knacks. The drawer’s outer dimensions are less than 1/8 smaller than the inner walls of the drawer housing, and as long as I slide it straight, no problems. But if I push it from a side (rack it?), it binds. The drawer is only 5 1/2″ deep (front to back), which I think exacerbates the racking. It’s in pine, so I’m thinking the softness of the wood might also be a contributor. I tried rounding the back and bottom edges and corners of the drawer. What else can I do to try to alleviate this?

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  • #570974
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    @lorenzojose

    A wide and shallow drawer will always present a challenge. Chances are such an arrangement will always be a bit fiddly. Consider two narrower drawers instead.

    A single center pull sometimes works better than two pulls and if your drawer works well when you grab it in the middle, that’s your answer.
    The single pull will encourage the user to use the right place.

    You can help things along using canning paraffin ( Gulf wax in the US) or candle wax on the rubbing surfaces. Melt the paraffin in a double boiler arrangement take it off the heat, and add a bit of turps. Apply hot. After it cools, Work the drawer a bit to rub off the excess. the mixture also works well for vise screws and rods.
    It is far more durable than paste wax. An application will last years.

    Gulf wax used to be called canning wax, but health considerations discourage that use, so now it’s often called household wax.
    https://grocery.walmart.com/ip/Gulf-Wax-Household-Paraffin-Wax-16-oz/10420578
    It melts at 99°F (37°C) the goal is to warm it, not boil water. The wax and the turps are flammable. Use care and don’t use the turps over a flame.

    It may sound counterintuitive, but rounding the back corners may have made things a little worse by allowing more chance to rack or cam in the space.

    An 1/8” is actually a fairly large gap for the drawer side with shallow drawers. You can try adding a little veneer shim along the lower sides of the drawer space to close up the side gap and keep the drawer centered. An oak or walnut veneer strip works well. You can use a little hot glue and if it doesn’t help, it’s removable. Sometimes you can find small rolls of it used to finish plywood edges. You can also use that trick to restore worn out drawer guides.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by Larry Geib.
    #571282
    Ed
    Participant

    @ed

    Larry, how would you apply it to the screw? Would you try to keep it molten and brush it on the screw, still assembled in the vise, with a chip brush? Does prior paste wax or oil on the screw need to be cleaned off first, or just apply the wax right on top?

    #574552
    GfB
    Participant

    @awesomeopossum74

    Larry, thank you. You made some good points I’ll consider in the future. After affixing the knob in the center, there is relatively minimal binding . Not perfect, but workable. This drawer will not be a daily-use drawer, so I’m not too concerned.

    Here’s a pic of the completed project, in pine, white-washed and waxed. It was my first try at white-washing, with a lot of error-correction and more work time than I think should have been … but the end result is pleasing.

    Attachments:
    #574709
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    @lorenzojose

    Larry, how would you apply it to the screw? Would you try to keep it molten and brush it on the screw, still assembled in the vise, with a chip brush? Does prior paste wax or oil on the screw need to be cleaned off first, or just apply the wax right on top?

    It’s best to apply the turps/ wax mixture while hot( liquid) . Gulf wax is pretty hard, so applying the mixture cold doesn’t really get much on.

    The main reason to use wax instead of oils is that much less dust and grime sticks to the screws and rods. The method was introduced to me when I built my Tage Frid bench according to his article in FWW #4 (1976) so I can’t claim any originality. But after all these years the vises spin smooth as silk. I only have to reapply every few years. The stuff is tenacious. The mixture formula is also in his triad of books “Tage Frid teaches woodworking”(I think book III is the one that repeats the FWW article. I would recommend that series for any aspiring woodworker. It is still in print from Taunton Press.)
    Tage mentions the mixture for the wood to wood bearing parts of the tail vise on the bench in his article. It works equally well on wood to metal or metal to metal sliding surfaces, even under high stress.

    If you already have oils on the vise I’d just wipe what I could off with a rag and apply the wax. Existing wax won’t matter at all. The hot wax mixture will tend to clean off anything on the screw. You don’t have to disassemble anything, but move the screw during the process so you coat everything. A cheap, foam, or worn out brush would be the easiest, but even a rag dipped in the mixture would work. Just don’t have the wax so hot you scald yourself. The wax does NOT have to be as hot as boiling water, just hot enough to be liquid. Wax holds a lot of heat, so it won’t cool immediately even after you mix in the turps once it is liquid. Don’t worry about applying too much. The excess will scrub itself off after a short bit.

    #574722
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    @lorenzojose

    Here’s a pic of the completed project

    Nice job. Glad the pull worked.

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