I repaired my older style drawer slides without woodworking

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I repaired my older style drawer slides without woodworking

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692 shares, 851 points


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  1. Howdy everyone!

    Recently I moved into this 1920 Baltimore Rowhome and pretty much all the previous owners kept up with good quality maintenance and upgrades, but one issue we had was the 7 kitchen drawers being horrible to slide in and out, squeaky, painful, and you had to lift them to make it not feel terrible.

    The issue was painfully obvious to determine after opening up a drawer and getting to the interior. Of course I set out to fix the problem, because I am now a homeowner and that’s what I should do (also all the cabinet shops in the area are super busy and they very strongly hint that they’re never going to get this job done when you call them).

    So the first way I tried to tackle this project was to simply replace the drawer slides. I went to the Depot of Homes and got myself one set of undermount drawer slides (only one in case it didn’t work I wasn’t out money). But it turns out, nowadays every drawer slide is made differently because this older style isn’t a great design (though it is simple), which means to replace these with new drawer slides I would have to find a way to mount the slides to the side of the cabinet, which is inches away from my drawers, so that would be installing some wood on the sides, and then making sure everything is level and at the correct height, which would be a huge pain!

    So I figured the next easiest way would be to simply replace them with like parts that are older or drop in replacements. I found [these](https://www.rockler.com/go-ez-universal-concealed-drawer-slide-set) so I ordered one set (again in case anything went wrong). And when I got them in, they’re a slightly different design so I couldn’t use the same screw holes, and I would still have to cut them to length which is annoying. But the main issue is they were simply cheaper in every way, they were thinner gauge steel, the wheels were trashy cheap wheels, basically I’d be replacing old good quality slides with new cheap slides and the fix wouldn’t last long.

    So I did what I should have done in the beginning and I pulled out my calipers and measure the wheels, because after all that was the only broken piece on these slides, everything else was in a good state. The wheels I measured were about 20-21mm (though the original parts I’m pretty sure are imperial measurements), since all the replacement wheels are Chinese wheels on aliexpress I had to run with metric. I found some 22mm Nylon wheel bearings with a threaded shaft, which was perfect (I did find another alternative I was going to use as backup).

    Once I got the wheels in I set out to actually do the work, ran to the local Ace hardware to clean them out of their M6 nylon locking nuts, and going back and grabbing normal M6 nuts to finish most of the drawers.

    After dismounting the slides, I mounted them in the vice with the mounting point as close to the rivet I would have to drill, the first slide I started with a small drill bit as I didn’t want to wallow out the hole and screw up my slide (I have no replacement parts if I screw up), but after the first slide I went straight to the correct drill size of 1/4″. Some of these rivets started to slip so I had to use pliers to grab onto them and pull them out. But overall once I got the hang of it it only took about 45 seconds to drill out a rivet and another 30 to carefully mount the new wheel (the phillips head they use was terribly small and really liked to strip and the last thing I want is a stripped wheel unable to be taken off). By the end I probably had each drawer down to 15 minutes to finish from the time it takes to take off the slides to go to the basement and upgrade them to go back and mount.

    The slides have these little wheel stops on them, since my wheels were about 1mm bigger these wheel stops were pretty tough to get over so I did have to crimp them down just a touch with some pliers, they still work as stops though.

    All in all, it probably cost about $35 for all the parts I used, it took about 5-6 hours of research and testing (and also the like $80 in the failed replacements), and 3-4 hours of light work to get this done on my 7 drawers. But the wheels I replaced them with are also a higher quality than what was on there, they’re stronger, they have much better bearings, and if one goes bad they’re easily replaceable in under 5 minutes.

    This was definitely the most satisfying project I’ve done so far in the house. Thanks for reading!

  2. Hell yeah. Don’t live with inconvenience. Fix it. You know it is messed up, what’s the worse that could happen? It’s still messed up? Fyck it, same position as before.

    It must be satisfying to push it in nice and smooth.

    I’m surprised the bottom of a drawer that wide didn’t collapse before the slide sets gave up.

    I wonder what the milage on those guys were?

    Good fix.

  3. This is great! I believe I have the same slides in an old dresser that I have and I’ve just been living with the shit ones that are in there because I couldn’t Find an exact replacement. I’m saving this post and going to tackle this the next free weekend I have. Thank you!