Asked on Jan 19, 2015

Drawer slides for antique dresser

Carrie Dugai
by Carrie Dugai
I have a beautiful antique solid wood dresser that doesn't have drawer slides so the drawers do not open and close well. Any ideas on how I can retrofit drawer slides or where I could purchase some that would work?
  13 answers
  • Renee Sanofsky Renee Sanofsky on Jan 19, 2015
    Any hardware store should have them.
  • Tracy Tracy on Jan 19, 2015
    In our 1959 bathroom cabinet the drawers would not pull out. They were too tight. I rubbed the bottom of the drawer (where it glides) with wax and that made all the difference in the world. I needed to do this about once a year. You have not said if the drawers are too loose or too tight. For drawer glides I always look at Rockler web site.
  • Ann Edmondson Ann Edmondson on Jan 19, 2015
    If the drawer themselves have grooves you can cut some to fit using 1/2" x 1" wooden slats. Allow 2" from the back of the dresser and 1" from the front for the length. Attach with finishing nails and wood glue. If they are just sticking you can use plain white candle wax and rub into the wood. Depending on where you are in Virginia (close to water or not) you may need to do this about twice a year.
  • Suzie Henderson Suzie Henderson on Jan 19, 2015
    Just as @Tracy said, a bit of paste wax rubbed on the bottom edges of the drawers works miracles! Try that first before buying any new hardware.
  • Jennifer Curtis Jennifer Curtis on Jan 20, 2015
    get some non scented emergency candles and rub wax anywhere it great & its cheap
  • You can find the draw glides your looking for at Be prepared to spend some time on the site. The catalog is about 1,200 pages long. They ship anywhere. If they do not have it, it does not exist.
  • Carrie Dugai Carrie Dugai on Jan 22, 2015
    Thanks so much for the suggestions. I've used an old candle to wax the drawer edges and the drawers slide better now, but because there are no guides, the drawers still fall forward when we pull them out. As you may be able to see in the picture, the drawers fit flush with the front of the dresser so I'm not sure installing drawer slides will work. Newer dresser drawers have a front piece that sits in front of the dresser box and aren't flush. Suggestions?
  • Easy method to fix and prevent the drawers from falling out. Remove drawer, Measure from the back towards the front of each side of the drawer about 5 inches. More or less depending upon how far you want the drawer to remain in when fully opened. Then take a short wooden block of wood about five inches long. IT should be about 3/8 inch thick and about one inch wide. Numbers are not exact but around that size. Drill two holes on near the end and another about two inches up from it. Large enough so a small screw when placed in it will pass easily. The screw should be about a long as the thickness of the board and halfway of the thickness of the side of the drawer itself. Screw the board using the screw hole nearest the end into the side of the drawer at the 5 inch mark you made earlier, The board should be so that when its vertical it sticks about 3/4 of an inch higher then the side of the drawer side. More so if the sides are not as high as the front. Ideally the board should stick about 3/4" higher than the front of the drawer. Once that is done on both sides, working as a hinge rotate the board down into the drawer and install it. once the drawer is installed, rotate the board vertical again and install the 2nd screw to secure it in the vertical position. Once done, when you go to open the drawer the boards will hit the back side of the front of the cabinet preventing it from falling out. Lastly use Bees wax for the glides, it tends not to stick as much as candle wax does, plus it tends to last longer.
  • Carrie Dugai Carrie Dugai on Jan 23, 2015
    Thanks so much for this detailed reply! My husband came up with this solution last night, but these instructions are a huge help. We'll try this today. 😊
  • Em Hooper Em Hooper on Jan 25, 2015
    I have a similar piece of furniture. Have never pulled a drawer out far enough to have it fall out of the case! Who knew? Thanks for bringing this up.
  • Jeannie Andrews Jeannie Andrews on Mar 04, 2015
    another remedy for sticking drawers is plain ole soap. if you don't have a candle, or a piece of wax, a bar of soap will also work. another idea: drawers that were I my bathroom years ago had formica strips about 1/2 to 3/4 inches wide glued to the inside of the cabinet where the drawer would sit, and correspondingly on the drawer bottom. worked like a charm.
  • Terra Gazelle Terra Gazelle on Mar 22, 2015
    I use bees wax on the wooden strips that were used for the glides..and rub some on the drawers themselves. Makes all the difference. You might want to go over the drawers lightly with sandpaper first.
  • Lisa Mills Smith Lisa Mills Smith on Feb 19, 2018

    These ideas are brilliant. The previous owners of my house left an antique oak dresser in the basement when I moved in 20 years ago. I'm now semi-retired and have finally decided to refinish it. I'm running into all the same problems mentioned here. Thank-you for these simple solutions to try in an attempt to avoid the added expense of retro-fitting modern drawer slides.