Whether you are replacing, repairing, or dismantling, there are multiple reasons you may need to remove the drawers from a piece of furniture.
If you have a drawer on metal glides without a lever or handle, it can sometimes be difficult to remove it.
In most instances, all drawers are made to be removed. The way you remove them depends a lot on the hardware in the glides. Removing drawers from glides that have no levers can be done by lifting it from the track or removing the plastic stopping mechanism near the front of the glide.
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What Are Levers For?
In full-extension or side mount drawer glides, levers are used as a release mechanism to separate both parts of the drawer glide and are located inside the glide itself. This is useful to be able to remove the drawer box from the cabinet.
You would simply pull your drawer out, push on the levers on either side and then you are able to fully remove your drawer. Replace the drawer when you are finished and push until you hear the levers click back in place.
In under mount drawer glides, the drawer box sides on top of the glides. In these glides, the levers sit at the front of the glide. But they are used in much the same way as side mount and full-extension glides.
To remove these, you click the levers on either side and lift the drawer up away from the glides.
Why Would a Glide Not Have Levers?
If the whole point of levers is to make the drawer box easier to remove, you may wonder why certain glides don’t have them. There are actually multiple types of glides without levers.
First, more cost effective or cheaper furniture sometimes have drawer glides without levers in them. The purpose is to keep costs down on production cabinets and hardware.
Next you have soft-close drawer glides. Soft-close glides prevent drawers from being slammed shut and instead smoothly glide them back into place. While some do have levers, others come with a plastic stopping mechanism in the form of a clip.
Finally, there are wooden drawer glides. You will find these most on older or antique furniture. There is a wooden bar fixed into the shell of the drawer slot that glides into an indentation either cut into the drawer itself or on a wooden cleat fashioned to the bottom of the drawer box.
There is one less common situation in which a drawer glide would have no levers and that would be if the levers themselves have worn out. This is most common on ball-bearing drawer glides that have been used to excess or were not installed properly.
Considerations Before Removing Your Drawers
Before you begin taking apart your furniture, take a few minutes to properly prepare.
Wear Close Toed Shoes
This is especially important if you are working with a heavy piece of furniture. If the drawer falls and lands on your foot, you might not have a very good day.
Also, if your furniture is not anchored to the wall, it could potentially tip over.
Empty the Drawer Completely
Remove everything from the drawer you are trying to remove. If you are taking off every drawer from a dresser, clear out every drawer beforehand and also remove any items from the top.
For kitchen drawers, be sure there are no knives or other sharp objects that could potentially fall to the floor during removal.
Start at the Top
This can be disregarded if you only need to remove one drawer for replacement or repair. But if you are taking out every drawer, always start with the one at the very top.
If you start at the bottom, you risk making your furniture top heavy by the time you get to the very top drawer. This is a potential tipping risk.
How to Remove a Drawer With No Lever
Once you’ve taken safety precautions you can start removing your drawers.
Extend the Drawer Fully
Pull the drawer out until it comes to its natural stopping point. Examine the glide mechanism to determine your next step.
If it is on a wooden slide, it may come out fully on its own without the need for extra coaxing. Simply lift upwards away from the drawer shell to bring it over any wooden or plastic lip.
Remove Any Stoppers or Screws
For metal glides without levers, you can usually locate a plastic stopper near the front of the glide. Some of them can be popped off, or you may need to depress them both at the same time to release the drawer.
You may notice stabilizer screws on the inside of your drawer. This is common in very large drawers that can hold heavy items. Remove these screws to detach them from the glides.
Anti-tip furniture can also add extra screws to your drawers. The anti-tip mechanism may be a cable that attaches to the back of the drawer or position lever fixed between two drawers. This prevents more than one drawer from being opened at a time.
If you are trying to remove ball-bearing drawer glides with no lever or with a lever that has been worn out, you most likely have to remove the entire glide from the drawer in order to replace it.
Once you’ve removed any screws and stoppers, remove your drawer completely.
For side mount glides, slowly pull the drawer towards you while keeping it in a horizontal position. You may need to tilt it slightly up or down once it comes to the end of the track to wiggle it free.
For undermount glides, life upwards to detach it from the track.
Different types of drawer hardware require different methods for removing them. Once you have found out that your drawer glides have no levers, doing a little research on how to properly remove them can make this task quite simple.