When you try to override stuck and force something into alignment, you risk greater damage to the entire structure and its contents.
Fifteen years ago, I bought a Linear Custom Cabinet from Room and Board. It’s a well-constructed piece of furniture, made of cherry wood and stainless steel. It has 4 drawers across the top and 2 double-door cabinets below. And it holds a lot of stuff.
The drawer on the far left drawer sticks. It looks like the screw that holds the rail in place for the drawer is not laying flush. The result is that when I closer the drawer, it reaches a certain point and then gets stuck.
To close it, I must rattle it around to get it past the obstacle. Usually this happens fairly easily. I move it around and it closes fine. Sometimes I need to use a little more force. And sometimes, it closes without incident. I haven’t called anyone to fix the problem because it felt like a minor nuisance.
Today, it became a major nuisance. I couldn’t get the drawer to close. I removed the drawer completely and tried to adjust the screw, but I couldn’t fix it with a regular screwdriver. Finally, I slammed it with so much force that it closed all the way.
Meanwhile, I noticed that the shelf in the cabinet below is tilted. One of the support pins that holds up the shelf is bent out of shape, so the shelf cannot rest flush on it.
I removed some items to lighten the load on that shelf, and tightened the pin. It looked like that might solve the problem, but almost instantly the shelf tilted again.
Wanna guess which support pin is weak? The left one. Right below the faulty drawer.
Everything is Connected
These two problems may appear on the surface like two unrelated issues. And maybe they are.
It’s certainly possible that the support pin holding up the shelf might be failing simply because the load placed on it is too heavy.
And it’s also possible that exerting pressure on the drawer weakened the support structure in the cabinet below, reducing its capacity to hold the heavy load I’ve placed on it.
Structure vs Contents
I’ve been trying to override the sticking point by rattling the drawer or full-out slamming it through the obstacle in its path.
That’s certainly a way to close the drawer.
But is it the most effective way to meet my outcome?
My outcome, the ultimate result I want, is not just to close the drawer, but to take good care of my support structures and the contents within them, and ensure the longevity of both.
You can’t override stuck without causing damage.
Pressure Over Time
This pin supporting the shelf did not suddenly fall out today. It’s likely been weakening slowly over time.
Every time I have to rattle the drawer to force it past the impediment, I send shock waves through left side of the cabinet. That knocks the support pin out of place a little bit.
Over time, this force combines with the weight of the shelf to bend the pin. Now it can’t support the weight being placed on it. The structure is reaching its limits.
This is not necessarily a flaw in the structure itself. Even the most gentle pressure, over time, can weaken a solid structure. A steady stream of water will eventually create a hole in a stone.
How to Strengthen the Support
I can fix the pin holding the shelf so that it can support the weight I’ve placed on it. But that won’t solve the problem completely.
Unless I fix the misalignment with the drawer above, the weakness in the support structure below will return. To fix a problem for good requires solving the cause, not the effect.
I know when something is beyond my capability. This is a job for a handyman with an electric screwdriver. And that’s what I need to do: call in an expert who can fix the weak Support pin holding up the shelf and remove the obstacle in the drawer glide.
Once both of those issues are fixed, I’ll feel the ease of a drawer that closes smoothly and I’ll feel confident that my contents are safe within the structure of the cabinet.
Why am I telling you about my furniture?
- Everything is connected.
- You can’t override stuck.
- Pressure, applied over time, will weaken even the strongest structures.
- Trying to force something that isn’t aligned will weaken the entire structure around it.
- Meeting your immediate goal doesn’t serve you if it doesn’t serve your bigger outcome.
- If you want to fix an issue permanently, you must solve the cause, not the effect.
- Some jobs require an expert with power tools.
You didn’t really think this was about furniture, right? 😉
Are you trying to override stuck or force something to fit when it’s not really aligned? Share in the comments, or connect with me to tell me more.