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Thread: Advice on reinforcing cabinet drawer rails (after I failed to do it right)

  1. #1

    Advice on reinforcing cabinet drawer rails (after I failed to do it right)

    Greetings Folks!

    I am hoping I can get some advice from you all on the best way to go about reinforcing the drawer rails on my kitchen cabinets.

    Here's the scenario: I live in a housing co-op townhouse, and when we moved in the place had just been renovated. New carpet, paint, new bathroom, and new Kitchen. Sounds great right? only one problem. The cabinets they used for the kitchen are such poor quality that other new residents like myself found that the drawer rails for the roll-out drawers can't actually take any weight and rip out of the MDF. So people have these things collapsing and breaking their belongings in the process.

    I am looking to avoid that and want to reinforce the rails if I can. They are each mounted with a pair of short (slightly shorter than 5/8") "Euro screws" the blunt nosed guys. This is all pre-fab stuff, the typical melamine faced mdf (also about 5/8" in width) and the rails are the skinny guys20190602_180006[1].jpg

    So I thought I'd just add some wood screws and maybe that would solve the problem... Then I made the mistake of overthinking and under-researching the whole thing.
    I was convinced to fill the holes that the euro screws had been in (toothpicks and wood-glue mixed with fine sawdust) then drill out to the original size so they would have the same amount of bite when they first went in. However there was a problem with that idea. Now those screws aren't sitting flush anymore and the wheel of the drawer-side rail hits them... Wait though, it gets better.

    I figured, well I can use some wood screws in those extra holes in the rails to help with the hold. But the wood screws won't screw flush enough to allow the drawer rails to pass, same as the euro screws... To top it all off I decided to try using an adhesive on the rails to help with the not falling apart under the weight of loaded drawers... problem with that is it held on some of the rails, and not on others.

    The adhesive I used was the Gorilla epoxy.

    So now I have some rails sticking to the cabinet walls with just the epoxy, like the pic above and others that didn't stick at all, euro-screws that won't seat flush, and the wood screws I intended to use not seating flush either... and a bunch of epoxy that cured to the walls, but not to the rails.

    So now that I have laid my amateurish attempts at reinforcing the cabinet rails for you all to see, do you have any suggestions on how I can make this right? Just so you know, throwing the cabinet out altogether is not an option.

    All other advice is welcome!



  2. #2
    Can you get in there with a small router?

    I'm thinking maybe you could remove the rails, route the area out, then glue-in some 1/2" deep strips of Maple.
    Then sand flush & reattach the rails.

    But jeez, what a job if there isn't a lot of access room.

    Simpler might be to use a hole saw, then glue Maple circles, wherever the screws go.

    As for cleaning the glue you already used, I have no good suggestion since we can't see it, but the best recourse will probably involve heat. (And a chisel? Orbital sander?)

    Or just buy better rails.

  3. #3
    Greetings Allan

    Thanks for the feedback! There isn't a lot of room unfortunately due to the cam-locked crosspieces about mid-height that it uses to pull the walls together.
    Pretty sure my skills aren't up to managing a router in that space lol. Any suggestions of a better adhesive to use with the metal rails and melamine surface? I was starting to consider JB Weld.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    1.5 hrs north of San Francisco, CA
    It is difficult to get a good adhesive bond to Melamine. In addition to other suggestions, if you still want to use adhesive, roughen the melamine surface. Coarse sandpaper is a minimum. Deep scores with a utility knife or chisel is better.

    Epoxy is best, but gluing the rails is the least forgiving, as you get no do-offers or future repairs without potentially destroying the cabinet.

    I like Allan's suggestion to drill a moderate-sized hole the size of a large dowel -- much larger than the screw, but still hidden by the drawer slide/guide -- maybe 1/2" to 3/4". Glue a hardwood dowel plug into the hole, cut it flush, and then screw your drawer guide into that new surface.

    Your current epoxy may simply pop off the Melamine with a sharp blow along the surface of the Melamine. Glues typically don't adhere well to Melamine.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Northern Michigan
    The way those slides work there is nothing underneath them in the way. The reason they fail is vertical force, not lateral. So if you eliminate the vertical loading the screws will not pull out. My first solution would be to burn the junk cabinets and start over but as that is not an option I would try wood strips glued to the cabinet side under the slide. Cut the strip about 7/16 and first lightly clamp it to the bottom of the slide to hold it in place so you can put just three screws in it. Find some Kangaroo Glue, it is made for Melamine and will hold more than enough, holds very well actually. I do not use melamine any more but still keep it around for prefinished panels as it holds well with that as well.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    One thing I noticed from your photo. There is not a screw in the top part of the guide above the roller. When the drawer is opened and closed there is a lot of twisting load at that point. Definitely go in and put a screw in that position. Drilling and glueing dowels in is as good a fix as any.

  7. #7
    Looks to me like there are enough unused countersunk holes to just add more screws.

    You would need to get proper screws that fit into the countersinks. Try this place:

    Last edited by Bradley Gray; 06-03-2019 at 9:26 AM.

  8. #8
    The reason they fail is the manufacturer is using the wrong screw. 5mm Euro screws don't work in MDF.

    Looks to me like there are other holes you can use. Combined with a permanent type double back tape I think will solve our issue.

    Or you can drill out the damaged screw area and glue in a dowel, flush the dowel up, then put a standard #6 drawer screw into that. Use a forstner bit to get a flat bottomed hole and a good sized dowel like 1/2". I recommend a Vix bit to drill the hole for the screw.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    McKean, PA
    It is a simple fix. Now that you have holes drilled. Just counter sink the cabinet slightly so the base of the screw head can go past the surface of the cabinet. Don't get carried away with the countersink. You need just enough to let the screw set flush. Use the longest screws that will not penetrate into the adjacent cabinet. I would put a screw in every single hole.
    Lee Schierer
    Captain USNR(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Northern Michigan
    You can always raise the slide on both the cabinet and the drawer if they are not the type that hook under the drawer.

  11. #11
    Thank you guys for all the advice! This is great! I've copied all of your suggestions into a word doc for reference.

    So... What I did was to use a small forstner bit and drill out the original holes. Used the glue-dust and put dowels in and then sanded them flush. I've re-mounted the rails and they are nicely solid, but I am at a loss. Although they are mounted right where they had been the first time (I marked the rail locations so as to get them back to their starting positions) the drawers don't match up now.

    Why the heck that has happened I don't know. I don't suppose you guys have suggestions about that do you?


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    N.E. Ohio
    Step up a size in the length of the slides - or - glue/screw a mounting hardwood mounting block on the back face of the cabinet block& add these back braces to them.
    My granddad always said, :As one door closes, another opens".
    Wonderful man, terrible cabinet maker...

  13. #13
    Thank you Rich! I appreciate the advice!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Why they don't line up, if you did not mix up the drawers then you did not work accurately enough.

    I still like the wood supports under the guides. It is quick and low risk. You can do it as a preventative for yourself and your neighbors. One piece 4" long installed under the front of the guide is enough. Predrill and countersink for 2 or 3 screws. To clamp it in place make a stick the right length to jam against the opposite side.

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