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Thread: Air pressure causing tight drawer resistance

  1. #1

    Air pressure causing tight drawer resistance

    Built April Wilkersonís DIY drill press cart with slideless drawers, to her dimensions. Came out great, however each drawer is totally isolated by its support liner. So when I push in or pull out the drawers, especially the 10x18x19 (HxWxD) drawer, the air resistance in both directions is amazingly strong. Clearance around the drawers is 1/8Ē on sides and top. Found a few tips online but not much: (1) cut a small hole on the back; (2) cut down the rear of the drawer so itís lower than the front; (3) ditto for the sides of the drawer. Iíve done all 3 things on the 10Ē drawer, cut the sides/rear by 1/2Ē and added 3 1.75Ē holes evenly spaced across the rear at the drawerís mid-height. All this had only a marginal impact. Also considered holes in the liners but thatís just going to cause movement in the other drawers and since the drawers rest directly on the liners anyway, any hole will be effectively sealed off. Last thing Iím considering is to cut full-size holes in the rear and cover the mess with a metal screen to help keep dust out. Any other suggestions how to deal with this?

  2. #2
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    Are you sure they aren't hanging up somewhere? 1/8" clearance on the sides and top should be more than enough to prevent airlock. Once the front of the drawer clears the cabinet there should be no more resistance since you cut the backs lower than the front.

    John

  3. #3
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    Can you poke a hole in the back?

  4. #4
    Hi John, 100% sure no hang-ups, I also added slide tape on the bottom to help smoothness. I can feel the rush of air when I open the drawer.

  5. #5
    Hi George, yes I have drilled 3 holes of 1.75Ē each as noted. Definitely helped but appears I need to make a much bigger opening to really get rid of the pressure. When I first built this, the back was not attached. Drawers slid like butter with zero issue.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by James Kirkpatrick View Post
    .....appears I need to make a much bigger opening to really get rid of the pressure. When I first built this, the back was not attached. Drawers slid like butter with zero issue.
    I'm surprised the 3 large holes you made didnt correct this. But I agree with you - if it's not sticking you need more air holes, somehow. I think I would put another row of 3 holes near the bottom. If that doesnt solve it, I think you are back to cutting "full-size holes in the rear and cover the mess with a metal screen to help keep dust out."

    Edit: You could also contact Wilkerson and ask what she did to remedy the problem.
    Last edited by Frederick Skelly; 06-08-2021 at 8:16 PM.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Frederick Skelly View Post
    I'm surprised the 3 large holes you made didnt correct this. But I agree with you - if it's not sticking you need more air holes, somehow. I think I would put another row of 3 holes near the bottom. If that doesnt solve it, I think you are back to cutting "full-size holes in the rear and cover the mess with a metal screen to help keep dust out."

    Edit: You could also contact Wilkerson and ask what she did to remedy the problem.
    Thanks Frederick, I reached out to April but she hasn't responded. She has something like 1.3M followers on YouTube... Like you, I was surprised as well that 3 holes was insufficient. The back now has 6 holes for the 10" drawer, and it's "good enough" at this point but still leaves me wondering. Regarding the other three 4" drawers, they were behaving similarly. I made one modification - cut the drawer rear panel down about 1/4", and that essentially eliminated any issue with those small drawers. I think the reason it didn't do anything for the 10" drawer is because it's so tall - that's a lot of air to push/pull around, and just cutting the back/sides makes a miniscule difference. It's been a fascinating problem, I will remember this with future builds.

  8. #8
    Im glad it's better. Something else just came to mind: you ought to pull out that drawer and hot glue screen over the holes to keep out spiders and other critters. I'd do it from the inside just to make it look a little more finished.

    As a total aside, I got to thinking and looked up some formulas online... If Im doing the math right, the area of the back side of that drawer (pushing the air) is roughly 180 square inches. The area of the original three 1.75" holes is roughly 7 square inches. So maybe we shouldnt have been surprised that 3 holes werent enough.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  9. #9
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    Cutting the back down an inch should do it. Holes seem like a less appropriate solution. A full drawer might block them, and they look curious.

  10. #10
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    For piston fit drawer carcasses I leave a wide slot at the top and bottom of the back panel. This is visually hidden by trim or portions of the carcass frame. This can come up when using web frames with dust panels too. I design in a pathway for the air to avoid one drawer being pushed in making another drawer push out or drawer movement just "feeling" wonky.
    Take me to the hotel - Baggage gone, oh well . . .

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bender View Post
    Cutting the back down an inch should do it. Holes seem like a less appropriate solution. A full drawer might block them, and they look curious.
    Thanks Tom. As explained, I did this (1/2" on back and sides) and it made virtually no difference at all. Since it's a tool cart, aesthetics of the holes are acceptable. I cut a sheet of Lincane aluminum (champagne color) to fit over the holes for dust/chips and to hide the holes. I would rather have wide slots back there but not convenient on a vertical surface with the drill press already mounted.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    For piston fit drawer carcasses I leave a wide slot at the top and bottom of the back panel. This is visually hidden by trim or portions of the carcass frame. This can come up when using web frames with dust panels too. I design in a pathway for the air to avoid one drawer being pushed in making another drawer push out or drawer movement just "feeling" wonky.
    Thanks Glenn, that's exactly what I thought I would hear from more folks. Since the cart is already assembled and drill press mounted, I'm dealing with a vertical surface so it's not too much fun to cut a wide slot now. I could jigsaw it but it will be obvious I did it by hand. I'll noodle on it some more, worst case I'll pull the drill and flip her on her face so I can route out the back panel properly.

  13. #13
    Join Date
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    I am curious to know what eventually solves the problem in case I ever build drawers that tight in this lifetime. I have a goal and a dream, but wow, those are clearly good fitting drawers. Please do keep us updated.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Winners View Post
    I am curious to know what eventually solves the problem in case I ever build drawers that tight in this lifetime. I have a goal and a dream, but wow, those are clearly good fitting drawers. Please do keep us updated.
    Ha! Funny, same reaction I've read in other threads... "drawers must be super tight". Actually - not. As indicated, there's 1/8" around the drawer face (except the bottom since these drawers sit directly on the liner) and you can easily jostle them sideways and up/down with that much clearance. The 10" drawer is the real problem child, there's just a lot of air to move. Last night I finally gave in, and took down the drill press/removed drawers so I could lie the carcass on its face and properly work on the back. I ended up routing out a rectangle about 8x11, centered on the drawer, and now the drawer slides in/out with zero resistance. Not sure how much small I could have went, but there were already 6x1.75" holes so the answer is somewhere in-between I guess. One other thing I may try in the future is to leave a small gap at the rear of the liners so they can draw air from the larger carcass. Some have said it causes other drawers to get pushed in/out so it's not necessarily a panacea either I suppose.

  15. #15
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    Late to the party but what about inserting the round vents like they sometimes use on siding or under the eves? Something like this. I think they are available colored too. It would give a more finished look if it's where it shows.

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Air-Vent...M2MF/308306220

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