How to Remove Desk Drawers

How to Remove Desk Drawers

For one reason or another, you’ll need to remove your desk drawers at some point. Maybe you’ll be cleaning out your desk or repairing it. You might even be moving it and need to lighten the desk load before transportation.

In each of these cases, your first step will be to remove the drawers. Removing desk drawers is not complicated, however, the process depends on the type of desk and its drawer slides. Let’s look at how to remove desk drawers for the different drawer slide types.

Soft Close Drawers

These drawers are typically a feature of custom and high-end desks. They are nothing like the traditional rails and rollers. These drawer guides are designed to stop you from shutting the drawers too hard and potentially damaging them. Even if you push the drawer gently, it will slide and close over the last few inches. So, how do you remove soft-close drawers?

  1. Remove contents from the drawer to make the process easy.
  2. Open the drawer as far out as you can. The guides must be fully extended.
  3. Confirm if the drawer guides have a locking lever or a clip. If you see a clip, simply remove it. If you find a lever, push it as you pull the drawer out.
  4. Proceed with pulling the drawer out until it is off the rails. Removing it completely might require you to tilt the drawer downward.

Metal Glides with Levers

These are the most commonly used type of slide. Most likely your desk will have it. Here are the steps to remove these drawers:

  1. Begin with the top drawer, working your way downwards. If you’re planning to remove more than one desk drawer, this rule applies. This way, your desk will not be top-heavy and unbalanced, which can cause it to topple over, resulting in a dangerous scenario. When you start at the top going down it’s easy and safe because the most weight is at the bottom.
  2. While standing in front of your desk, open the drawer as far as possible. Use one hand on each side of the drawer. Keep some space between you and the drawer so that it can open to its natural stopping point.
  3. Find the track levers. They should be in the middle of each drawer track. Depending on your particular desk, they may be straight or curved. Drawer slides with full extension generally have straight levers. The three-quarter slides feature a curved-track lever.
  4. Using both hands, press both levers simultaneously. This is easy if it’s a straight lever. Simply press down as far as possible. A curved lever will require you to press the curved area until it is flat.
  5. Pull the drawer out while holding the levers. You should be able to lift it out easily. After removing the drawer, you’ll see the tracks sticking out at the front. Simply push the tracks back using a straight and parallel motion.

Stabilizer Screws

How do you remove drawers from a wooden desk?

Sometimes desk drawers have stabilizer screws, especially the heavy types of desks. Although they add an extra step to the removal process, these screws come out easily. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Work on the drawers one by one starting from the top moving downwards. Stabilizer screws are typically used on drawers that store heavy contents, so the ‘top to bottom’ process is important. It prevents the desk from being top-heavy and unbalanced. An unstable desk can topple over.
  2. Stand in front of the desk leaving sufficient room for full extension of the drawer. Hold the drawer handle firmly. You can also use both hands to hold each side of the drawer. Stay safe by keeping your fingers clear of the metal tracks.
  3. Pull out the drawer as far as you can. You should feel it hitting the built-in stopper.
  4. Locate the stabilizer screws within the drawer – there are normally two. Remove them using a screwdriver.
  5. Locate the catch tabs on both sides of the drawer. Use your thumb and index finger to pinch the catch tab. This will release the drawer from the side tracks.
  6. Pull out the drawer completely, keeping it straight once it’s out. The drawer may be heavy even though it’s empty, so you should be careful. After removing it, check the side of the drawer for a number –normally on a sticker. This number shows which opening in the desk the drawer belongs to. This will be important when you’re putting the drawers back.
  7. Lastly, push the tracks back in. With a straight and parallel movement, push the center stabilizer track and the two suspension tracks in.

Wood Drawer Slides

How do you unlock drawer slides?

Most of the time, you’ll find wood-drawer slides on old desks. These drawers will need some effort to pull them out.

1. Starting with the top drawer just like the other types, remove the drawers one by one.

2. Pull out the drawer as far as possible. It will stop at the in-built stopping point.

3. Using both your hands and some force, pull the drawer out toward you. If your desk has two sidetracks, the process will be easy. However, if it has one center wooden track, you’ll need to apply more force for it to come out.

What Type of Drawer Slide Do You Have?

The type of slide on your desk doesn’t matter. What matters is that you can remove them. These tips plus a little research on how to remove desk drawers will help you get the job done. After identifying the type of drawer slides on your desk, make sure to follow instructions so that you can easily and quickly remove your drawers.

Anti-Tip Structure

You’ll find the anti-tip mechanism on cheaper desks. These drawers feature cables that prevent you from opening more than one drawer at a time. This keeps the desk from becoming unstable. Follow these steps to remove anti-tip drawers:

  1. Remove the drawers starting from the top working downwards.
  2. Hold the drawer handle and pull it outward until you feel it stop. Make sure your fingers are clear of the drawer’s tracks.
  3. Pull out the drawer completely. The anti-tip cable is located on the back exterior of the drawer. Unscrew it with a screwdriver.
  4. Locate the disconnect tabs and press them down simultaneously as you remove the drawer.
  5. While pressing down the tabs, pull out the drawer while tilting it upward. Mark the numbers on each drawer so that you know which space to put them back in later.
  6. Push back the metal tracks into the desk as they may be sticking out.

What Type of Drawer Slide Do You Have?

The type of slide on your desk doesn’t matter. What matters is that you can remove them. These tips plus a little research on how to remove desk drawers will help you get the job done. After identifying the type of drawer slides on your desk, make sure to follow instructions so that you can easily and quickly remove your drawers.

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