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What is the Function of These Dividers?
Old 01-27-2013, 12:23 PM   #1
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What is the Function of These Dividers?

Hi Guys,

Here is Lena's dresser with the drawers removed:

CardboardBetweenDrawers.jpg

The arrows point to thick cardboard that divides the space between the different levels of drawers.

That cardboard is just beginning to get a musty smell. I could paint it, but it would be easier just to remove it.

But before I do, I want to understand why it's there. Does it provide structural integrity? Does it prevent drawer contents from preventing a drawer from opening? Does it just make the dresser look like it's more expensive?

Thanks,

- Al
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:30 PM   #2
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Hi Al! Good to see a post from you. I hope you and Lena are happy and doing well.

I'm not sure what they are for, although I am sure others will come along with the answer. Off the top of my head, I'd guess these cardboard thingies would keep excess stuff in the lower drawer from jamming the upper drawer, maybe?
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:35 PM   #3
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Or . . . if excess stuff falls out of the back of the drawer it drops down so the drawer can't close. At a minimum, it keeps stuff in one drawer from getting to the other drawer.

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Old 01-27-2013, 12:40 PM   #4
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Intended to keep dust from the goods.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:44 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
But before I do, I want to understand why it's there. Does it provide structural integrity? Does it prevent drawer contents from preventing a drawer from opening? Does it just make the dresser look like it's more expensive?
Al, great to hear from you.
I vote for B) Prevents contents of the drawer from jamming against the front rail when the drawer is opened. If the dividers were hardboard (e.g. like Masonite) they might be structural, (to prevent racking, like the backs on those $99 particleboard bookcases), but there would need to be just one of them.

Maybe leave 'em in place and hit them with a light spritz of boric acid or Borax solution to keep the mold from feasting on the cellulose in the paper? It'll stay in the cardboard and keep the mold at bay.
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:17 PM   #6
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One argument against B is that there is a divider under the lowest level of drawers.

The dust containment idea sounds feasible.
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:27 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
One argument against B is that there is a divider under the lowest level of drawers.

The dust containment idea sounds feasible.
+2 on dust containment. Replace with fiber board.
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:31 PM   #8
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+2 on dust containment. Replace with fiber board.
Another thing you could try is to just remove them and see what happens. You could always replace with fiber board later, if there are any bad effects from removing them.
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:43 PM   #9
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:46 PM   #10
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You've already gotten good answers, so nice to hear from you!
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:53 PM   #11
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When I saw the avatar, I thought I'd clicked on an old thread!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
One argument against B is that there is a divider under the lowest level of drawers.

The dust containment idea sounds feasible.
Would also keep stuff in the lowest level from falling onto the floor and behind the dresser. It would be more obvious if it was on the cardboard - when you try to close the drawer, it would not close all the way. Pull out the drawer and retrieve the errant thing.

I'd also consider replacing them with something that is mold resistant. Plastic sheeting? Would that foam-core poster board stuff fit?

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Old 01-27-2013, 01:54 PM   #12
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They are dust panels, older chests had them of thin wood as opposed to cardboard.
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:57 PM   #13
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Keeps the mice confined to a single layer of drawers.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:18 PM   #14
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It keeps the drawers from getting stuck. Without it, if you mash stuff down into the drawer and then shut it (who, me?) the stuff can pop up when the drawer is shut and jam between the drawer edge and the frame when you subsequently try to open the drawer. At least that is what happens when I over-stuff a drawer that does not have the dividers. That is my theory.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:30 PM   #15
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We have two dressers similar to yours. One has 4 drawers where top level has a divider (wood) using wood rails and all the drawers slide easily.The other dresser has no dividers and uses metal middle rails & wood side rails and all the drawers stick both ways (I need to wax the side rails). Even though the dividers are made of cardboard, I think each divider adds a small amount of structural strength to each drawer and helps to keep each one square.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:44 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by gsparks2 View Post
It keeps the drawers from getting stuck. Without it, if you mash stuff down into the drawer and then shut it (who, me?) the stuff can pop up when the drawer is shut and jam between the drawer edge and the frame when you subsequently try to open the drawer. At least that is what happens when I over-stuff a drawer that does not have the dividers. That is my theory.
+1
This make the most sense to me.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:00 PM   #17
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Look on the bottom of the drawers. There may be runners that slide on to the guides that you show in your picture.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:29 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by gsparks2 View Post
It keeps the drawers from getting stuck. Without it, if you mash stuff down into the drawer and then shut it (who, me?) the stuff can pop up when the drawer is shut and jam between the drawer edge and the frame when you subsequently try to open the drawer. At least that is what happens when I over-stuff a drawer that does not have the dividers. That is my theory.
+2

I couldn't help noticing this is not the 1st time T-Al got problems with mildew. I guess I should stop complaining about living where the humidity is near 0 almost year round.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:24 PM   #19
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Wow - I visit woodworking sites daily and have built drawer units before and I have never seen cardboard on the rails of drawer units
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:13 PM   #20
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The cardboard isn't on the rails, it's just between the rows of drawers.

I like the dust explanation slightly more than the keep-stuff-from-jamming explanation, but in any case none-of these functions trump having less chance for mold, so the cardboard (thick stuff BTW) is coming out. Lena will just have to deal with having dust on her underwear or having it stuck in the dresser.

With my freakishly sensitive sense of smell I've been occasionally noticing the musty smell. I totally decluttered and sanitized two closets, but I still noticed it. I had checked each drawer like a bloodhound, but it wasn't until I took them out that I found the source, and then even Lena could smell it.

After removing the cardboard, I'll replace the Masonite anti-shear back with plywood, which I will paint with Perma-White. That stuff is amazing. I will also keep the dressers six inches from the walls.

It's a constant battle against mold and rust here.
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