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Vidmar / Lista Cabinet Drawer not opening more than 4"


Jul 31, 2004
Southeast Michigan
The top drawer of one of my vidmar cabinets will not open more than about four or six inches. Usually this means something has jammed against the roof or drawer above it, but I can't find anything. I really don't want to empty out this whole cabinet so that I can shake and kick and slam whatever is causing the jam to loosen up. Does anyone have any ideas based on experience that might provide a little faster and easier repair?
Sometimes slipping in a thin flexible strip of metal will allow you to locate the object. You may then be able to hook it and flip its position. If there is a drawer above it sometimes if you open both you may be able to close the top one while lifting it and pressing down on the bottom one. Then the object can be moved
If it's anything like the Lyon cabinets, start opening the next one below it and then close the top one. Top one should close when the next one is open a few inches. Do that cycle to each successive drawer until you get to the bottom and it should work.
AFAIK, Vidmar drawers are not interlocked, at least mine are not. More than once, I've had to remove the drawer above, but you can't do that. I think the thin flat bar is your best bet. Try lifting the front of the drawer and bouncing it a few times- prob already did that eh??
Grab the handled and shove it back and forth, or to-and-fro, in a sort of cachuga-chuga motion, much like the beat of a Mexican wedding dance song. If 5 or 10 minutes of that don't fix it, time to throw it out and buy a new one.
1. Already done, but something sticking up in the drawer is the common cause.
2. Something sticking up in the next drawer down is the next most common cause.
3. If it's a Lista cabinet you can only open one drawer at a time. You can get around this by opening 2 (or more) drawers at the same time. Once they're a bit open they can move independently. You may need to close them at the same time as well.
4. As you're opening it, stick something long and thin like a large drywall square between the drawers and slide it from one side to the other. If you're being held up by something you'll get stuck on it.
5. If it's stuck at the back of a drawer, you may be able to remove the drawer below it then reach up the back to clear the obstruction.
One classic is when a long thin part drops down one of the holes in an upper drawer, and hangs oon a transverse divider on the next drawer down. You can defeat the lock bar on the newer cabinets by shearing a hook shape on the end of long thin piece of sheet steel. Put a slight angle on it the long way to stiffen it.

Jam a large screwdriver in between drawers to open the space up, and with a flashlight look in, feed the hook until it catches the lock bar edge. Give the bar a sharp pull to the left and the lock bar wil snap open.

That way you can defeat the one drawer only feature, or open a cabinet if it has no key and has 'slam locked.' Most common cause for that is one or more plastic bags that fall down to the bottom and press the lock bar over when the drawer is closed.
I would empty that drawer and then shake it a bit as others have suggested.

If that doesn't work, then remove the draw below it and look for something sticking down.