Unstick stuck doors, windows, and drawers

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I just use the stub of an old candle.


I remember my dad asking for a crayon to use for this purpose when I was little.
(edit) What is sad is that we are all now used to crappy stamped tracks held in with two wood screws into particle board, expected Ikea lifetime of maybe five years.


Yah you can buy new ones.

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And since this “door ease” product isn’t available outside of the US of A, that’s what I’m a gonna do. Fucking Americans. Always get the cool wax.


Use a bar of soap!


As noted by others, MANY waxy objects will work just fine (a candle and crayon or mentioned), as well as soap, but what I don’t see mentioned is using a very soft pencil lead and “coloring” the rubbing spot thoroughly. Graphite works quite well.

I haven’t tried either but I’m told both chalk and talc can work, as well.


Not any chalk. There is stuff called French Chalk that works as a dry lubricant. You keep some for your slide-rule. It’s a sort of talc.


If you want to go hightech, you can go to the workshop and borrow a bit of a Boelube solid lubricant you use for thread cutting and drilling. Though it is a bit of an overkill here.

Other possibilities are solid lubricants based as well. Tungsten disulfide, molybdene disulfide, already mentioned graphite, or hexagonal boron nitride will all do a decent job. Teflon-based lubricants will work too. In small amounts they can be obtained as supplies for pinewood derby.

If you are an astronaut, avoid graphite. The flakes will float in zero-g and settle in instruments, and it loses lubricating properties in vacuum. Also avoid graphite on aluminium or stainless parts, it will promote galvanic corrosion.

In a common household a candle wax or soap will work. If the substrate is porous (e.g. wood) you can heat it with a torch (careful!) or a hot air gun or a clothes-iron (or so) to soak the wax in for longer lifetime.


Also it’s conductive enough to cause shorts. During one or another of our Middle East adventures, I vaguely recall the media making much of a bomb that knocked out power infrastructure without collateral damage, widely and breathlessly reported to be some sort of electromagnetic pulse weapon, which turned out to be no more than a small airburst charge in the middle of a can of powdered graphite.


Hence the settling in instruments.

Powdered graphite wouldn’t do much more than dirt and annoyance and minor localized damage. They used carbon fibers, long conductive paths. These, when they get in touch with high voltage installation (power plant, substation, power line…), work as hints for the current to go and make a minilightning.

Sometimes the damage can be great and the transformers burn and switches explode, a hard kill. Sometimes it is just upsetting the breakers and a HV line is down until a crew is dispatched and sweeps the hanging fibers; a soft kill, like a temporary denial of service. Annoying in either case.

See here how some Russian kids short a power line for fun and giggles. Notice the orange cloud of N2O4. Same effect that makes those orange-brown clouds in atmospheric nuke tests.

Same principle but only one wire instead of many carbon fibers.
The line breakers open, then automatically reclose after a while, and if they get triggered again within a time limit, they won’t close automatically anymore and they have to be closed manually after the line is inspected.

Another one here; in the beginning you can see the fishing line used to pull the conductive wire over the power line. A sustained inter-phase arc is there as a bonus.

Random thought… could this “graphite fiber bomb” weapon be improvised as a shotgun shell? Carbon fibers are available off the shelf, the problem is how to get them to uncoil to long straight lines. Maybe unequal weights at the ends, and coiling around some sort of friable or easily burnable mandrel?

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Dude, we’ve got this in CA…

Though I suppose with the interwebz, anyone can buy it online…


There are so many great tricks to solve problems that occur once in a blue moon.

I am positive that I will not remember nine months from now, “oh yeah, there was that story at BoingBoing about Door Ease” and whatever is stuck will continue to stick. Sigh

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Remember just that trick with a candle. That should be enough to get you through the bumps.


You can sputter some molybdenum disulphide on your drawer runners. You are going to need a vacuum rig that takes your kitchen draw runners, and a good electron beam source. But it works in vacuum:. ask any spaceman. Oh, it’s space, so you can’t, but it is still true. Teflon is not so good as it has a phase change at higher temperatures.

This is all good urban legend territory, like how NASA invented non-stick pans, or how the Russians used pincils instead of million-dollar ‘space pens’ (they didn’t because of the short circuit possibilities of graphite shavings).

Ah, so you’re saying that the Russians spent millions developing a space pencil?

Beeswax is traditional for unsticking sliding wood joints.

Go for magnetron sputtering, it’s easier for a beginner.

Or use a thicker layer of sintered composite of a metal and a solid lubricant. This will have the major advantage of way higher wear tolerance.

Not really.

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