Stuck Drawers Craftsman tool case

I have an old Craftsman tool chest and the drawers are all stuck. It doesn’t have a lock except for the bottom part.

I want to sell it but first I need to get the drawers open. Does anyone know the trick to get them open??

It sounds like the locking bars are stuck or inoperable. From what I recall, and I’ve owned a few similar boxes, the drawer locks are actuated by lifting and fully sliding in the bottom door. Basically, press the door to the rear and it lifts the locking bars. This is unlike my vintage Mac cabinet that lacks a door and relies on the key to release the locking bars. My Mac top box originally had a locking bar release attached to the lid (I believe), but the stack was probably 30 years old when I bought it in the '90s, so I had to manually unlock the drawers.

Essentially, with these old Craftsman boxes, you get the bottom pivoting lock versus the more complicated top lock of more premium brands of the era. I believe the locking bars rely on gravity, but could very well be wrong as it’s been years since I last used mine.

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If it is empty of tools, sometimes you can turn it over, so it is resting on its top. Then the locking mechanism will fall into the “open” position. Often times there could be a piece of debris in there, or the slides on the drawers are just stuck.

But as described by another commenter, sometimes that bottom door is what is used to lock the drawers closed. If that is the case, then try to open the door and look inside to see if everything inside there is working properly.

Spray some lubricant in all of the moving/working parts.

Hope this helps and keep us informed when you fix it.

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That got it! Once the bottom panel was fully pushed back all drawers opened and I sold it this morning!


Good to hear! I can’t wait to see the condition my tools that have been in storage for the past 11 years are in.