Lee Valley drawer divider thingys, how to install?

marti8aOctober 18, 2012

I thought I read here that some of you just pressed them into the sides of the drawers. I tried that and they won't go in at all. Tried lightly tapping with hammer and that seems to be bending the little prongs on the things. So now what?

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Depending on what your draw sides are made of it might take more than a bit of tapping. Particle board can be kind of dense. If you do tap, I would suggest putting a small piece of wood in there to fill the slot and tap on that. If you have a vise, again fill the slot with wood, and press the divider into place.

You could lightly tap to mark the locations of the "teeth" and then use a sharp utility knife to cut a slot. Or perhaps a very small drill bit and drill a few holes.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 11:41PM
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We used them in our buffet cabinet. I remember DH saying it wasn't that easy tapping them into the drawers here as well.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 12:18AM
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Where do you buy the wood to use as the dividers. In previous messages, some people mentioned Lowes, but I've never seen wood already cut in strips (lattice strips?). Or do you have thin wood (?) cut into the correctly sized strips?


    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 12:18AM
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It wasn't easy and I had the same problem (bending the prongs). Ended up filling the slot with scrap wood as mentioned and that worked a little better. There is no way I was going to try to make slits or pre-drill (too many holes)!

You can get the proper thickness board at Lowes but will have to cut to size as it comes in a 2 ft x 2ft piece (or 3 x 3??).

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 7:23AM
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Some people choose to line the inside of the box with the 1/4" plywood. I'm not sure if or how the boards are attached. (Pic in thread below.) In any case, the prongs go into the plywood like butter. I skipped lining the box and just tapped the bracket lightly with a hammer directly into the solid wood drawer box. A couple of the brackets got slightly bent (not the prong part, though), but still work fine for holding the plywood boards in place. I'm sorry you're having trouble with this!

blubird, years ago bob_cville posted (see thread below) that 1/4x2x? plywood (called project board) is available at Lowes near the trim aisle. I can't confirm, as a guy at HD cut a large scrap piece of 1/4" plywood into 2" strips for me, no charge for labor or materials. Very kind!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Old drawer insert thread

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 8:25AM
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Thanks, I'll try using the clamps to push them in. My drawers are plywood, but older so maybe that makes a difference.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 9:03AM
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The boards I've referred to are 1/4" thick by 4 inches wide, by either 2 feet or 4 feet long. I haven't looked for them in Lowe's for some time, but they are listed on Lowes.com

If the Lowe's employee cannot help you find them based on the description of "1/4 inch thick poplar project board" (which is not too surprising, since I've found it rare that the employees there are ever helpful or knowledgeable, perhaps providing them with the Lowe's product number will allow them to look it up and then direct you to where it is.


    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 11:42AM
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I bought it in the board section at Lowe's, at the end. It's also called "craft board". They're just strips starting at about 3/8" x 12" and go up.

I haven't installed mine, either, because I've been afraid of trying to force them into the hard wood of the drawers. I was thinking of lining the drawers with that craft board I already have, tapping them into that.

We'll see. Another project.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 1:17PM
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Did any of you have to cut off the ends of the metal dividers? They are a little too tall for my drawers. The drawers still shut, but it doesn't look great.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 11:10AM
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Oh, too bad that they don't fit right! (To answer your question: no, I didn't have to cut them down. I have 1/2" clearance from the top of the divider to the top of the drawer box on my shallowest drawers.)

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 1:02PM
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Marti8a, I am jealous !! You are ahead of me on drawer insert installation. We don't go back down to the house until November. But then, I have until March to finish up my loooong list of projects. Thank goodness. Last winter we perfected the Pina Colada recipe in the Vitamix. This winter I vow to be more productive !!

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 1:34PM
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I used a hammer to tap them in-- I definitely did have to hammer, but they didn't bend. Got the wood cut to exact lengths at Lowe's-- I was advised not to use poplar, FYI.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 3:30PM
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That's so funny angela. For the past few weeks without water or counters I've gotten really good at smoothies and have perfected strawberry lemonade.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 5:14PM
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I was just going through the Joanne's wood products and saw they have balsa wood in 3" high size in 36" lengths. You could do the sides in balsa yourself and save on width loss. Plus, it should be really easy to insert the Lee Valley holders. As long as you get the balsa sides in fairly tight, the grid of drawer dividers should be secure, without having to pound into your drawer sides.

Here is a link that might be useful: 3

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 9:45AM
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For the silverware section I used partitions that were less tall than the Lee Valley drawer dividers. I used a tin-snips to cut those dividers shorter, and it worked fine, and looks better than it otherwise would have. As long as you don't cut off so much that you remove the prongs on the back of the dividers you should be fine.

waterdamage, I'm curious as to what rationale they gave for not using poplar.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 11:52AM
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Thanks bob-cville, I'll try that. I thought about tin snips but was afraid I'd bend the metal so the wood wouldn't slide in. I decided to use the poplar around the sides too because it was easier to get the dividers in them than in the drawer sides, and I used the full 4 inch size there. I can always run them through the table saw later I guess.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 12:07PM
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My memory is that they said it would turn an ugly color and was more likely to warp than whatever was the next most expensive craft wood. It's been a few years, though.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 4:09PM
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bob cvlle, did you use special tin snips? I tried to cut mine this morning and couldn't even dent the things with my tin snips.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 11:16AM
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Never mind, I finally found a pair of tin snips that would do the trick.

Just some advice in case anyone ever stumbles across this thread with the same problem:

1) If you haven't already bought the divider tracks and your drawer sides are under 4", FIND ANOTHER SOLUTION! I think I could have made drawer dividers out of wood easier than cutting these things down.

2) If you have already bought the things, cut them BEFORE attaching them to the boards.

  • One end of the things has longer extension and if you only have to cut 1/8" or so and you cut the short end, you'll cut one of the sharp prongs off.

  • Put them in a vise if you have one. It will keep the metal thing from twisting and cutting crooked when you make the cut if you have to use both hands on the tin snips like I did.

  • If you don't have a vise, put one end of the metal thing under a heavy object. If you can cut with one hand, use pliers to hold the thing

  • The tin snips bend the end a little. Use regular pliers in one hand to hold the thing and needle nose pliers in the other to straighten the end. If not, and they slip, those prongs can puncture your thumb faster than you can say OUCH! And then it's hard to cut the rest of them.

  • This probably goes without saying, but put all the cut ends down because they are sharp.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 5:21PM
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