suggestions for drawer repairs

Some background: My wife's mother died last month and her "new" furniture (as in only 40 years old) and her "old" furniture (as in having belonged to her parents) is going to her granddaughters. The pieces are all "real" wood (no MDF, etc).
The new owners do not want the pieces refinished (they want to retain the character of the pieces), they just want the minimum repairs needed to put the pieces into daily service.
The newer pieces (dresser, chest of drawers) have damaged wooden drawer guides from being 1) overloaded 2) forced past the stops when removed (instead of being tilted up over the stops).
The drawers in the chest have a "T" style guide mounted to the frame with a shallow upside down wooden "U" runner on the bottom of the drawer; a plastic guide that fits the "T" is attached to the back of the drawer. The wooden "T" seems easy enough to reporduce with a table saw and a table-mounted router.
The dresser has a metal guide on the bottom of the drawers and a matching wood runner mounted to the frame - an upside down "U" that's notched on both sides. This piece also looks relatively easy to duplicate, with a roundover on the top edges and shallow blade-width groves in the sides.
Now to the meat of the matter: What's the preferred wood for this type of guide? The local BORG has red oak, but would ash or hard maple be a better choice? The original pieces are attached with a screw at the front and staples or brads at the back (to allow for differences in the wood or just for manufacturing convenience?).
The oldest pieces (vanity, chest of drawers) have no drawer guide mechanism or stops, just wood-on-wood at the edges.
I want to stay reasonably close to the original design in these older pieces, but would like to add a bearing surface to reduce the wear from wood-on-wood contact. Nylon tape and plastic guides (plus some internal flip-down drawer stops for safety) appear to be the easiest solutions that make minimum change to the structure and are not visible in normal use.
The furniture is 2 1/2 hours away from my shop tools, so I prefer "on-site" and/or portable solutions (I have one each of the original drawer guides to work from).
Thanks, John
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SNIP

working with a priceless antique. I know that a lot of that older stuff is head and hands out of the ballpark better than the stuff in stores today, so I wasn't being critical. But this does give a good set of parameters to work in for repair suggestions. No doubt you will have plenty.

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Maple is ideal, hard and tight-grained.

Definetely the later, maybe the former too. It depends on the design and if part spans significantly across grain.

Lee valley sells that stuff, but if the drawers are not suffering from significant drawer-sliding abraision wear (My BIL has a very soft pine with some brutal wear), just some periodic (annually) lubrication may be all you need to limit wear. Wax is what you want. Paste is easy to apply; a candle stub will do just fine in a pinch.
Cheers,
Steve
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<snip>

Most any hardwood will work for the guide. Popular is a good choice as it is inexpensive. Obviously pick stock that is tightly grained wihtout knots. You may even use pallet wood. The BORG's hardwood is very expensive (the highest cost I've ever seen), but you only need a small amount.
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Yeah, it seems like that's what EVERYBODY is using... Actually, I agree that most hardwoods would be fine. I'd personally stay away from Borg hardwoods - even if you can find straight boards, IME they often have checking or warping problems once you cut into them, possibly from hurried drying. I'd probably look for maple, r or w oak, ash, or whatever at a real lumberyard or hardwood dealer. I'm sure poplar would work, but it's softer than many other native (US) hardwoods. Ash is pretty cheap, at least around here (NY). Good luck, Andy
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll start with wax for the wood-on-wood surfaces and see what hardwoods are available locally (Atlanta).
John
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Andy, wrote the following at or about 4/11/2007 11:50 AM:

Of course it is. That's why it's such a poplar choice<g>

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I would consider returning the warn wood to flat and then apply a lining of HDPE with some double stick tape and staples (Be sure to set these slightly below the surface of the plastic.) to reduce the friction and to replace the thickness to the original. In normal service this will never require replacement or lubrication with wax for a lifetime.
As well as being a repair that you will never have to futz with it has the advantage of being very cheap, and very easy.
--

Roger Shoaf

About the time I had mastered getting the toothpaste back in the tube, then
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Thanks to the suggestions from the group, my daughter is quite happy with the way the drawers now fit and work.
I made the replacement pieces from poplar using the measurements of the original pieces, with the replacement pieces being just a touch wider. 30 seconds with a sanding block got each piece to a perfect fit in the guide.
All the wood-to-wood bearing surfaces received a generous coat of wax.
I did add one non-original item on one drawer of the older chest - a couple of flat plastic glides to cover nails that were digging into the bottom of the drawer sides. The thickness of the plastic was a good match for the amount of wood that's been worn away, so the drawer sits close to its orginal position. I'm sure there's a better remedy, but I didn't think of one that I could do on an overnight visit.
John
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