Drilling Your Own Cabinet Hardware (Knobs and Pulls)

Buying new cabinets is an expensive investment to your home. One of the ways to save money is to purchase and install your own knobs or pulls. Knobs and pull handles are a great idea for cabinetry. It will extend the live of your finish by avoiding all the oil and chemicals from human contact. It is also a must when you have full overlay doors and drawer fronts.

When choosing your new hardware make sure you examine your cabinet doors and drawer fronts. Measure the width of the flat areas on your doors and drawer fronts. Some kitchen layouts have some very small doors or drawer fronts that wide handles may not fit on. So you may want to pick your hardware based on the smallest door or drawer you have. also pay attention to how flat the area is where the base of the knob or pull will sit. Some hardware has really wide bases on them and may hang over into the detail area of the fronts. Also remember to check if the hardware you are going to by has longer screws for the drawers. Most hardware only comes with smaller one inch screws for the doors. So measure the thickness of the doors and drawer fronts including the drawer box to determine you are getting the right screws. These screws can be picked up at almost any home improvement store. Once you have selected your hardware it is time to drill.

The are two ways to drill your doors and drawer fronts. The first is to measure every door and drawer which takes a long time or the other is to by a jig from the store and use it as a template. The second way is much easier, faster and error proof. Unfortunately for the first couple you will have to measure to decide which holes in the template to use.

Drilling the doors

The best method is measure the width of the side rail of the door including the detail and divide that in half to find the center. If you are unsure about your math measure the opposite way after you mark it to insure accuracy. to figure out the vertical placement it is all up to what looks best to you. The standard is 3″ up the upper doors and 3″ down on the base doors. Make sure that you open the door during the drilling process to insure you do not drill the wrong side of the door or you don’t drill into the frame of the cabinet behind the door. Once you drill the first holes then you can find out which holes in the template line up the best. You may have to drill your own hole in the template. For the rest of the doors mark the holes on the door with a pencil using the template. Do not drill through the template. After a couple holes the hole will get bigger in the template and will no longer be accurate.

Drilling the drawer fronts

Drilling the doors are a little harder then the doors but it is doable. First measure the height of the drawer front and divide it in half. Put a pencil mark on the drawer front where the middle will be. Be sure that you do not press to hard with the pencil, you don’t want to put an indentation in the wood. After you find the vertical center than measure the width of the drawer front and divide that in half to mark the center of the front horizontally. If you are drilling a single hole for knobs this is where you will drill. If you are drill 2 holes for a pull you need to measure equal distances left and right to ensure the pull will be center on the drawer front. You may also choose to put 2 pulls on wider drawers if desired. Usually when this is done you try to measure equal distances from both sides. Once you drill your first holes then you can line up the template.


Additional tips

Always use a new sharp drill bit and do not push hard when drill your doors and drawer fronts. If you use a dull drill bit or push while you drill it will blow the back of the wood out and make it look unsightly behind the door or drawer. Make sure to make any cabinet adjustments before drilling your drawers. If you do not the hardware will appear off level and will be hare to adjust later. Always use a drill bit slightly larger than the screw you are using, if the screw does not go in freely it will strip out and break off inside the drawer or door. I usually a 3/16″ drill bit is recommended for the standard 8/32″ screws. If you are uncertain about anything ask someone. Cabinet doors and drawers are very expensive to replace.

2 replies
  1. Emily
    Emily says:

    This was somewhat helpful however painters tape should be applied over the drill hole before drilling to ensure the wood does not split or splinter. There are also a lot of spelling errors in your tutorial.

  2. dining table
    dining table says:

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thanks, However I am having problems with your RSS. I don�t know why I am unable to join it. Is there anyone else getting identical RSS issues? Anyone that knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


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