4 Shop-Made Handles

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Shop Handles

Simple and safe techniques for making knobs and pulls

By Jim Harrold

Often taken for granted, well-crafted handles (knobs and pulls) say a lot about a piece of furniture or cabinet, especially handles that both please the eye as an accent and serve their function effectively. Ergonomically, their size and shape for the average drawer must accommodate a child’s small hands, and those of an adult, providing comfort and plenty of purchase. Mechanically, a good knob or pull should open a drawer without separating from it, no matter how much ballast a pack rat has hoarded within. It should never come loose or spin on the door or drawer. And while it takes more time to design and create stylish custom handles, the good news is that shop-made ones give you something unique compared to ho-hum store-bought offerings.

I’ve worked through the safe machining of four very popular handle styles, including a round Shaker knob, an Arts-and-Crafts knob, a coved deskdrawer pull, and a U-shape “wire” pull. As shown here, you can attach them using tenons, wedged tenons, dowels, and screws. I’ll also touch on two quick scaling methods below.

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