Friday, July 17, 2009

Replacing drawer pulls in one short month

(To anyone who subscribes in a reader and saw the earlier, unfinished version of this post: sorry. Mr. Man threw a fit and knocked the keyboard off the desk, which somehow made it publish too early.)

This project is a month in the making, mostly because it was a huge pain and I really didn't want to deal with it. But having three drawers (I did one before my break) with no pulls was a big pain, too, and I'm trying to get my easier to-do list projects done.

Before: B wanted handles on the drawers, and I had no idea what I wanted. I really should have taken the time and picked something out instead of grabbing the cheapest thing, because putting on different, bigger, handles before I did these really made things more difficult for me. Also, I have a habit of measuring but then somehow drilling the hole a millimeter off of where it should be, so at least one of these was held on by only one screw.

To replace the handles, since the old ones were 3" and the new ones were 2.5", I had to fill the old holes and drill new ones. I took the handles off, squeezed some wood glue in the holes, and shoved toothpicks in there until I couldn't fit any more. It was 3-4 toothpicks per hole to get to that point.

When the glue dries, break the toothpicks off so they are even with the drawer fronts. Sand a little if you've got any points that are sticking up very far above the drawer. Smear some wood filler on there. You should really try and do nice, thin coats, but at this point I actually thought I might still finish this project on the day I started it. Oh, aren't I funny.

After the wood filler is dry, sand and recoat as necessary. Then paint your drawers--I actually had to do three more coats of paint. I drilled my holes by finding the center of the drawer then marking out 1 1/4" on either side of that mark, then using those marks to find where on the drawer I wanted the pull to sit. Not to say that this was foolproof--to double check I marked the back of the screw holes on the pull with lipstick and pressed it over the marks I had made on the drawer, then used that as my mark to drill.

The insides of the drawers are...not pretty. Whoever takes these handles off next will be using a flat bladed screwdriver, it appears. The screws are sticking out because the screws that came with the handles were way too short, by half an inch or more, so I had to use some others that were sitting around. I suppose since this project took me a month I could have gone and bought new screws, but I didn't. Now I don't have flat-bottomed screws that are good for nothing else sitting around.

It's done now, though--and all the handles are on straight and in the right place on the drawer. Yay!

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