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Making Elegant Cherry Wood Cabinet Drawer Pulls
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Classic cherry drawer pulls Cherry drawer pulls give a classic look to projects, but are the most complex pulls to fashion.

This pull is the most complex of the three. To make it, you will need a 3/4"-radius roundover router bit and a 3/4"-diameter core box router bit. The ends are shaped freehand using a stationary sander. If you lack that tool, I’m sure you have other ways to accomplish the task.

For the cherry drawer pull diagrams in PDF format, click here.

Start by choosing some nice wood and cut it into pieces that are 3/4" thick and 3" wide. Make the pieces at least 24" long, and mill enough stock for all the pulls you want, plus 20 percent more for waste. The stock is made wide at first so it’s easier and safer to do the routing as well as easier to sand the profiles. The wide stock also allows for making pulls on both edges, which speeds up the workflow.

Routing finger pull grooves for cherry handles Using a pair of featherboards, make a series of router cuts down to a 5/16" depth to form the finger grooves.

Set up your router table with the core box bit, and rout finger-pull grooves along both edges of the stock.

Shaping outside profiles on cherry drawer pull SHape the outside profiles using a 3/4" radius roundover bit on both sides of the stock with another series of cuts

Switch to the roundover bit, and rout the outside profile of the pull.

Sanding groove with rubber convex sander To sand out the inside of the finger grooves, the author used a large-diamter rubber convex sanding grip, but a correctly sized dowel would work as well.

Sand the finger grooves and the outside roundover edges. Ease the sharp edges. It’s easier to do this sanding now when the stock is long.

Ripping cherry drawer pull strips Rip the pull stock off the larger blank with the pieces at 1" wide, use the saw's splitter/guard and a push stick.

Once the sanding is wrapped up, rip the pulls to width on a table saw. Using a sharp, quality saw blade makes a big difference. I used my new Infinity brand Super General blade, and it did the trick nicely. I set up the cut so the pull stock falls to the outside of the saw blade. It’s not as fast a setup as making the cut between the blade and fence, but due to the shape of this pull, it’s a safer approach. I used a miter saw to cut the pulls to their 4" length. This is way too short to hold the stock by hand and safely make the cuts. So, to secure the pull stock while cutting, I used a “spring-loaded” hold-down made from a 1/4" x 3/4" piece of maple which I clamped on top of blocks in front of my saw.

Sanding end shape on cherry pull Sand the end shapes on the pulls following the layout lines, start by using 120-grit and finish it off with 320.

Your next task is to sand and shape the pull ends. The end shape of this pull is a complex curve. Draw guide marks on the ends of the pulls to indicate the peak and end points of the curve. Sand the shapes freehand using a stationary belt or disc sander. Start with 120-grit and rough out the curves. Change to 320-grit and finish-sand the shapes. I’ve found this sequence gives me the finished results I want with the least amount of work.

Drilling pilot holes in the cherry drawer pull Drill the pilot holes for your screws, using a drill press along with a fence, support block and stop to control the drilling precisely.

Drill the screw pilot holes. One thing I’ve learned the hard way is that these pilot holes must all be drilled relative to one end. In other words, set up the drill press stop on the right, drill all of the left holes, then move the stop leftward and drill all of the right holes. This makes the hole spread consistent from pull to pull, regardless of each pull’s actual length.

I mount these pulls with #6 x 1-1⁄4" flathead screws. A 7/64"-diameter pilot hole is a good size for that screw. Drill test holes and mount the first pull to make sure the screws don’t strip out or split the pull. Adjust the hole size if necessary.

Flap sander mounted on drill press With a flap sander mounted on a slow running drill press, sand off the edges of the pull's groove end, the author suggests worn sandpaper for better control.

The last step is to ease the sharp edges of the pull ends. I find a drill press-mounted flap sander is the fastest way to do this. For this cherry pull, I only slightly round over the edges of the finger-groove ends so they feel nice, but I leave the hard-line topside curved edges. Apply your favorite finish, and these pulls are ready to install.

posted on June 1, 2009 by Bruce Kieffer
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