Door And Drawer Pulls

I turned a batch of sixty or so pulls for all the doors and drawers. As I don't do a lot of turning I find it important to really standardise and repeat each action. I find the sizing tool from Craft Supplies invaluable and have at least two set to the relevant diameters to get them spot on. A piece of hardboard with the profile on one side, and the positions for marking the major cuts on the other, is also very helpful.

I always do extras for matching — and insurance.This leaves me with a box full of odd pulls which have been very useful over the years for pieces requiring only one or two.

"The open-fronted desks have a false drawer front made of a 50mm by 19mm frame of walnut with a floating flush panel of burr to match the cupboard doors"

far left: Cramping the plinth, which is biscuit jointed and clamped with a strap clamp left! Hand planing the door panel fieldings the plinth is made, to be fitted between the sides below the base, using biscuits.

All the pieces are then finished, glued, and clamped, checked for square, and left to set. The back is glued in all round for strength and the top biscuited flush down on to the sides. The pre-prepared plinth piece is then screwed and glued to the front.

False drawer fronts

The open-fronted desks have a false drawer front made of a 50mm by 19mm (2in by 3/in) frame of walnut with a floating flush panel of burr to match the cupboard doors. The burr panel is rebated, and let into a slot in the frame with a slight clearance gap at the edge, to look like a drawer - drawer pulls are also fitted.

This complete assembly is then screwed to the sides and top between the pedestals, from the inside rear.


Now that all the cupboards are made, check the front opening measurements and make the doors. All twelve are the same height with the four centre cupboard doors only differing in width, which gives plenty of repeat cuts. The frames are made first - all the stiles and rails are dimensioned and the mortices and tenons cut. It is important with this number of repeats to get the mortices positioned correctly and the tenons exact, straight off the saw. The tenons' shoulders are cut on the radial arm saw, using the negative rake blade, and the cheeks are cut on the band-saw.

A slot is cut on the inside edges to take the fielded burr panels, and the inside edges of the frame's pieces are finished.

The burr panels are removed from the conditioner, cut to size, and fielded using a vertical profile cutter. Again, I found that there was plenty of use from each setting and the results were good, needing minimal hand-planing and sanding to finish the job.

The panel faces are finished and the doors assembled, glued and clamped, checked for square and wind, and left to set.

Fitting doors

Once set, the faces of the frames are finished, and the completed doors are matched, paired, and marked. Then each one is fitted to its opening, leaving about 1mm (Ksin) clearance all round - this is finally adjusted to 2mm (%in) on final fitting.

The hinges are recessed into the frame only, and not the carcass side, which leaves a neater line. As they are all the same height, a simple jig can be made to position the hinge where it is scribed round with a scalpel. The router fence and depth can be set to take out the majority of the waste, and the recesses squared below: a finished off with a sharp chisel. door

far left: Cramping the plinth, which is biscuit jointed and clamped with a strap clamp

RIGHT: Marking hinge positions using hardboard rod

FAR right: Fitting a door using a 2mm steel rule for clearance

RIGHT: Marking hinge positions using hardboard rod

FAR right: Fitting a door using a 2mm steel rule for clearance

The brass butt hinges are cleaned and polished on the visible faces to take out the machine marks, and screwed into the recess. I send thanks to the inventor of the Axminster self-centring hinge pilot drill - a terrific buy at a couple of quid - and, of course, my power screwdriver.

Another simple hardboard jig can be made to mark the approximate height of the hinges on the inside face of the cupboard, and a cutting gauge can be used to scribe the screw line. The doors are held at the correct height by a metal rule wedged as a spacer underneath them.

The screw line is centred in the hinge screw hole and the self-centring


All the pieces for the drawers are cut to size, fitted and marked.The fronts are made from 22mm (%ln) walnut, the carcasses from I Omm (%in) oak, and the bases from 5mm (%;in) oak-faced MDF. The sides are slotted for the bases, taped together in double pairs with the top one marked out, and the pins cut on the bandsaw.

The fronts and backs are marked one at a time from the pins, and the majority of the waste removed with a router. Each joint is then individually finished with a sharp chisel. The drawer is then assembled, with the MDF base glued in all round and pinned at the back, checked for square and wind, and left to set.

Before assembling the top drawers, the locks are fitted to the fronts, for ease of working - the locks are positioned and the hole for the key pin-marked in the centre of the drawer at the correct height and drilled through. The key-hole in my locks was not central so that the lock body was offset. The locks are marked upside down, the recess routed out leaving a shallow shoulder for the screws, then finished by hand, and fitted.

The escutcheon is positioned over the pilot hole, and tapped smartly with a small hammer, to leave an imprint on the wood. The keyhole is cut to this imprint with a chisel, a thin touch of Araldite is applied to the hole, and the escutcheon is tapped home.

The drawers are then fitted and clearly marked on the back to identify their position and which desk they belong to. Bright steel supports, 16mm by 3mm (% by >ain), are fitted to the deep file drawers to carry suspended files.

i'« Walnut veneered MDF

fills the gap between the frame and the panel.


I chose a danish oil finish to really enhance the walnut and burr elm -and its renewability would be useful in an office environment.

Carefully check for glue marks and finally hand sand everything down to 320 grit. Then apply a liberally first coat of oil, and renew it every hour or so for a day, until the wood will take no more. The porous burr takes a lot more than the close-grained walnut. Remove all surplus oil, to prevent any build up on the surface, and leave it to dry and harden, in a warm dry workshop, for 24 hours.

This surface is cut back by hand with 320 grit, followed by a pilot drill used to drill one pilot hole in each hinge. The screw is driven home and the door checked for fit, adjustments are made, the remaining holes drilled, and the screws are driven in.

Brass double ball catches are fitted to the doors - which is easier on the pedestals that have no tops - you can get your hand in to hold them in position. Not so on the centre cupboards - they have to be carefully measured. The spring loading on the balls is adjusted to get a satisfying 'clunk'.

Thai assembly

At this point the desks are trial-assembled, one at a time, on a level platform on the floor of the workshop - use a piece of 2438mm by 1219mm by 25mm (8ft by 4ft by lin) MDF checked flat and levelled with wedges. All final tests and adjustments can now be made.

The tops are attached using screws through slots in the top rails of the pedestals. The centre cupboards and false drawer fronts are screwed through from the inside to the pedestal side frames. A fillet on the back edge of the centre cupboards

Solid front

Solid frame

Veneered edges

Groove for base

I MDF base

Frame and panel doors

Rebated tongue

Pedestal carcass

Biscuit jointed plinth

Housing for top frame

Centre cupboard carcass

Stopped housing

Rebated tongue

Pedestal carcass

Biscuit jointed plinth

Frame and panel doors

Stopped housing

Housing for top frame

Centre cupboard carcass

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  • adrian mcintosh
    Which side hardboard carcase backing?
    8 years ago

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