Drawer Pull Jig
Installing a drawer pull or two is no problem: A couple of measurements take care of it. But for a project with lots of drawers an out-of-line pull would stick out like a Hummer in a lot full of hybrids. Positioning the pull mounting holes with a jig custom-made for the project guarantees uniform placement every time.
The jig consists of only three parts—and for some applications, just two [drawing]. Make the cleat from solid wood to match the thickness of the drawer fronts. For the drill guide and optional backer board, 1⁄4 " plywood or hardboard works well. Cover the back face of the drill guide with painter's tape to prevent marring the finish on the drawer.
The size of the drawer front determines the sizes of the drill guide and backer board. For the Media Cabinet, we matched the drill guide to the width of the drawers. That made it easy to align by matching the edges of the jig to the ends of the drawer fronts For wider drawers size the jig just an inch or so wider than the screw holes in the pull.
To ready the jig for use, draw a centerline on the drill guide and lay out the pull's screw locations from this centerline. Place a piece of painter's tape on the drawer front and mark on it the centerline of the pull. Slip the cleat onto the top of the drawer front and align the centerlines.
There are three types of drawer fronts; each requires a slightly different set of holes in the jig. Let's look at each of these variations of the jig.
For pulls that require pilot holes for wood screws, see photo above, build the jig without the backer board. Lay out the locations of the pilot holes. Then, to prevent drilling through the drawer face, wrap a tape flag around your drill bit to act as a depth stop.
For through holes
Pulls secured from the back by a machine screw require a jig with all three parts. The backer board prevents chip-out as the bit exits the hole. After laying out the shank-hole locations on the jig, clamp or hold the jig securely to the drawer front photo and drill the shank holes.
For false fronts with counterbores
When using pulls secured from the rear of a false drawer front, the head of the machine screw must rest in a counterbore so the false front can be screwed flush to the front of the drawer box. In this situation, you'll need a jig with a counterbore-size hole in the backer board and a screw-shank-size hole in the drill guide.
Lay out the location of the shank holes on the drill guide. But before drilling them, place a scrap between the drill guide and backer board and bore completely through the jig with a 1⁄16 " bit. Then switch to the shank-hole-diameter bit and enlarge the hole in the drill guide only. Next, change to a Forstner or brad-point bit the diameter of the counterbores. Place the spur of the bit on the 1⁄16 " hole in the backer board, drill through the backer only, then toss the scrap away.
To use the jig, place it over the drawer front and drill the holes as shown in photos.