Picture of Stripped Knobs And Pulls
It is not fun to deal with knobs and pulls with stripped threads so that the knob or pull come off of the drawer or door when grasped, yet it happens frequently. 

Many at Instructables have dealt with this often in their time. This is for the person who has the problem, but does not know what to do about it.
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: The problem and one solution

Picture of The problem and one solution
The threads strip out in the first 1/8 inch or so of the threaded post on the backside of the knob or pull. Many simply insert part of a paper matchstick into the hole and twist it back onto the screw. This may last for a very short time, but eventually fails.  

Step 2: The real solution

Picture of The real solution
The entire length of the post on drawer hardware is threaded. Push a toothpick into the hole and pinch it with your fingernail to indicate the length of the threaded portion inside the post. The distance from where your fingernail pinches the toothpick to the end of the toothpick is the ideal amount of threads to extend beyond the finished surface of the cabinet wood. You really want to shorten this distance by about a millimeter or two in order to allow a little free space for tightening the knob on the screw. Add to the amount of thread extending beyond the finished wood surface the thickness of the cabinet door or the drawer front. You may also need to add the thickness of a washer. See the next step.  

Step 3: Small head?

Picture of Small head?
The screwhead on the left is the screw removed from the knob or pull. The screw on the right is a standard screw from the hardware store. Notice that its head is smaller than the original screw. Adding a washer gives it better support against the wood on the back side of the door or drawer front and is a good idea, but it also adds a little thickness that needs to be considered in preparing a screw for your knob or pull.
mole13 years ago
Thank You!! I'm not living alone, but we've had two of those electrical tools around forever ... and had no clue those holes were screw cutters.
Phil B (author)  mole13 years ago
Not only do they cut screws, but they preserve the threads pretty much undamaged on the portion you want to use. Thank you for looking and for commenting.
pfred23 years ago
If you don't have that tool to cut screws there is a trick to cutting threads with a hack saw where you pull up on the unsupported end right before you cut through and threads come out so you can use them. In my workshop I usually cut threads straight off, chamfer on a grinder, then wire wheel them myself. But that method does require the most equipment.

I've filled stripped holes with JB Weldit and then redrilled and retapped them. Of course the simplest method is just throw some epoxy in there, put it together and wait for it to dry, but that has its drawbacks if you ever want to disassemble hardware. I've also filled holes with braze, or even weld then done the whole drill tap routine on it. Depends on the situation, what I'm looking for etc. Also I've drilled out plenty then retapped it to the next size up. That is always my first choice for dealing with stripped out stuff because to me it is the best, and easiest fix. But it often isn't an option for a variety of reasons.

I've done as you suggest here and still had blow outs. Some hardware is under sized, and some materials are inferior and having the top stripped out already is just another strike against you sometimes.
Phil B (author)  pfred23 years ago
Thank you for the information on alternatives. So far I have never had stripped threads in the knobs or pulls when I used longer screws. Filling with braze or welding could be possible if one can be certain the melting point of the cabinet hardware is not too low. When I did this, I envisioned the woman who lives alone and may not know about the screw cutting section on a wire stripper. She is in a better position to help herself than she may know.
pfred2 Phil B3 years ago
Those aren't alternatives for stripped pulls necessarily just other stripped things. Ever tried just wrapping the screw with some thin wire and threading it back in? Sort of like a homemade Heli-Coil.
Only you Phil would have thought an Inbl like this, very well done as always.
Thank you for sharing
Thanks, Steli. It seemed to me this is a common problem. The fix is probably obvious to many. But, there may be some, especially younger people out on their own for the first time, who would not think of how to solve the problem, other than bubble gum or cellophane tape. Thanks for looking. I hope all is well with you.