Instructables
Picture of Wooden Knobs

This instructable will show you how to make custom wooden knobs for a fraction of the cost of ugly, plastic store-bought ones. I recently had a need for a few knobs for an adjustable miter fence for my table saw. Rather than buy the plastic ones, I thought I'd make my own - always a better choice!

For each knob, you will need:

  • A scrap of wood - preferably a hardwood like maple, oak,
    mahogany, cherry, hickory, etc.
  • A threaded insert
  • A screw that fits the threaded insert (cut the head off
    the screw)
  • Sanding/shaping tools like a belt sander, wood rasps,
    sandpaper etc.
  • A drill press helps, but is not necessary
 
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Step 1: Find a Blank & Lay Out the Shape

Picture of Find a Blank & Lay Out the Shape

The first step is to identify the blank of wood you will be using. Things to take into consideration are aesthetic quality, grain direction, species, or any blemishes you want to either include or avoid. For a really hard hardwood like maple, the grain direction will not be critical - assuming you won't be really reefing on the knob with all your might. For this Instructable, I am using maple.

Step 2: Drill a Hole For The Threaded Insert

Picture of Drill a Hole For The Threaded Insert

It is easier to install the threaded insert while the blank has square and parallel edges, so next we will drill a hole that will receive the threaded insert. With a hardwood, it is important to size the hole properly for the insert. You can probably look it up, but the hardware store where I got mine has the drill size listed in the bin with the inserts. Carefully lay out the location of the hole and clamp the blank into a drill press vise. Set the depth of the hole based on the dimension of the threaded insert. Just turn on the machine and drill away.

RushFan (author) 9 months ago
@MoserLabs, thanks for the comment! You could easily drill straight through these to provide the 'hole through' design.
MoserLabs9 months ago

Cool 'able! I saw these at Lowes the other day and thought the same thing - I can make these!! I'm always looking for these for the CNC machine to hold stuff down, but more "hole thru" design

RushFan (author) 9 months ago
Matt2 Silver - that is exactly how I used to 'install' them, after the screwdriver failed. Then I saw the light! Thanks!
RushFan (author) 9 months ago
Thanks chaosrob, I appreciate it.
RushFan (author) 9 months ago
Tinpie, thanks for the comment!
tinpie9 months ago

First and foremost, I like your knobs...that said you took way too many chances with your fingers while shaping the profiles...Since you inserted the threaded section first, I would have used a piece of threaded rod with a little lock-tite on it and used the rod as a handle for shaping the wood on the belt sander, also a simple coping saw would have made an excellent cutting tool without the dangers of the wood flying off the tip of a miter saw...I have always told my men...safety first and quality will follow...BE SAFE then sorry...other than that, it looks very nice

chaosrob9 months ago

Nice use of the drill-press to insert the threaded insert. Kudo's to you.

Matt2 Silver9 months ago

I love the drill press tip, I've always installed those threaded inserts by smacking them into place with a soft faced mallet. the drill press is a much more practical solution, thank you :)