How to Make Refrigerator Wood Door Handles




About: Hi Everyone, I'm Jeremy Hoffpauir. I write instructables about unique DIY woodworking and home improvement projects. I use unique design elements with a rustic coastal style in my creations such as epoxy...

Hey Everyone, Jeremy Hoffpauir here. My family and I use our garage refrigerator very often because it holds our water and other drinks. The refrigerator door handle broke a few months ago, so I decided to make a wood door handle for our refrigerator from hard maple.

A refrigerator door handle is made from cheap plastic and break often. This became obvious when I searched for keywords to use in this blog post as there are a few online companies that specialize in custom refrigerator door handles.

I decided to make my own from a scrap piece of hard maple that was leftover from a previous project.

My garage refrigerator is black and it doesn't match with the hard maple too well, but I just can't paint or stain beautiful wood - it's just too painful. I decided to just go with it - after all, the refrigerator is in the garage and it's not the centerpiece of our house.

Things I Used:

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Step 1: Remove Refrigerator Door Handle & Trace

My plastic handle completely broke off the refrigerator. I traced the door handle on top of the hard maple. The hard maple was 2" thick, which made it slightly larger than the original refrigerator door handle (1.75"). I was fine with it being slightly larger.

Next, I traced the refrigerator door handle on top of the maple. The handle was not exactly square on the front because had a rounded face. I had to make certain the pencil didn't slide under the plastic handle.

Step 2: Cut Out Template

I cut out the template on my bandsaw.  A jig saw will work just as well as a bandsaw.  It is important to cut outside the lines.

Step 3: Sand to the Line

I used my disc sander and my spindle sander to sand the handle to the pencil line from earlier. This is why it is important to cut outside the lines in the previous step.

Step 4: Create Lip

The refrigerator door handle has a thin lip, which sits on top of the refrigerator door.  I transferred the length and thickness of this lip to the wood handle with my 12" combination square and 6" combination square.  The refrigerator door handle looks like this - in fact, I believe it is the same one.

Step 5: Cut Hole for Bottom Latch

Next, I measured the dimensions of the handle and transferred the measurement to the wood door handle. The hole was large enough to fit the plastic 'U shaped' piece.

I removed the plastic piece by unscrewing one screw.

Step 6: 2nd Refrigerator Wood Handle

I realized the refrigerator would look silly with one wood door handle and one plastic door handle.  I have a top/bottom freezer/fridge and the handle for the fridge portion broke. Both handles are exactly the same.  The  handle for the freezer simply attaches upside down. Rather than ignoring this, I stopped the project and made another wood door handle from the same piece of scrap wood following the exact process.

Step 7: Transfer Screw Holes

I removed the freezer refrigerator door handle (the one not broken). Next, transferred the screw measurements to the wood handle. I drilled a pilot hole and used a countersink bit to ensure the screw would be flush.

Step 8: Sanding

I organize my sandpaper into a poly organizer, which I HIGHLY recommend if you have lots of sandpaper.   Next, I sanded each piece with 220 grit sandpaper with my orbital sander.  I made sure to sand down each edge to make the wood handle comfortable.

Step 9: Apply Finish

I applied a generous coat of Shellac. Shellac is my favorite finish.  It dries quickly and it brings out the wood grain nicely. I gently sanded each door handle with 1000 grit sandpaper.  I used Acetone to thin the Shellac and applied the final coat.

Step 10: Final Thoughts

Don't forget to watch my YouTube video to see a funny blooper not included in this blog post. The YouTube video can be found here.

I really enjoy projects that are fun and solve problems. The cheap plastic refrigerator door handles cost ~$50.00. The refrigerator wood door handles took a few hours to make!

I hope this project provided you with some value because this is, and always will be, my ultimate goal.

Visit my blog for a FREE set of plans.

Please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel and visiting my website for more projects and other fun stuff. Feel free to contact me anytime if you have any questions. I'm happy to help! Until next time – Imagine…Create…Share

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    4 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I have the same fridge in white. Same stupid handle breaking problem.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    They are made from cheap plastic. The factory replacement is ~$50.00, which is more than what I'm willing to pay for it.