You can make your own custom cabinet pulls out of any material you can turn on a lathe. This opens up a world of possibilities into making custom handles that match the wood of your project or accent the project with a totally different type of material in any color and shape your want.
- Turning kit (see blog post for link)
- Turning blanks (wooden or other material)
- Super glue
- Finishing supplies
- Turning tools
- Pen mandrel
- Handle bushings (see blog post for link)
- Tablesaw (only if you need to size your blanks)
If you want a little more detail about the process and links to the tools used then go check out my blog post:
Step 1: Prepare the Turning Blanks
The turning kit contains the metal posts and a brass tube to connect the posts. You provide the wood or other material (could use acrylic, plastic, other) and design and make your own shape.
I used walnut so it would match some other parts of my project. I cut 2 blanks (to make 2 pulls) to 3/4" x 3/4" and 5" long. Drill a 10mm hole through the center of each blank. You can do this with a drill press or mounted on your lathe depending upon what kind of equipment you have.
Step 2: Mount the Brass Tubes and Prepare for Turning
After the holes are drilled through the blanks, you will super glue the brass tubes into the blanks. The tubes are the part that will mate with the metal ends, so they need to be square to the end and centered.
Rough up the brass with some sandpaper then apply a liberal amount of super glue to the tube and push it through the blank. Once the glue is dry you can cut your blanks to the final size. I cut mine to 3" as this will make my handles 5" long and 4" between mounting holes.
Once the blanks are cut to size you mount them on a pen mandrel. This is the same mandrel used to make writing pens. There are special bushings you need to use. You match the size of the blank to the bushings at the ends and this will give you a flush fit when you assemble the hardware.
Step 3: Turn the Blank to Desired Shape
Mount the mandrel in your lathe and then use your desired turning tools to bring the blank to the shape you want. I went with a simple "rolling pin" shape, but the possibilities are wide open here.
Step 4: Sand and Finish the Blank
After turning the blank to your desired shape, sand it in order of 150, 240, 320, 400, 600 grit (or equivalents). After 600 grit you are ready for finish. You can use a CA glue finish or any other woodturner's finish.
Apply 5 or 6 coats of your desired finish, sanding with 1500 grit between applications.
Step 5: Assemble the Cabinet Pull and Mount
Remove your finished blank from the lathe and then assemble it onto the metal posts. The blank will fit snuggly over the post and can be pushed on by hand or with the help of a clamp. Put one side in first, then the next.
Measure your distance between the mounting holes and drill 3/16" holes through your drawer or door face. Mount the pull with machine screws and you are done!
For more details head over to the blog post: