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How to make recessed drawer pulls

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

How to make recessed drawer pulls

Recessed drawer pulls are one of my favorite design details for cabinet work. They are elegant, stylish, and very functional. It's a bonus that no hardware is needed at all. This is a quick guide showing how to make recessed drawer pulls.

Here is how I made the finger pulls on this custom white oak credenza, step-by-step.

You will need:

  1. A plunge router

  2. A finger pull bit. I used the 1.5 inch diameter finger pull bit from Lee Valley.

Step 1: The Drawer Face Typically I use material that's about 7/8 in thick. With the router bit set at a depth of cut of 5/8 in, the pull has approximately 1/8 in thickness on front and back.

Step 2: The Jig A jig is used to guide the router through the cut. The actual sizes of the components of your jig will depend on the diameter of your router's base.

woodworking jig for making drawer pulls

General Design and Dimensions:

The rear guide wall should be the exact same width as your drawer face. This is so you can tack on vertical walls on the left, right, and rear edges and locate the jig in the exact same place for each drawer face.

The left and right guide walls are identical in size and flush to the edges of the rear guide wall. I just used glue to attach them to the rear guide wall.

Once the guide walls are assembled, attach vertical walls on the left and right side + back so they will act as locators for the jig.

Pull Width:

I wanted my pulls to be about 8 inches long. To achieve the target length, the diameter of your router base has to be factored in.

Target Dimension = 8 inches. Bosch Router Base Diameter = 6 Inches (3 inch radius)

So, for the left and right guide walls, I used ~3 inches of offset outside of the total 8 inch target. The total opening is about 14.5 inches wide. (8 in + 3 in + 3 in = 14 in)


You will want to securely clamp a sacrificial piece of material where your router bit will exit to eliminate any tear out. (See image below on right)

Practice on some scrap material to get a feel and understanding of the required offsets.

Pull Depth

To get a 15/16 in deep drawer pull, I put the rear guide wall at a 3.5 inch offset from the top of the drawer face (see image above, left). Keep in mind I used the straight edge profile (see image below, right) of my router base to make the cut. If you don't have one of these the rear offset will be even larger.

Securing the jig:

It is paramount the jig is clamped securely to both the workpiece and the bench.

Step 3: Execution

To get the cleanest and safest results, I complete the operation in 3 passes - I do this by inserting 2 spacers along the guide wall. Take a look in the video.

If you enjoyed reading this post and want to learn more about making high end furniture, check out our woodworking plans.

If you want to connect with me about the furniture we make, or your own journey as a woodworker, shoot me an email, or message me on Instagram.


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