Fair Woodworking

July 26, 2012

Making a drawer pull. The hand tool way.

EDITORS NOTE *** This post is experiencing 3rd party photo hosting “issues”, that will be addressed as time allows. ***


It’s funny how one simple seeming project can demand the learning of so many new skills. Here is the drawer pull for a very basic piston fit drawer I’ve been making. It’s been the inspiration for a number of posts as of late, and has moved quite slowly because each new skill was a rabbit trail of skill discovery, while the real project waited patiently.

I’ve already had to learn to cut half blind dovetails, but before that I had to make my own fishtail chisel. To make this drawer pull the first thing I had to do was learn to cut a mortice and tenon joint.

With a precarious grasp on M&T joinery, it was time to give this a go…

With a lot of care and attention, I had to get all my layout lines done. The first thing that hit me was that this was one tiny little piece of wood to work with. There is very little surface space for clamping while I work, so every step must be calculated with care. The picture above shows the arc on the right hand side. I’ll cut that first. You can see the center of the arc with the x, and a line scribed with my marking gauge. That will be the shoulder of the M&T joint. To the left is another marking gauge line. That will be the end of the tenon, but I needed more length to be able to clamp the piece while cutting the arc.


No action shot’s today. This was a process of survival, and I couldn’t afford the distraction. I did take the time to snap this moment of clamping bliss…

Then it was time to cut the tenon. It was uneventful, and that was a relief!

Took a breather before cutting the shoulders. Again a little tricky to cut on a bench hook, when there is very little that you can reference against the fence.

With the tenon cut, I then had to rasp the saw marks off the edge. I chose the rasp because it was pretty much all end grain, and using a plane would have been very difficult. One last thing to do. See the pencil lines that follow the edge? May as well tempt fate, and free hand bevel the edges while I’m here.

And there you have it, a rather rustic looking drawer pull.



  1. Would it have been easier to cut the tenon first, from a long piece of material?

    Comment by ChrisHasFlair — July 27, 2012 @ 4:56 am

    • Now that you mention it…


      If I did it that way, I could have also cut the arc while clamped to the waste side.

      I may need to change the title to, “making a drawer pull the complicated way”

      It all seems so obvious now. Ha, ha.

      Comment by fairwoodworking — July 27, 2012 @ 6:02 am

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