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Installing 
Recessed or Inset Handles 
9/03

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I't's really very simple to install these wooden drawer pulls. My greatest problem was determining how deep to make the mortise, since my drawers were 1/2" birch plywood (.460") and the mortise needed to be .440" thick! Not much room for error! But if your drawer fronts are 3/4" thick, you won't need to do all the measuring to get the mortise just right like I had to, you'll have plenty of room!
I also stained and finished these pulls and the drawer fronts before fitting them.

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The first thing we need is a routing pattern and a pattern making router bit. First on a 3/4" piece of plywood I measure in from the side to the center of where I want the handle to be. Next I measure down from the top to the center again. I was 6" from the side and 3-3/4" down from the top. Now center the pull on these lines and trace around the inset part of the pull. Cut out the hole very carefully and sand smooth, your router bit will be following the inside of this hole to form the mortise in your drawer front, so be as accurate as possible!
Because I only have 020" of an inch between the back of the handle and the inside of the drawer, I figured I'd need to find a way to give me a little more clearance, or "fudge factor". I decided to see if I could sand away a little off the bottom of these pulls. 
First I measured the overall thickness of the wooden pulls. I'm using a set of Dial Calipers, this is the most accurate way to measure thickness and depth of stock. Before sanding I have .610"
Now I check the inside of the pull: .545"  That leaves .065" of wood at the bottom. On my 12" sander I careful remove about .025" of the back side of the pull leaving .040" thickness. This makes my minimum mortise depth about .415". 
Now on a scrap of wood the same thickness of my drawers, I start cutting sample mortises using the jig I made earlier. The one on the right fit fine but left the bottom awful thin. I went with the middle mortise of .425" depth. this left me a .010 gap between the bottom of the mortise and the back of the handle, and .040" thickness left in the drawer front.
Now for the fun part! I took my pattern and flushed it to the top of the drawer and the side, and secured it with a couple of clamps.
Now start up your router and carefully plunge it into your drawer. clean out the middle part then follow around the pattern in a clockwise direction. Shut off the router and wait for it to stop before pulling it out. You don't want to damage your pattern by nicking it!
Now flip over your pattern, flush it to the top and the other side, and route out the other handle. Using this method ensures your handles are equal distance from the sides and top, and that each drawer will be the same. But in the case of my drawers, the lower ones were deeper. No problem, just flush the sides and measure down from the top for your desired distance from the top.
Pop in the handles and they look real good!
Now to set them in the drawer forever, use a little slow set epoxy. They'll be very secure, and if a little squeezes out it will blend in with the finish!
You don't need much clamping pressure, just enough so they don't fall out before the glue dries. 
You can find these wooden pulls here.
And this is the patter making bit, you can find them here. 
Notice that the bearing is above the cutter, not below. This is a very handy little bit for your collection! I find the 3/8"x1" takes care of most of my needs.

 

 
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