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Hello!

I'm working on a desk for my son and I want to include drawer pull openings like the ones shown in the attached photo. And I'm curious as to 1) do these holes in drawers have an actual name? and 2) is there a jig that I can buy or make?

Yes, I could drill two Forstner holes and then the jigsaw cut the drawers. But, I'm looking for something that I could use my router to make the holes more smooth and uniform.

Thanks for any wisdoms!
 

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A router would give a better finish - especially if you make a jig, use a bearing bit and start off the edge through a hole to avoid errors in the cut. Then chamfer the edges (on both sides) to the degree of roundness or comfort desired. Haven't done it yet but that's how I'd go about it.
 

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I do this all the time. Don't know if they have an official name but I call them hand holes. Your thought to use a template is spot on. Though you could just cut one by hand and then use that as a template to minimize your effort. The advantage of making an actual template is if you screw it up, you only waste the template material.

My most recent use of them was in my plyometric box project. Look here and scroll about half-way down for the relevant part. You can use a straight bit with router guide bushings, a pattern bit or a trim bit. If you use a bushing, you'll need to make the template larger by the offset amount. I used a 1/4" round over to finish off the holes and that gave them a very nice feel. For a drawer, I'd probably use a 1/8" round over or even just an aggressive sanding to knock the edges off.
 

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Drill the holes at the ends in a piece of MDF that's large enough to clamp to the ends of the drawer front. This makes a jig you can clamp in place, that's large enough to support your router. Drill holes in the ends and jig saw out the opening just a little inside the marked lines between the holes. Use a sander to smooth out the edges all the way to the cut line you want. This gives you a template and you can use a trim router to make a perfect opening.

Start on the drawer fronts by drilling holes. Make a cardboard sheet and mark the centers of each hole you'll drill. Make this first so you use it on the jig. Use a jig saw to rough cut the drawer fronts, then the trim router in the oval jig. Then a roundover to soften the opening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
PhilBa, my man!!! YES! Thank you so much for sharing! And your boxes look great, too! I'll definitely be reading your project page more closely on the hand holes!
 
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Hello!

I'm working on a desk for my son and I want to include drawer pull openings like the ones shown in the attached photo. And I'm curious as to 1) do these holes in drawers have an actual name? and 2) is there a jig that I can buy or make?

Yes, I could drill two Forstner holes and then the jigsaw cut the drawers. But, I'm looking for something that I could use my router to make the holes more smooth and uniform.

Thanks for any wisdoms!
Hi Ian

Yes, use a router and a template as suggested. I did this on the cat tower I built for all the routed slots. Mine are a bit narrower than you'd want, but the same applied.
It works well, and is repeatable. And I bet once you've sized your template accordingly, you'll find more uses for it, so it's never wasted!
 

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I made a template from 1/4" Baltic Birch and used my DeWalt 611 with a router bushing and up spiral bit to make the hand holes in the tote bins in the attached photo. I made 12 of these bins, 24 total hand holes. The template was made by cutting the hole using my scroll saw, but two Forstner bit holes and cutting out between them works too. It was cut 1/4" larger all the way around (1/2" total width) than the holes to be cut in the tote bin ends. This accounted for the router bushing to bit difference in size. I added square pieces of 3/8 Baltic Birch to the bottom of each to act as feet and also to make them stackable and interlocking.

This template is now in my jig storage area, because I know I'll be using it again. I wrote the bit and bushing sizes on it, as I do with all of my jigs, so I can remember how I did it for the next time. My jig and template storage area is hooks in the 8' high ceiling beams of my shop. Larger jigs get hooked above benches, so my taller friends don't hit their heads. I'm 5'8" and have no problem moving and working under the shorter jigs, but I have one friend that needs most of the jigs moved from over the aisles when he comes to visit.

Charley
 

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I would go the pattern bit or straight bit and guide as suggested but I would probably cut out most of the waste first. You eliminate about 2/3 of the wear on the router and bit when you do that. It takes longer but I'm usually in no hurry.

As for a name I would say it's a type of finger pull since you stick your fingers in the hole and pull. All of my drawers and cupboard doors use finger pulls instead of hardware.
 
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I would go the pattern bit or straight bit and guide as suggested but I would probably cut out most of the waste first. You eliminate about 2/3 of the wear on the router and bit when you do that. It takes longer but I'm usually in no hurry.

As for a name I would say it's a type of finger pull since you stick your fingers in the hole and pull. All of my drawers and cupboard doors use finger pulls instead of hardware.
Yes, definitely remove most of the waste. Not only is it easier on your bit and is quicker but, if you can limit the cut to about 1/8"/3mm, you get a much cleaner cut. Especially when up cutting against the grain at about a 45 degree angle. I'll often make multiple passes when there is more than 1/8" to remove. Makes the sanding job at the end a lot easier.


I think of finger pulls as a little smaller - usually for one finger. But then what do I know, I'm just making it up as I go along, kind of like the rest of my life. Maybe we should have thread on what to call it.
 

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I made a template from 1/4" Baltic Birch and used my DeWalt 611 with a router bushing and up spiral bit to make the hand holes in the tote bins in the attached photo. I made 12 of these bins, 24 total hand holes. ...snip...

Charley
Nice boxes, man! I will keep that idea as I would like to make some. I use quite a few of the plastic milk crates that I scored from a "rebuilding" center (24 of them). They came in quite handy when I moved 4 years ago. They are not nearly as "decorative" as your wooden boxes.

Are they made from Baltic birch plywood (BBP), or "real" wood? I would likely use the BBP.

Rick
 

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...snip...

Yes, I could drill two Forstner holes and then the jigsaw cut the drawers. But, I'm looking for something that I could use my router to make the holes more smooth and uniform.

Thanks for any wisdoms!
I agree with drilling/sawing out the waste and making a template to route the profile with a shallow clean-up cut, 1/8". I have done this in 2x10 lumber for making handholds in a ladder. Templates I made used the router base as the guide, but comments pointed heavily towards using guide bushings (more accurate and less material), which I will do in the future.

For smoothing over the edges, I think using a round over bit makes more sense than doing it by sanding. For my project, which was quite thick, I used a 1/2" radius round over bit. If your stock is 3/4", I would use 3/8" or maybe 5/16" if the stock is slightly undersized.

Rick
 

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I agree with drilling/sawing out the waste and making a template to route the profile with a shallow clean-up cut, 1/8". I have done this in 2x10 lumber for making handholds in a ladder. Templates I made used the router base as the guide, but comments pointed heavily towards using guide bushings (more accurate and less material), which I will do in the future.

For smoothing over the edges, I think using a round over bit makes more sense than doing it by sanding. For my project, which was quite thick, I used a 1/2" radius round over bit. If your stock is 3/4", I would use 3/8" or maybe 5/16" if the stock is slightly undersized.

Rick
Those came out pretty nice, rick. A round over bit makes a lot of sense down to about 3/16". Below that I think sanding is easier.
 

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Those came out pretty nice, rick. A round over bit makes a lot of sense down to about 3/16". Below that I think sanding is easier.
Thanks. Yes, I think so too. Very pleased. It took a lot of work getting the templates right, but once that was done, it went very quickly.

I have a 1/8" round over bit and by the wood dust on it, I've used. I just recalled on what, some 1x2" clear pine that I made a "twined rag rug" loom with.


Rick
 

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Nice boxes, man! I will keep that idea as I would like to make some. I use quite a few of the plastic milk crates that I scored from a "rebuilding" center (24 of them). They came in quite handy when I moved 4 years ago. They are not nearly as "decorative" as your wooden boxes.

Are they made from Baltic birch plywood (BBP), or "real" wood? I would likely use the BBP.

Rick
Yes, Rick.

My tote bins were made from 12 mm (1/2" ) Baltic Birch plywood. I had found a source for buying 1 X 5' drops from a very large CNC project that needed 4 X 5' of each sheet. The remaining drops were being sold for $2.50 each ($0.50/sq ft) and I bought a bunch of them. I still have quite a few left.

I didn't remove the waste before cutting the hand holes in the tote bin end pieces, but I did rout them in 3 passes at increasing depths, then rounded them over with a 1/8" bit before assembly. You can't round from both sides if the box is assembled before this step. Care is also needed to make certain that the bearing rides on the center of the work thickness. I would have preferred a larger radius, but the bearing must touch the center uncut area when rounding from both sides The bottoms of these bins were just made slightly over size, glued on, and then trimmed flush on the router table. For their intended purpose of moving and organizing small pieces of wood for the scroll saw, I felt that just gluing the bottoms on was sufficient. Baltic Birch is quite stable, so shop moisture level changes aren't expected to cause the bottoms to pull free.

Charley
 

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I've cut many of these holes, used instead of drawer pulls. The attached photos show a drawer front on a platform bed that I made 30+ years ago. To be efficient, you need 3 routers - a plunge router with a 1/4" up-spiral bit and a 1" guide bushing, a standard router with a 3/4" bowl bit (although a plunge router will let you take smaller bites or eliminate the need to reset the depth) and a trim router with a 1/4"R round-over bit. Make the template 3/8" larger all around than the finished hole size - this is the offset between the OD of the 1/4" bit and the OD of the guide bushing. Clamp the template on the BACK side of the drawer front, and use the 1/4" bit to cut the hole through the part. Leave the template clamped on, flip it over and use the trim router to cut the 1/4" round-over around the front of the hole. Flip the part back over and use the router with the bowl bit to cut a recess 3/8" deep around the hole, running the bearing on the bit against the inside of the template (this will leave an 1/8" flat between the bottom of the recess and the edge of the round-over in case you want to do the round-over last). This procedure will give you a finger pull recess when the front has been screwed to the drawer. If you want a deeper recess, use a smaller round-over bit and cut the recess right up to the edge of the radius, cutting the round-over before the recess gives you plenty of flat to run the bearing of the round-over bit, and you can take some sandpaper and break the sharp edge around the inside of the hole. If you don't have a bowl bit, a standard pattern bit will work, you just won't have the radius in the corner of the recess.
 

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