How to Make a Positioning Jig to Install Kitchen Cabinet Pulls

Written by murray anderson
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Even a minor or inexpensive kitchen upgrade usually involves new pulls or knobs for the cabinets. If you're using pulls that are approximately the same size as the old ones--you may be able to use the same holes--but if you've refinished or repainted the cabinet doors--the old holes are probably gone. You could measure and mark the position of each of the new pulls to install them--but a quicker (and perhaps more accurate) method uses a simple positioning jig that guides you to the proper position for the screw hole. Here's how to build a simple one to properly position and install your new kitchen pulls.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Piece of 1/2-inch or 3/8-inch plywood
  • Power saw
  • Power drill/drill press
  • Measuring tape
  • Compressor and nail gun or hammer and nails
  • Screwdriver and screws
  • Adjustable clamp

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  1. 1

    Remember, the positioning jig you're making is unique to the style of your new cabinet pulls and where you want to position them on your new kitchen cabinets.

  2. 2

    Start by determining the positioning of your new kitchen pulls. A rough rule of thumb says you put pulls 2 inches from the bottom edge and 1 1/2 inches from the side, but final positioning is obviously up to you.

  3. 3

    Cut two pieces of plywood approximately 5-by-5 inches, then cut two strips of plywood exactly the same thickness as your new kitchen cabinet doors.

  4. 4

    Build your jig by placing one strip of plywood on the bottom edge, then put the second strip along the outside edge (making a right angle that closes off the bottom and one side).

  5. 5

    Ensuring that the pieces of wood remain exactly where you positioned them, nail the pieces together, preferably using a nail gun. You can also use a hammer and nails; just be careful that the pieces don't move. You've now built a template/jig that will fit over the bottom corner of the cabinet door.

  6. 6

    Slip your new jig over the bottom edge of a door, ensuring it makes contact with both the bottom and side of the door, then mark exactly where you want to position your new pulls on the jig.

  7. 7

    Finish by drilling a hole vertically through the mark you made on the jig. Drill through both pieces of plywood so the jig can be used on all doors no matter which side they are hinged on.

  8. 8

    Use your positioning jig by slipping it onto a corner of a door, holding it in place with an adjustable clamp and drilling through the cabinet door.

Tips and warnings

  • Make the hole in your jig 1/32 inches to 1/16 inches larger in diameter than the screws used to install your cabinet pulls. This way, the screws will fit easily through the hole in the cabinet.
  • Building the jig may take a little time up front, but once it's built, installing your new pulls will progress much faster than if you would have taken the time to measure for each one.
  • Be sure the screw hole is drilled vertically or the screws holes in your cabinet will be slanted. (A drill press will ensure that the hole is perfectly vertical, but many hand-held powerdrills have small levels that will guide you as well.)

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