Repairing a stripped drawer or cabinet pull

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

My baby boy, Joseph, is not so much of a baby anymore. As of less than a week ago, he reached 13 months, leaping from infant status to toddler. He climbs furniture, runs from one room to the next in a flash, and always manages to find the one breakable object that might happen to be in a room.

Joseph has become infatuated with pulling doors and drawers open and closed. To his chagrin, we babyproofed our kitchen, making many of these inaccessible. However, with the stubbornness he inherited from his father, he pulls on the drawers despite the stops. This has resulted in the pulls coming completely off. We have reinstalled them perhaps one too many times, and now the pulls have become stripped.

Luckily, the fix for a stripped drawer pull is relatively easy. Simply remove the drawer pull, place a small piece of wood inside, and then reinstall it. Marshall Hickox of Homeworks Construction suggests using a toothpick or even cutting a sliver from a chopstick.

“I find the right chopstick will allow you to peel off a very thin piece,” he said. “Thinner than a toothpick even!”

After you find the right size, make sure to cut it so that it sits flush with the drawer pull. Dab it in wood glue before placing it inside. Hickox recommends checking manufacturer instructions for the wood glue first as some require water to activate. Once the glue dries, you can reinstall the pull.

“If it’s the type of pull that has a nut and a machined screw, not a wooden screw, you can try a liberal amount of thread lock,” Hickox said. “It’s a very light glue that you apply to the threaded screw that will lock it into the nut or threaded receiver.”

According to Hickox, thread lock is designed so that, with some added pressure, you can remove the screw without breaking anything. If the stripping is severe, he recommends trying a wood sliver inside this type of pull as well.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.