How to Fix a Bad Bullet Catch
A couple of years ago I built a long, credenza-style entertainment center that featured offset knife hinges and bullet catches for the all three doors. Never having installed a bullet catch before, I took my time and carefully aligned the two components. While two of the three catches worked perfectly, the third catch was off the mark by about 1/8-in. I decided to let it go and “fix it later.” Now, more than two years later, I find myself having to sell the entertainment center (it doesn’t fit in my new home) but need to fix that pesky catch.
Bullet catches rely on a friction fit into the bottom rail of a cabinet, and that means getting one out when things go awry can present a bit of a puzzle. That said, I’m a firm believer of the idea that in woodworking, there’s nothing that can’t be un-done and repaired. Here’s how I pulled the offending catch in preparation for re-drilling and realignment. For more information on installing a variety of cabinet door catch hardware, be sure to have a look at our article from issue #219: Case Closed.
Simple Steps to Replace a Bad Bullet Catch
|1. Drill a pilot hole. After tipping the entertainment center up on its end, I carefully marked the location of the bullet catch on the bottom of the long rail it’s housed in. Next, I drilled a small pilot hole, just large enough to accommodate a nail.|
|2. Drive out the old catch. Next, I tapped in a nail until it bottomed out on the catch’s brass housing. Then I simply tapped out the catch. Presto!|
|3. Fill the void. I crafted a very slightly tapered dowel to fit into the old catch’s hole and glued it in with two-part epoxy. I chose epoxy for its gap-filling qualities–remember, I used a slightly tapered dowel in order to ensure that it got all the way down into the old catch hole.|
|4. Saw away the excess. Once my glue was dry, I sawed away the protruding dowel stock and planed everything flush with a chisel.|
|5. Re-drill and re-mount. Now it’s just a matter of using a guide block clamped to the apron, to guide my drill bit for the drilling of a new hole to house my repositioned catch. The entire process only took about 30 minutes!|
If you need to realign a poorly installed bullet catch, have no fear--the answer is here.
Due to poor positioning on my part, the offending bullet catch was misaligned by about 1/8-in. But how do you remove a bullet catch that's held in place very tight, via friction?
After tipping the entertainment center up on it's end, I marked the bottom of the rail for the offending catch's position and then drilled a small hole until the bit bottomed out on the catch.
Then it was just a matter of using a nail to bang out the catch. With the catch removed, I could proceed with its relocation.
I made a dowel to fit the hole. My dowel was ever-so-slightly tapered. Because of this, I used a gap-filling glue (two-part epoxy) to glue it into place.
Next I just sawed off the excess, planed it flush with a chisel, and proceeded to drill a new hole with the aid of a guide block that allowed for drilling perfectly square to the rail. Presto!