Carved Pulls Give a Handmade TouchUse them behind doors or let them be a focal point
Synopsis: There are times when a traditional door or drawer pull doesn’t seem right, or is not practical, as in drawers located behind doors. For these situations, a pull that is carved into the surface can be an ideal solution. His carved pulls add a perfect finishing touch on fine furniture. Learn how he makes them.
Handmade drawer and door pulls are the perfect finishing touches on a fine piece of furniture. Yes, they do the job of opening and closing, but they do much more. They can create a focal point, add a contrasting dash of color or texture, or add a touch of whimsy.
The usual approach is to make a projecting pull or handle of some kind, but there are times when that pull just doesn’t seem right, or is not practical, as in drawers located behind doors. For these situations, a pull that is carved into the surface can be an ideal solution. It’s a technique I learned from Jim Krenov, my teacher in the 1980s.
Two approaches I’ve used numerous times over the years are pulls that go all the way through the drawer front and pulls that are carved only into the surface—I call them stopped pulls. Both designs are sloped at the top to make it easy to catch hold with one or two fingers and pull the drawer out.
In this article, I will guide you through the process of carving the through-pull, which is the most basic approach. You won’t need a bundle of carving tools for the job. Although a carving gouge with a moderate to severe sweep is necessary to start the curved excavation, you can finish up with rasps, files, and sandpaper, if needed. I’ll also show you how to do the stopped pull, which does require a few more carving tools. In each example, I carve the pull with the drawer front cut to size but before the joinery is cut.
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