AWSX1686 SuperDork
9/11/18 10:02 a.m.

A while back my lovely wife (fiancee at the time) scored a pair of nice cherry dressers from a yard sale for ~$40. Brought them over to my house and she was able oil and polish them up with not too much effort. (No sanding required.) I did have to take the top off of one and glue it, but overall with minimal effort, they are now very nice looking dressers! The only downside is, at first not all the handles were there, and when removing the handles to be able to better revive the dressers, I think only 2 survived. They must be an older size, because neither of the 2 common sizes Lowe's has were the same. These appear to be 4.5" center to center on the mounting bolts. So now I am on a quest to make some custom handles!


The Dressers (minus the top on the one...):

AWSX1686 SuperDork
9/11/18 10:08 a.m.

Prototype #1: 

.5" Angle, .5" tube, very basic trial assembly. 


I was not super happy with how this one turned out initially, but she actually really likes it, and it has grown on me. It will definitely take some fine tuning to make it look pretty and to be consistent, but I think something along these lines will be what we end up with.  Hopefully tonight I will be able to get another prototype or two done. I have a couple other ideas to tweak this design, as well as a couple ideas for the finish. Once I figure out what I like, I will make up some sort of jig so that they can all be pretty close to matching. Stay tuned....


Aaron_King PowerDork
9/11/18 10:41 a.m.

By all means make them, it will be "custom", and cooler but it looks like there are quite a few 4.5 in on center drawer pulls out there:


Wayfair drawer pulls

1988RedT2 UltimaDork
9/11/18 10:46 a.m.

Awesome little project.  Great thing about having a welder is that there is literally no limit to the things you can do with them.

ultraclyde PowerDork
9/11/18 12:31 p.m.

Neat. You, sir, are going to need a jig.

AWSX1686 SuperDork
9/11/18 12:44 p.m.
ultraclyde said:

Neat. You, sir, are going to need a jig.

Yes... Jig will be coming as soon as I decide on the final design and mounting method. 

Robbie PowerDork
9/11/18 1:28 p.m.

Jig is as simple as two holes in a board. Either screw the tubes in from the back (exactly how they would be mounted on the drawer), or make the holes the od of the tube and drop the tubes in.

Cool project.

Another idea to connect the two tubes is a piece of flat stock. Perfect ones would look neat and tidy or you could hammer them and cut the edges not quite perfect for a more distressed look.

Greg Smith
Greg Smith HalfDork
9/11/18 3:14 p.m.

Are you planning to tack nuts inside the tubes?

These are super cool! 

I'd end up ripping a pair of pants on them... probably want to file/grind/brush down the pointy bits some. 

dean1484 MegaDork
9/11/18 3:19 p.m.
AWSX1686 SuperDork
9/11/18 4:15 p.m.
Greg Smith said:

Are you planning to tack nuts inside the tubes?

These are super cool! 

I'd end up ripping a pair of pants on them... probably want to file/grind/brush down the pointy bits some. 

Mounting method is part of the next bit of prototyping... I haven't fully decided yet. 

The ends are not as sharp as they look, but I have though of concern of bodily injury or clothing injury. 

AWSX1686 SuperDork
9/11/18 4:17 p.m.
dean1484 said:

Not saying you should not roll your own but they are out there.

Yeah, perhaps they aren't as rare as I thought. Gonna roll with this plan though. Should be nice and satisfying once complete.

AWSX1686 SuperDork
10/18/18 8:30 a.m.

Well, took me a lot longer to sit and do some more work on this that I had planned. Either way, here's the update. 

I was going to try some neat angle cuts on the end, but my abrasive chop saw is not as precise as I need for that, so I mostly threw that idea out the window. 

Last night I tried taking the flap disk to the 1/2" tube to notch it out to fit into the crevice of the angle iron better, but I also didn't have a good way to make that very consistent, or hold it in place to weld. 

Which brings me to: Prototype #2

Still using .5" angle, and .5" tube, different style. 



Then I added rivnuts to test mounting.


And some bolts laying around happened to fit.


Overall I am pretty happy with Prototype #2. I think mounting the tube on the flat of the angle iron will be a lot easier to do, and it still looks pretty good. The thing I don't like, is that the tube sticks down below the angle iron some, thus the gap between the angle and the welding table in the first picture. My plan to get rid of that will come in Prototype #3, I plan to use some 1/2" round stock, then file a flat side on one end so it tucks into the angle iron a bit. Then I will try my hand at drilling and tapping for mounting. The rivnuts were super easy to install, and work a lot better than I expected, but are gonna be a little expensive to use for all of them. 

I also need to keep an eye out for some sort of metal polish or something. With Prototype #2 I took a flap disk to the 2 visible sides of the angle iron to clean them up. I like the bare metal look that it gives, so I think I'm going to stick with that, but I will probably need something to protect the metal then. 

914Driver MegaDork
10/18/18 10:05 a.m.
AWSX1686 SuperDork
10/19/18 7:28 a.m.

Still prototype #2, but I picked up supplies for #3. 


Pics of #2 test mounted. You can also see one of the 2 remaining original handles. 



stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
10/19/18 5:15 p.m.

Nice looking mid century modern dressers.

noddaz SuperDork
10/20/18 9:11 a.m.



minivan_racer UberDork
10/20/18 3:17 p.m.

much industrial, such diy, wow.


No seriously, it's cool and industrial is in.

AWSX1686 SuperDork
12/3/18 11:01 a.m.

Been a while since I updated!

I tried some various other prototypes, mostly regarding the mounting.

Tried solid 1/2" round stock and drilling and tapping, but didn't have a good way to get that consistently centered, plus I didn't really want to drill and tap 54 holes. 

Tried 1/2" tube with rivnuts. Took some practice installing them as you can't compress them all the way or else you'll strip them out. Then I tried a few different ways of attaching the tube to not make it stick out below the handle. I ended up cutting all the 1" cuts of tube with a jig on the chop saw. Then I cleaned them all up and installed rivnuts. Then I drilled 2 holes 4.5" apart in my HF welding table, and bolted the tube sections to the table, set the angle on top, and welded. That ensured they would always bolt to the 4.5" apart dresser holes. Then since the tube would stick out below the angle leaving an ugly hole, I then welded to close the hole, and smoothed it out when I flap disked to finish the rest of the handle. 

As of right now, they are all assembled, I just need to do final checks to make sure they don't need more flap disk'ing, then will clean them up a bit and spray with clear coat so the bare metal surface doesn't rust. 


And now some pictures!


Some pretty heat coloring! (Unfortunately that will disappear with the final cleaning.)



Test fit.

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
12/3/18 11:16 a.m.

They need that gold colored zinc plating. Likr caswell sells.

AWSX1686 SuperDork
12/3/18 1:41 p.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael :

Could work, but this picture doesn't do it justice. The bare metal/silver look is actually pretty nice installed.

Greg Smith
Greg Smith HalfDork
12/6/18 12:53 p.m.

*very* cool :)


AWSX1686 SuperDork
12/26/18 9:10 a.m.

Project complete!

(I sprayed clear coat on and installed at least a week ago, just never got around to posting.)

They aren't perfect, but they are solid, and handmade. Now we can open dresser drawers easily!



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