DIY

Make a Replacement Drawer Pull

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PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
You can make your own replacement drawer pull.

Should you acquire an old dresser with ornate cast-iron
handles that beg not to be replaced, don’t–whatever
you do–throw away the ancient pulls just because one
of their mates is broken or missing. Check around at
antique shops first, and if that doesn’t turn up a suitable
replacement (it probably won’t), consider casting your own.
It’s not as hard to do as you might think.

First find a small, flat container that’s just large enough
to hold one of your undamaged handles.

Second, buy some water putty at a hardware store
(just ask for it . . . they’ll know what you want)
and–following the directions on the box–mix
enough putty to support (not immerse) one of the good pulls
in the little flat container.

Now apply a thin coat of oil to an undamaged pull (so that
it won’t stick later on), place it face down in the putty,
and go away for a while.

After the putty has dried completely, very carefully remove
the pull (use a pointed instrument if you have to to help
you pry the handle from the mold). Try not to damage the
hardened putty.

Next–with the aid of a propane torch–heat a
small quantity of white metal (which you can get at any
auto-wrecking establishment) in a metal crucible spoon
(usually obtainable from a plumbing supply house). Once the
white metal has melted, carefully pour it into the
water-putty mold, and allow it to cool. Finally, break the
putty from the casting.

At this point, all you have to do is [1] file off any rough
edges which the new pull might have and [2] spray paint all
the handles to match each other . . . and you’ve got a
good-as-new set of drawer pulls!