Friday, April 23, 2010

Silver Pulls

Talking to Robert about what to do for the pulls led to using drop pulls to keep with the 'elegant' look of the cabinet. Usually we make drop pulls in the shop out of brass but while flipping through a book on craftsman-style furniture I saw a cabinet where silver wire pulls were used. I thought silver would go well with the silvery shimmer of the Curly Sycamore and liked the light, airy look of being able to see through them.

Some sketches:

After meeting with Erin Dolman about the silver, she advised me that the gauge of the wire we would have to use to keep with the scale of the cabinet would be too thin for practical use. So we came up with another design, keeping lightness of it and the shape of the Sycamore keys that I wanted.

Unfortunately using silver for the posts that attach to the cabinet was impractical as well, financially. So I decided to use brass and shape it to be mostly hidden by the seed part of the pull.

Using a jig made of maple, the mortise was cut into the brass on the shaper with a slot-cutter. The hole to receive needed to be ever so slightly proud of the top of the jig so that screwing the top piece of wood in place would hold the brass securely. This was done by drilling the hole close to the top of the jig then hand-planing the surface just until the hole is visible. (note: the other two holes are mistakes)

A tenon had to be cut on the back of the round post to prevent from rotating in the door. That was done on the table saw using a square piece of wood the same dimension of the post with a tenon that fit tightly in the brass piece. This gave me a reference to cut a square into the end of a cylinder.

A hole was carefully drilled from the back of the post and tapped, which allowed it to be screwed into the door from the inside. The screw head will be inset and the hole plugged with a small piece of Olive, the same wood used for the consoles, flipper-floppers and levelers. The hole was centred by drilling a hole in a piece of wood the same size as the post, then with the pit in place on the drill-press, clamping the piece of wood down. The post was then inserted into the wood and the drill bit changed to the appropriate size. A kerf was cut from the end of the jig to the hole to allow for enough clamping pressure to hold the brass down while drilling.

With the silver and brass pieces glued together with hot glue, a hole is drilled for the pin that the silver pull will pivot on.

To secure the pull while drilling, I used the same jig as used on the shaper. This held it in place, gave me a place to easily mark the hole location, and kept the bit from walking off the side of the post as it had to be drilled a bit off centre.

The pieces were then separated by soaking in acetone.

Drilled into the front of the door to sink the post about 1/16 in, and a hole to accept the screw from the back. Then chiseled out a mortise to accept the tenon.

Some detail shots:

 It was a lengthy, finicky process (as you can see by the wordy post) but I am really happy with how they turned out and I think they really suit the piece.


  1. holy mac n' cheese those are awesome pulls!!!

  2. beautiful post and pulls- thanks for sharing the process. ;)

  3. Wow... Those are really nice Barb.
    I should save this post some how :)