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Fit Your Cabinet Hardware in a Flash - How to Use a Cabinet Handle Jig

Discover a faster way to install your cabinet hardware. Whether you've got new cabinetry or you're upgrading old handles and knobs, the ingeniously simple cabinet handle drilling jig makes the job significantly easier.

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In this article we'll look at how the cabinet handle jig can help improve your DIY life. We'll explore how a drilling jig works and show you how to use one. But first, let's talk a little bit about cabinet handles and knobs.

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Why Install New Cabinet Handles & Knobs Anyway?

There are a number of reasons why you might want to fit new cabinet hardware. Perhaps the most common cabinet handle and knob installation is in the kitchen, given that it's likely to have the most cupboards and drawers of any room in your home.

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That said, a cabinet handle drilling jig can be used cabinetry handles in an room: bathroom, bedroom, livings room, or for storage cabinets in the garden shed or garage, as pictured below.

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You might have fitted new kitchen cabinets, or you may want to upgrade generic hardware to something with a little more style, class or bling — to something that better reflects your sense of style. Or you might have redecorated or renovated a room and your old cabinet handles and knobs just don't seem to work anymore.

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Note that if you’re replacing existing handles or knobs, there will already be screw holes. If the holes are in the right place to fit your new hardware then great. If not you will need to fill the holes, refinish and re-drill. Small dowels are often a good solution.

Whatever your reason for wanting to fit new cabinet handles and knobs, with the right tools it's a straightforward DIY job.

Considerations When Fitting Cabinet Handles & Knobs

Locating your new handles in just the right place, and the same place across your cabinet doors and drawer fronts can be a little tricky and time consuming. Achieving accurate and repetitive installation individually, especially if you've got a lot of handles to install, can be tedious.

Cabinet hardware drilling jig article - figure with tape measure making measurement calculations

Positioning Cabinet Handles & Knobs

It's important to think about where your handles or knobs will be placed on cabinet doors and drawers. For example, should they be in the centre of a drawer front or more towards the top edge of the cabinet? Should longer handles be horizontal or vertical?

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Consider what handle position will require the least effort to open a cupboard door or drawer. For higher wall cabinets ensure handles and knobs are fixed towards the bottom of the door, and for cabinetry lower down, hardware is best placed higher up the door.

Ultimately the decision is yours. It will depend somewhat on the type of handles and knobs you have chosen and will ultimately be down to your personal preferences.

What Exactly is a Cabinet Handle Drilling Jig?

Put simply, a cabinet handle drilling jig is a device, or more of an adjustable template, to make it easier and quicker (much quicker) to locate, mark and drill screw holes in cabinet doors and drawer fronts to install handles and knobs.

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This jig will work regardless of door and drawer sizes, to create consistently accurate hole centres.

There are a few different jig designs available, ranging quite considerably in price, whether made from steel, aluminium, plastic or other polymer construction. However, they all work in the same way and do the same job.

How Does a Cabinet Handle Jig Work?

A cabinet handle drilling jig enables you to measure the distances from the horizontal and vertical edges of a cabinet drawer or door using a sliding edge guide on the top and on the bottom of the drilling jig.

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To make measurement calculations is very straightforward. The horizontal and the vertical axis of the jig locate drill holes for fast, accurate, repeatable screw holes. Measure once rather than measuring each door or drawer individually every time.

Cabinet handle jigs are a reversible design so work equally well for left and right hung doors.

Step by Step Guide

Begin by making sure you have all the items you'll need:

1. For drawers with centred handles and knobs simply measure the height and width of the drawer front and half each measurement.

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2. Enter those measurements into the drilling jig using the sliding components in the horizontal and vertical.

3. Put a strip of tape over where the holes will be drilled to help prevent splintering.

4. If you are installing a handle with two screws, measure the distance between them, half it, and subtract that from the overall horizontal measurement.

5. The method is similar for cabinet doors. The drilling jig is set up in the same way, measuring from the top edge and opening edge of the door. Note that cupboard door handles and knobs will not be centred in the same way as drawers.

6. Next firmly place the drilling jig on your drawer or door and mark the drill point(s) with your pencil.

7. Using your power drill, carefully make the fixing hole(s).

8. Remove the masking tape and you’re ready to fit your knob or handle using your screwdriver and the fixings provided.

Cabinet hardware drilling jig article - figure fixing handles to drawer front

9. Now you have the drilling jig setup, simply repeat marking drill holes on all cabinet drawers or doors as needed without having to measure again.

Final Thoughts

Whatever handles and knobs you choose, and where on your cabinetry you fit them, the drilling jig offers a simple way to make installation much faster, for everyone from tradespeople to keen DIYers.

Have you chosen your cabinet hardware yet? Browse a huge selection of cabinet handles and knobs, door handles, locks and ironmongery at Hiatt Hardware, where you’ll also find lots of other helpful how-to DIY guides, as well as home & garden makeover inspiration and interior design articles.

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