Easy Fix for Missing Drawer Pulls

6 Materials
$5
30 Minutes
Easy

I found this desk at a thrift store and fell in love with it at first sight! Overall it was in good condition except the center drawer was missing the drawer pull. No worries though -- there's an easy fix!
The first thing I did after bringing it home was to give it a good cleaning. I knew it was a vintage piece, but underneath the drawers I discovered date stamps showing the actual year it was built was in 1901. It was manufactured by the Widdicomb Furniture Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Each phase of the manufacturing process was stamped with the date and the name of the craftsman. This made the desk even more special to me.
I try to use good judgement when deciding whether to paint a piece or not. A previous owner had already painted it, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to paint it again.
I actually liked the painted finish except for the top as the brush stokes were a bit bumpy for a desk top. I did strip the paint from the top and stained it, but the stained finish turned out too blotchy, so I decided to proceed with painting.
But first I needed to address the missing drawer pull. Rather than sourcing a matching drawer pull, or instead buying three new pulls, I decided to use a single knob that I had left over from a previous project. So I needed to fill in the existing holes.
An easy way to fill in the existing holes is to first place painter's tape on the back of the hole.
Next I added a small amount of wood filler to a syringe. Using the syringe eliminates air bubbles which can cause the wood filler to crack after it dries.
Then I injected the wood filler into the holes. The tape I placed on the back of the hole earlier will hold the wood filler in place until it dries.
I applied additional wood filler to the surface and used a putty knife to smooth it out. After the wood filler was completely dry I used 220-grit sandpaper to sand it smooth. Next I used a power drill to add a single hole for the new knob (sorry no photos of this step because I needed both hands to use the drill!)
Although the replacement knob is not an exact match, I think it coordinates well with the existing hardware.
Here's a closer view of the replacement drawer knob.
Thanks for reading through this project. I hope you found the information helpful and if you'd like to see more photos, please visit my blog post. I'd also like to invite you to stop by my blog, The Black Sheep Shoppe, to see what other projects I am working on.

Please note the cost and time estimates for this project are just that -- estimates. I already had the knob, wood filler, tape, and the syringes on hand.
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Patricia

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 11 questions
  • Sandra Sewell
    on Dec 7, 2019

    My Grandfather, Harry Cool, was a wood carver in a furniture factory in Grand Rapids, and I was sooo hoping to see his name. My mother (Harry's daughter) was the New Year's Baby in Grand Rapids --the first baby born in 1920! I have photos of that!

    Sandra

    • Patricia
      on Dec 10, 2019

      Merry Christmas to you, too, Sandra! And thank you for being so kind for volunteering as bell ringers. People like you make the world a better place.

  • Jeanne Martin
    on Dec 7, 2019

    Your choice of color is absolutely stunning!! I would love to duplicate your finish on my next "find" (I could spend all day in antique stores, junk shops, flea markets, etc.).

    I looked at your web page and your blog about this desk trying to find out the colors you used. I found the colors but I cannot find the brand of chalk paint you used. The link to the chalk paint & wax doesn't work. Would you mind sharing the brand(s) of paint & wax? Thanks!


    • Joan Stanley
      on Dec 9, 2019

      Love the design of the desk and the color you chose! Beautiful.

  • Allison
    on Apr 30, 2020

    Can you use wood filler or some sort of glue to fill in a hole on a wooden pull knob? I have an antique wooden knob for a dresser. It has a metal insert but I think it is stripped. The screw seems ok.

    Thanks. Allison

    • Patricia
      on May 1, 2020

      Hi Allison, Wood filler with a dab of wood glue might do the trick, however, it will be near impossible to remove in the future. You might try a larger screw and see if that helps. Alternatively, cut a small sliver of painters tape and spiral it around the screw. It will bunch up a bit when you screw it in, and it might be enough to fill in the gaps. Good luck!

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