Asked on May 18, 2020

How to fill recessed drawer pulls?

by Andy


I'm wondering if it's possible to fill recessed drawer pulls this big? I want to add knobs and modernize it.

Plan is to add legs, knobs and re-stain as well.

  14 answers
  • William William on May 18, 2020

    Make a cardboard template of the recess. Measure the depth of the recess. Get some wood same thinckness and cut out using the template. Use some wood glue to glue the wood and if you can nail from the inside of the drawers. Then you can fill with wood putty. You can stain using gel stain since the patch wouldn't stain evenly with regular stain or you can paint.

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on May 18, 2020

    Hello. For restaining its tricky to match grain. Even with wood putty.

    I am not sure I would attempt such a job. If painting furniture— theres many more filling options that are disguised by paint. I hope you can find the perfect solution.

  • Morgan McBride Morgan McBride on May 18, 2020

    You could fill with wood filler.

  • on May 18, 2020

    What about adding a back plate behind the new pulls to cover the indebted ones. It could be in a similar material to the new pulls.

  • JudyH JudyH on May 19, 2020

    I refinished a lateral file cabinet with recessed handles like this. Rather than filling them, I bought decorative blocks of wood big enough to cover the recess, glued the blocks on with E6000 glue, and then added my knobs in the center of the wood block. I used doorknobs from Hobby Libby for knobs. I also added chunky ball feet and put a french script stencil on top. Amazon has many sizes of wooden plaques to choose from.

  • Find some scrap wood and cut it to a similar shape so it fits inside that hole. Glue the scrap inside and fill the gaps with wood filler and than sand smooth.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on May 19, 2020

    Fill in with wood putty and sand or put in a piece of wood sized to the gaping area, you can use glue to do that. Drill a hole through the filled in area for the knob. From there you can sand the drawer front so all is smooth, then use a gel stain for the drawer or paint.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on May 19, 2020

    You can cut a piece slightly smaller and glue into place. Then putty the small space around it. Another option that would be cool would be to finish the pulls in different color.

  • Kmdreamer Kmdreamer on May 19, 2020

    Yes I would use wood fill after it’s dry sand smooth them paint

  • 17335038 17335038 on May 20, 2020

    An option to filling the holes is to cover over them, with a metal or wooden backplate. Then mount the knob on to the plate. Here are some examples of backplates. But, covering a thin wooden piece with fabric or wallpaper could also work.

  • Janice Janice on May 20, 2020

    Hi Andy, here's a Hometalk link to when someone else was having the same issue. Maybe there's an answer or you here....

    I need ideas for a recessed cabinet pull cover
  • Seth Seth on May 20, 2020


    Another technique would be to make what is called a Dutchman, a type of wood patch. Google it and see if it will work for you. Basically, instead of trying to fill the existing recess or cutting a piece to fit it, you are going to cut a rectangular block of wood slightly larger than the recess. Then trace it on the drawer and carefully chisel to the dimensions of your scribe mark (if you don't have a router). Tap the block in with a rubber mallet and sand smooth. Use the sawdust from sanding mixed with a little glue to fill any gaps.

  • Dee Dee on May 20, 2020

    DLawsless sells templates that you could put over the cut outs. Or like someone else said go to Home Depot or Lowes where they cut the wood. Bring a plastic bag, they will give you the wood dust for free. Add glue and you have wood filler. Fill thin layers at a time and let dry until you get to the top, then sand.

    You could also fill it with Bondo, let completely dry, sand and paint.