How to Install Handles and Knobs on Shaker Drawer Fronts

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modern clean teal kitchen shaker style cabinet drawers centered hardware recessed panel
Getting ready to install handles and knobs on your Shaker drawer fronts? While these cabinets are the most popular type of cabinet used in households, the thought of installing hardware on Shaker drawers tends to intimidate people. And that’s because most people don’t understand how they are designed.  The layout of Shaker cabinets consists of five-pieces: the center (recessed) panel, the stile (placed vertically on both sides of the center panel), and the rail (placed horizontally on both the top and bottom of the center panel). The stiles and rails make-up the frame.
Shaker cabinet drawer diagram
So how can you easily install handles and knobs on Shaker drawer fronts? With the Original Cabinet Hardware Jig Shakers can be tricky. Due to the recessed panel being on a different plane than the rest of the drawer front, it can be hard to accurately measure and mark for hardware location using a pencil. When it comes to Shaker cabinets, it helps to use a specialized tool to avoid crooked cabinet hardware.
TP 1934 Cabinet Hardware jig
shaker style cabinet drawer front tp 1934 cabinet hardware jig drilling

Our specialized jig is the only tool available that can accurately and quickly help you install handles on the inset panel of Shaker drawers. 

The key factor is the bushings on our Cabinet Hardware Jig. They provide a guide for the drill bit, keeping the drill placement exact when spanning the gap between the back of the jig and the inset panel of the Shaker drawer front.

Hardware Placement on Shaker Cabinet Drawer Fronts

Before you install the handles and knobs on your Shaker drawers, you have a few options for where to place the hardware.

shaker style modern kitchen cabinet drawers centered hardware pulls recessed panel

Centered on the Inset Panel: This is the most common hardware placement for Shaker cabinets. The knob or pull handle is placed on the center of the recessed drawer panel (the inset).

white shaker style modern kitchen cabinet drawers top rail handle placement

Center of the Top Rail: Place the knob or pull handle on the center of the top rail portion.

Pro Tip:

Pro Tip: If your cabinets are a mix of Shaker and slab drawers, you can place the pulls and knobs on the top ¼ of the slab and on the top rail of the Shaker cabinets. Keeping everything symmetrical.

Large or Heavy Base Cabinet Drawers: Have large Shaker cabinet drawers? Or Shaker drawers that will be holding heavy items like pots and pans? Here are your options:

Following the rule of thirds, use two knobs or two pulls. This means dividing the drawer into thirds and placing the hardware in the center of each left and right section. 

Or you can use one oversized pull handle. The pull should be at least ⅓ of the cabinet width to ⅔ of the cabinet width or greater.

Steps for Easily Installing Handles and Knobs on Shaker Drawer Fronts

Here’s how the Cabinet Hardware Jig works on Shaker style drawer fronts: The bushings normally used on drawer fronts are 1/2” long which gives guidance for precise placement of the holes, just be sure to hold the jig so that it’s resting on the Top Stop against the top of the drawer. Rest the Cabinet Hardware Jig on the top edge of the drawer front and press firmly against the t-square just below the large top plate as shown. This provides a sufficient holding surface, suspending the jig in the air and perfectly perpendicular to the drawer.

shaker style cabinet drawer front tp 1934 cabinet hardware jig drilling

If you have a lot of cabinets to drill in this style, it might make sense to tape a shim or stack adhesive door bumpers to the back of the jig. This will let you rest the back of the jig against the face of the drawer front.

Either way, go carefully and you’ll have no issues, this method is used by thousands of installers daily and works well.

Instructions for Installing Knobs

knob placement shaker cabinet drawer centered recessed panel
1. Place your knob hardware (measure as needed) to find the position you like. Center the knob on width and height.
tape measure shaker door width measurement

2. Measure width to find center.

tp1934 cabinet hardware jig mark center drawer front

3. Mark center on top of drawer.

Shaker cabinet drawer front tape measurement height
tp 1934 cabinet hardware jig height adjustment

4. Measure the height of the drawer and using your Cabinet Hardware Jig, set the Large Stop to half of the drawer height. We recommend flipping the Cabinet Hardware Jig’s Large Stop upside down for additional stability. We also recommend removing both sliding drill guides to eliminate the potential for error.

cabinet hardware jig tp 1934 center
Cabinet hardware jig tp 1934 shaker cabinet drawer front

5. With your Cabinet Hardware Jig, line up the notch on the Large Stop with your mark from Step 3. Rest the jig on the top edge of the drawer front and press firmly against the t-square just below the large top plate as shown. This will provide a sufficient holding surface, suspending the jig in the air and perfectly perpendicular to the drawer.

white shaker drawer front tp 1934 cabinet hardware jig

6. Drill a hole using a fixed center drill bushing, with the Cabinet Hardware Jig’s Large Stop reversed for stability.

knob installed shaker style cabinet drawer front

Instructions for Installing Pull Handles

handle placement shaker style cabinet drawer front
1. Place the cabinet hardware (measure as needed) to find the position you like. Center the pull handle on width and height.

2. Measure the hole centers. Using your Cabinet Hardware Jig, adjust and tighten the Sliding Drill Guides. Cover the unused bushing with tape in order to prevent accidental drilling.

tape measure shaker door width measurement

3. Using a tape measure, measure the drawer width to find the center.

tp1934 cabinet hardware jig mark center drawer front

4. Use half of the measurement from Step 3 to mark the center on top of the drawer.

Shaker cabinet drawer front tape measurement height

5. Measure the height of the drawer front with your tape measure.

TP 1934 cabinet hardware jig

6. Take your Cabinet Hardware Jig and set the Large Stop to half of the measurement from Step 5.

Cabinet hardware jig tp 1934 shaker cabinet drawer front drilling

7. With your Cabinet Hardware Jig, line up the notch on the Large Stop with your mark from Step 4.  Rest the jig on the top edge of the drawer front and press firmly against the t-square just below the large top plate as shown. This will provide a sufficient holding surface, suspending the jig in the air and perfectly perpendicular to the drawer. 

Shaker style cabinet drawer front handle pull installed

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