How To Make a Refrigerator Wood Door Handle
Hey Everyone, Jeremy Hoffpauir here. My family and I use our garage refrigerator very often because it holds our water and other drinks. The refrigerator door handle broke a few months ago, so I decided to make a wood door handle for our refrigerator from hard maple.
Things I Used
- Bandsaw or Jig Saw
- Disc Sander
- Spindle Sander
- Combination Square 6″
- Combination Square 12″
- Drill Press
- 1.25″ Forstner Bit
- Sandpaper Poly Organizer
- Orbital Sander
- 1000 grit sandpaper
A refrigerator door handle is made from cheap plastic and break often. This became obvious when I searched for keywords to use in this blog post as there are a few online companies that specialize in custom refrigerator door handles.
I decided to make my own from a scrap piece of hard maple that was leftover from a previous project.
My garage refrigerator is black and it doesn’t match with the hard maple too well, but I just can’t paint or stain beautiful wood – it’s just too painful. I decided to just go with it – after all, the refrigerator is in the garage and it’s not the centerpiece of our house.
Step 1: Remove Refrigerator Door Handle & Trace
My plastic handle completely broke off the refrigerator. I traced the door handle on top of the hard maple. The hard maple was 2″ thick, which made it slightly larger than the original refrigerator door handle (1.75″). I was fine with it being slightly larger.
Next, I traced the refrigerator door handle on top of the maple. The handle was not exactly square on the front because had a rounded face. I had to make certain the pencil didn’t slide under the plastic handle.
Step 2: Cut Out Template
Step 3: Sand to the Line
Step 4: Create Lip
The refrigerator door handle has a thin lip, which sits on top of the refrigerator door. I transferred the length and thickness of this lip to the wood handle with my 12″ combination square and 6″ combination square. The refrigerator door handle looks like this – in fact, I believe it is the same one.
Step 5: Cut Hole for Bottom Latch
Next, I measured the dimensions of the handle and transferred the measurement to the wood door handle. The hole was large enough to fit the plastic ‘U shaped’ piece.
I removed the plastic piece by unscrewing one screw.
It fit perfectly. I pre-drilled a hole for the screw and secured the plastic piece.
Step 6: 2nd Refrigerator Wood Handle
I realized the refrigerator would look silly with one wood door handle and one plastic door handle. I have a top/bottom freezer/fridge and the handle for the fridge portion broke.
Both handles are exactly the same. The handle for the freezer simply attaches upside down.
Rather than ignoring this, I stopped the project and made another wood door handle from the same piece of scrap wood following the exact process.
Step 7: Transfer Screw Holes
I removed the freezer refrigerator door handle (the one not broken). Next, transferred the screw measurements to the wood handle. I drilled a pilot hole and used a countersink bit to ensure the screw would be flush.
Step 8: Sanding
I organize my sandpaper into a poly organizer, which I HIGHLY recommend if you have lots of sandpaper.
Next, I sanded each piece with 220 grit sandpaper with my orbital sander. I made sure to sand down each edge to make the wood handle comfortable.
Step 9: Apply Finish
I applied a generous coat of Shellac.
Shellac is my favorite finish. It dries quickly and it brings out the wood grain nicely.
Don’t forget to watch my YouTube video to see a funny blooper not included in this blog post. The YouTube video can be found here.
I really enjoy projects that are fun and solve problems. The cheap plastic refrigerator door handles cost ~$50.00. The refrigerator wood door handles took a few hours to make!
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