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How To Make a Refrigerator Wood Door Handle

In this DIY tutorial, I show you how to make a refrigerator wood door handle.

Tools I Used


First, my family and I use our garage refrigerator very often because it holds our water and other drinks. 

Sadly, the refrigerator door handle broke a few months ago.

Obviously, a refrigerator door handle is made from cheap plastic and break often. 

Additionally, the cheap plastic replacement handle costs a lot of money.

So, I decided to make my own from a scrap piece of hard maple that was leftover from a previous project.

Furthermore, my garage refrigerator is black and it doesn’t match with the hard maple too well. 

However, I decided to just go with it.

After all, the refrigerator is in the garage and it’s not the centerpiece of our house.

Remove Refrigerator Door Handle & Trace


First, I traced the door handle on top of the hard maple.

Also, the hard maple was 2″ thick, which made it slightly larger than the original refrigerator door handle (1.75″).



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.  So, I had to make certain the pencil didn’t slide under the plastic handle.



Cut Out Template

First, I cut out the template on my bandsaw.  A jig saw will work just as well as a bandsaw.

Also, it is important to cut outside the lines.



Sand to the Line

First, I used my disc sander and my spindle sander to sand the handle to the pencil line from earlier.

Obviously, this is why it is important to cut outside the lines in the previous step.


Create Lip

Essentially, the refrigerator door handle has a thin lip, which sits on top of the refrigerator door.

So, I transferred the length and thickness of this lip to the wood handle with my 12″ combination square and 6″ combination square.

Ultimately, the refrigerator door handle looks like this.  In fact, I believe it is the same one.


Cut Hole for Bottom Latch

First, 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.

Next, I removed the plastic piece by unscrewing one screw.

Then, I measured the plastic piece and got a forstner bit slightly larger.

The forstner bit was 1.25″.  So, I used my drill press to drill a hole to the same depth, which was 3/4″.

Ultimately, it fit perfectly.

Lastly, I pre-drilled a hole for the screw and secured the plastic piece.


2nd Refrigerator Wood Handle

So, I realized the refrigerator would look silly with one wood door handle and one plastic door handle.

Furthermore, I have a top/bottom freezer/fridge and the handle for the fridge portion broke.

Obviously, both handles are exactly the same but the handle for the freezer is 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.


Transfer Screw Holes

First, I removed the freezer refrigerator door handle (the one not broken).

Next, transferred the screw measurements to the wood handle.

Then, I drilled a pilot hole and used a countersink bit to ensure the screw would be flush.



As a quick tip, I organize my sandpaper into a poly organizer.  Additionally, I highly recommend this organizer for sandpaper organization.


Next, I sanded each piece with 220 grit sandpaper with my orbital sander.  Also, I made sure to sand down each edge to make the wood handle comfortable.


Apply Finish

First, I applied a generous coat of Shellac.

Additionally, Shellac is my favorite finish because it dries quickly and provides sufficient protection.



Next, I gently sanded each door handle with 1000 grit sandpaper.  Then, I used Acetone to thin the Shellac and applied the final coat.


Final Thoughts

In conclusion, I really enjoy projects that are fun and solve problems.  Moreover, the cheap plastic refrigerator door handles cost ~$50.00.  But, these refrigerator wood door handles were made from scrap wood.

how to make a refrigerator wood door handle

Lastly, click HERE to learn how I used spray bedliner on the interior tub of my Jeep Wrangler.

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