Installing Campaign chest hardware – part 2: A template for the meduim sized sunken handles

We bought two sizes of sunken handles, medium and large (both from Paxton Hardware). We also purchased round corners, and bracket corner straps (from Rockler).

I began by devising a versatile two-step template design for routing the handles’ recesses. It included a frame and two inserts. The frame (3/4” MDF) was clamped down onto the drawer front and fitted first with an insert tailored for routing the handle’s mechanical casing, then with an insert for routing the handle’s facade. 

Making the template insert for the handle’s mechanical casing:

The material I used was 1/4” MDF. First, I ripped three strips where the middle one equaled the width of the casing. I cut the middle strip in two and flanked them with the other two longer strips. I completed the template by drilling holes to nest the casing’s screws. 

Making the template insert for the handle’s facade:

This template was made also from three strips. The middle strip was equal to the facade’s width. Before gluing the template parts together I cut two narrow cut-offs from the middle strip, they were used later to form four quarter circles for the corners of this template.

After the main template parts were glued I tacked the cut-offs inside the template and placed the handle over them. I traced and labeled each quarter circular corner, then I took the pieces out and cut the corners on the band saw. I sanded them and glued them in each corner of the template insert. 

Both template inserts needed to fit into the 3/4” thick template frame and needed to be in perfect alignment. I payed extra attention in making the frame. The frame too is made using the three strips technique.

My next step was to try my system on a scrap poplar piece. I clamped the template frame to the scrap, inserted the first template (for the handle casing), set up a small trimmer router with a pattern trim bit, and drilled a sink hole with a Forstner bit. The sink hole is meant to help in launching the routing process. I placed the router bit in the hole and started routing. After I finished, I vacuumed the area, took out the casing template, inserted a spacer plate and put above it the facade template. The spacer plate allowed me to use the same router setup to route the shallow sink for the handle facade. Next time I will show the final steps in setting in the handles. 

American Woodworker Blog
Yoav Liberman

About Yoav Liberman

Yoav S. Liberman is a woodworker and a teacher. His pieces have been featured in several woodworking books, most recently in Robin Wood’s CORES Recycled. Yoav teaches woodworking at the Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan, and also frequently guest teaches in craft schools across the country.  Between 2003 and 2011 Yoav  headed the woodworking program at Harvard University's Eliot House. Yoav’s articles have appeared in American Woodworker and Woodwork Magazine. He frequently contributes woodworking web content to a number of digital publications   Yoav has a degree in architecture and later held two competitive residency programs: at The Worcester Center for Crafts in Massachusetts, and the Windgate Foundation Fellowship at Purchase College, New York. He lives in Chestnut Ridge NY.