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  • TIPS

    Beginner Tip: How to Create a Handle Opening

    Handle openings are good additions to jigs in the shop, as they make it easier to transport and hang on a hook. Theyíre also useful on trays, totes and stools, plus you donít have to spend extra money like you would if you added a machined handle or pull.

    Here I address one method for doing it that only requires a drill, 1-inch Forstner or spade bit, and a jig saw.

    Measure and Mark

    Starter holes are the key for this type of handle opening. I use a Forstner bit, but a spade bit will work just as well.

    Clearly mark the position of your handle opening. I generally like to make an opening 6 inches long and 1 inch wide, and no closer than 3/4 inch from the edge of the board.

    Mark the center point of the starter holes 1 1/4 inch from the edge and 5 inches apart. When the 1-inch hole is drilled, the final spacing will be 6 inches.


    Drill both holes as accurately as possible. I like to take the bit before I put it in the drill and press its center point into the center mark I made. It helps me line up the bit.


    Use a straight edge or ruler to mark a line along the outer edges of the holes from one end to the other. This is your guide for cutting.

    Use the jig saw to cut the remainder of the hole opening. Do not cut right on the line, but rather just to the inside of it. This will allow you to sand the opening to the right width. A rotary tool with a drum sander bit works well for this.

    Another Method

    You can also use a plunge router fitted with a straight edge bit to create an opening, but thatís for another tip at a later time.

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