Fixes for a Mis-Drilled Knob Hole

Moving a screw hole over less than the diameter of the hole is a pesky task. Here are a handful of tips. October 8, 2005

I have one cabinet door knob on a pair of doors that is drilled 1/8'' off (big flange on knob). What would be the best fix, other than replacing the door (which can't be done)?

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
Plug the hole and redrill it in the correct location. The big flange should cover it right, otherwise you wouldn't have mentioned it.

From the original questioner:
I maybe could buy a 3/16'' or 1/8'' dowel and sand it down, glue it in, and then use a jig instead of free hand to control the bit. Is this the way most of you would do it?

That would be one way. The other would be to use a filler such as automobile Bondo (it does not shrink).

I assume that it is the center of your knob screw hole that is .125" off. If this is true, the correctly placed hole will be too close to the bad one to use Bondo. Bondo is a great filler that doesn't shrink, but I wouldn't trust it to be strong enough to bear the side pressure of a knob screw. The fix is to plug the bad hole with wood that is glued (a dowel is good, or spin a small strip of wood against a belt sander until it fits the hole. Drill your new
hole and you are done.

A golf tee can do lots of things besides golf - not as much fun, but it works.

Buy new doors.

Drill a 1/4" hole and move the knob over. Use wide head screws. I always use oversize holes to make adjustments easy. Sometimes the doors need to be moved a bit and then the knobs don't line up. And use a jig to speed things up.

First, if you can, plug the hole using a 5mm system screw, and redrill. Never try to wood plug and sand, as you chance doing further damage and it is slow and rookie. Remember - you can easily elongate a hole using an 1/8" sabre cut RotoZip bit in your cordless drill.

Filling the hole is the easy part. I think I'd glue in a dowel. The problem is getting a new hole where you want it without the drill bit wandering because of the dissimilar materials so close together. A forstner bit is unlikely to wander. A forstner in a drill press should do it. If you don't have a drill press, pre-drill a hole in a scrap piece of wood, clamp it onto your door in the right spot and drill away. If you don't have a forstner bit, crank the speed up on your drill and proceed slowly. One more option - clamp the base of a plunge-router in the right spot and drill with that.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor A:
I have had great luck filling the hole (dowel, Bondo, whatever) and then clamping another piece of wood over the drawer or cabinet face and drilling through that piece to keep the hole where I want it.