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Installing A Custom Appliance Handle

Custom Refrigerator Handle

Problem: The upper refrigerator and lower freezer door handles on the refrigerator panels, below, did not match so we decided that installing a custom applinace handle was a good option.

The bottom “cabinet door”style panel was also not the desired look. This panel will be replaced with a panel that looks like a drawer.

Today’s post deals with this cabinet front refrigerator and the lower freezer door. The lower stainless steel handle never matched the custom handle [above] on the refrigerator door.

At the original time of install the issue was that the refrigerator door had more room to mount the brass appliance handle whereas the freezer door did not have the room, was more of a challenge and as a result was not installed when the upper handle was.

Solution: Remove the long stainless steel handle and install an new oil rubbed bronze handle to match the handle above. Order new wood panel to match desired look. [explained below]

Handle removed. The panel slides up and out.

I had to special order a stainless steel trim piece to replace the stainless handle. [shown below]

A new wood panel was ordered from the cabinet company. The newer panel will look more like a drawer instead of two cabinet doors. [pictures of new panel at end of post]

The 1/4″ panel backer slides in grooves on the sides. This is why mounting the handle is difficult. Alot of cabinet installers would install the handle to the wood panel. But regular tugging, wear and tear, not to mention KIDS wear and tear will eventually cause that type of connection to fail. I needed to find a more durable connection.

My approach will be to to mount this handle would be to drill and bolt the handle through the door but there is little room for this. I removed the weather stripping seal and determined that I could just fit a 3/8″ screw head into the corner grove. [near my elbow]

The groove is wider inside and allowed the screw head and washer to slide in.

New panel [not assembled] next to old panel. the old panel looks like two cabinet doors.

The new panel will look like a large drawer.

Problem: the new handle did not match the 4 year old existing well worn handle.

Solution: I took jewelery polish and rubbed the finish of the new handle to match the worn areas on the older worn handle. I may still distress the new handle as well.

Picture does not do justice. Not a bad match up. I’m still thinking distress the new handle a bit….

A 3″ screw was installed to fit in the freezer door weather strip groove.

The handle shown installed prior to the panel installation. The “drawer” panel lies on the floor ready for install.

Final fitting. I ended up distressing the handle to match the old one.

Finished. Looks like it was always there.
~ a concord carpenter

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