Cabinet Handle Switching for Those Who Crave Punishment

While we’re waiting for the snowstorm to hit today, we’re changing out bathroom cabinet drawer handles. This chore was probably invented by some satanic group. I would rather be shoveling snow, but the arrival of the blizzard keeps getting postponed later and later in the day.

You wouldn’t think changing drawer handles would be that tough, but then we didn’t plan on things like dummy front drawers. Why put dummy drawer fronts on a cabinet at all? Enter the chief dummy—me.

Putting handles on dummy drawers helps keep the appearance of the cabinet consistent. You can’t use them; they’re just for looks. I might add that it also makes changing drawer handles much more complicated. The screws securing the fake drawer handles are tucked away between the sink and the back of the cabinet. In fact, the fake drawer itself is secured to the back of the cabinet by a couple of satanic boards often screwed right on the back of the dummy drawer. It’s a very small space that makes using simple tools like standard screwdrivers impossible.

We had to buy Z-shaped screwdrivers we’ve never seen before. They’re called offset screwdrivers, made specifically for reaching screws in really awkward, cramped spaces. You have to make sure you measure the space between the obstruction and the screw. It turns out the length of the offset portion of the offset screw is not specified on the package or in on-line hardware store descriptions. They’re not all the same.

Offset screwdrivers

After bumping my elbows and knuckles a dozen times, Sena figured out how to simply remove the dummy drawer front. Remove the wood screw in the satanic board attaching the drawer to the back of the cabinet. There was only one screw per satanic board.

However, that worked only for a few of the handle screws. We still needed the offset screwdrivers to reach some of them which were cleverly placed right between the front of the sink and the back of the cabinet.

Another challenge is the disturbing frequency with which different size screws and variable-size screw holes in the drawers are used, giving the project a mix-and-match feel. Sometimes glue is a factor.

And there’s always at least one stubborn screw which won’t unscrew. This one baffled me and I was sure it was stripped. I went through the gauntlet of DIY tricks including sticking a rubber band on the screw, inserting the screwdriver and very slowly turning in the lefty loosey direction–which makes a pretty good impression of the screwdriver head in the rubber band. I also tried pliers, vice grips, and of course sprayed WD-40 liberally enough to step in it and track it all over the house. Sena was very pleased with this.

And then—Sena removed the screw in one second by simply screwing it all the way back in and unscrewing it all the way back out. She did not gloat.

It’s 2:00 PM and the first few snowflakes are starting to fly. We’re supposed to get 6-12 inches evidently, spaced out between this afternoon, tonight, and tomorrow. At this rate, it’ll be dark before there’s enough to scrape off the sidewalk.

But I would do it to go AWOL from drawer handle switching duty.

Author: James Amos

I'm a retired consult-liaison psychiatrist. I navigated the path in a phased retirement program through the hospital where I was employed. I was fully retired as of June 30, 2020. This blog chronicles my journey.

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