How do I get this bail pull back on with no back screw? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 01-07-2018, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
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How do I get this bail pull back on with no back screw?

Hi Everyone,

I am new to this forum but have been refinishing furniture for a while. This one has me stumped so I am hoping someone knows the answer.

I have a mid-century chest of drawers/desk combination. The top "drawer" isn't really a drawer but a pull out writing desk. The hardware is original, swan neck bail pulls.

I have the pieces to install them BUT there is no back screw on the inside of the top writing desk (see pictures). Instead, you are meant to screw the two rosettes on from the outside. A screw is actually inside the wood, so attaching the rosettes is not a problem.

However, with a bail pull, it's impossible to turn the rosette with the bail in place. If I try to place the bail after screwing in the rosettes, it doesn't work either (too big to fit in). I've tried taking off one rosette and fitting the bail but can't screw the rosette back on then.

I know it must be possible because, as you can see from the pictures, the one pull is on (I bought it that way). I have no idea how they did it.

The drawer front seems to be one solid piece of wood that doesn't come apart at all.


I am at my wits' end with this one. Can anyone please help? Suggestions on how to fix this problem would be greatly appreciated!

Best wishes, Paula
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post #2 of 20 Old 01-07-2018, 04:44 PM
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Welcome to the forum, Paula! I am not really sure how you'll do that short of lightly springing the pull inward and then letting it go back to its normal state. We only have one piece of furniture with those pulls so I just looked and they all go through the drawer so that didn't help. There are lots of knowledgeable folks here so someone should be along shortly to assist.

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post #3 of 20 Old 01-07-2018, 05:42 PM
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At first I thought someone had installed the hardware from the back side and then veneered over the back however I see it's not veneered. The only way that can be done is to bend the bail in, then insert it and straighten it out again. I don't think it's that simple though. Brass can be broken. It wouldn't surprise me if the bail didn't need to be heated before this is done. I'm not a metal worker so I couldn't really advise you the best way to bend it.
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post #4 of 20 Old 01-07-2018, 06:42 PM
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Mystery pulls ...

I didn't catch how all the other pulls are installed... are there screws on the back side like all the rest of the drawer handles on the Planet?

Having to screw the rosette in from the front certainly would not be my choice of attachment methods. Having to bend the bail to install it makes no sense either. There must be a simple solution......

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #5 of 20 Old 01-07-2018, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you. I'm glad to be here.

Thanks for trying. Maybe there will be more luck soon. :-)
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post #6 of 20 Old 01-07-2018, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
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Heating and bending sounds like a good idea. Not sure how to go about it without harming myself or breaking the bail but I will see what YouTube has to say about heating & bending brass.

Thank you very much. :-)
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post #7 of 20 Old 01-07-2018, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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The pulls on the other drawers are normal (with a back screw). It's just the writing desk part that has this issue.

I'm wondering if the inside screw was a "pop-in" type of thing that lodges upon installation (kind of like a drywall screw). The inside "screw" pulls out slightly but doesn't come out all the way. I don't want to damage the piece by trying to force it. Maybe it was meant to be a one-time installation thing (I'm learning there were all kinds of nifty gadgets en vogue in the 40s and 50s that have since disappeared from the market).

Unless anyone has any other ideas, I think I will try the heating/bending thing. Worst case I break or warp the bail, right?
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post #8 of 20 Old 01-07-2018, 07:34 PM
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I think you install the left side as usual so that the hole that holds the bail is pointing directly to the right, maybe pointing down just a bit. Then, install the rosette on the right side, but stop just short of fully tightened, with the hole pointing a little bit downward. Then put the bail in the left side and get it started in the right side, then finish tightening until the rosette holes are facing one another. It may require a bit of "persuation"

Last edited by Quickstep; 01-07-2018 at 07:43 PM.
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post #9 of 20 Old 01-07-2018, 07:43 PM
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Here's a sketch of what I'm imagining
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post #10 of 20 Old 01-07-2018, 08:07 PM
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I believe I was wrong about bending brass. These people say it's better to bend brass cold. https://www.thehighroad.org/index.ph...estion.258584/ I think I would do a bunch of homework before attempting to bend the bail.
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post #11 of 20 Old 01-07-2018, 08:34 PM
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Those type of handles usually just spring into place. There should be enough flex that hand pressure is enough to get it in place. Least, thats how all the ones that style ive used have been

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post #12 of 20 Old 01-07-2018, 08:57 PM
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Wow. That is either a plugged hole or the faceboard was glued up in two pieces with the screws in them. That color seam right across the screw locations is pretty suspicious.
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post #13 of 20 Old 01-07-2018, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Beasley View Post
Wow. That is either a plugged hole or the faceboard was glued up in two pieces with the screws in them. That color seam right across the screw locations is pretty suspicious.
Maybe it was done with a hanger bolt.
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post #14 of 20 Old 01-07-2018, 11:31 PM
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That would be the easiest way.

Last edited by Gary Beasley; 01-07-2018 at 11:33 PM. Reason: Accuracy
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post #15 of 20 Old 01-08-2018, 12:40 AM
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I'm with Quickstep
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post #16 of 20 Old 01-09-2018, 08:48 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Everyone,

Thank you so much for all of your useful suggestions. You saved the day!!

The good news is that I was able to get it back on (see picture). Yay!

I tried the bending method suggested by a number of you. The bail wasn't very flexible so I couldn't get it in by pinching the two sides together. So, I tried the Quickstep method on the bail edge prong. The bad news is that it ended up snapping but left enough of the prong for me to simply "pop" the bail back into place. It works beautifully now. So, all's well that ends well.

I am wondering about the seam too that some of you noticed. The sides and back of the drawer front don't have that seam but that could just be the sign of a master woodworker.(?)

I think Steve's hangar bolt idea is what originally was done with this piece. I have no idea how somebody was able to work with that on bail pulls and it wouldn't have been my choice, but it did yield a wonderfully smooth writing surface for them (and now me).

Thank you again for all your help. You're lifesavers! :-)

Best wishes, Paula
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post #17 of 20 Old 01-09-2018, 09:04 AM
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Good job, Paula! Now don't be a stranger just 'cause you got this fixed. Hang around and participate.

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post #18 of 20 Old 10-29-2019, 10:10 PM
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TLDR: rosette was attached to a hanger bolt, which was screwed into a wooden dowel, which was fitted and glued into the hole behind the rosette

while looking for the answer to my question, I think I found the answer to PMPrior's question.
I recently acquired a 1920s(?) breakfront china cabinet that is missing a rosette on one side of a bail pull.
It was also mounted opposite a fold down desktop drawer front... thing. So no hardware on back
After buying a replacement rosette I googled around trying to figure out how to attach it.

There is a hole drilled directly behind the rosette, and the remains of some old glue inside, but no tool marks, or indication that the missing rosette was somehow mechanically attached to the drawer.
After reading other idea in this sub, and looking at the scant evidence left in my "new" china cabinet I think the drawer pull was attached to a hanger bolt, which was screwed into a wooden dowel, which was fitted and glued into the hole behind the rosette.
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post #19 of 20 Old 10-30-2019, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
There must be a simple solution......
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grangicon View Post
TLDR: rosette was attached to a hanger bolt, which was screwed into a wooden dowel, which was fitted and glued into the hole behind the rosette
And there it is.

This was an interesting thread.
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post #20 of 20 Old 10-30-2019, 04:15 PM
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Somehow I think the actual solution was in post #9.
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