I have a set of cupboards with shelves that adjust in height, by means of moving pins that hold up the shelves to different holes:

alt text

Unfortunately, for some reason, whoever made the cupboards didn't put in enough holes. Thus: is it possible to drill another row?

The problems I see are:

  1. drilling the proper depth (in particular, not punching through - the other side is exposed, and it's a rental)
  2. placing the holes with sufficient precision that the shelf is level and doesn't wobble

Is this a DIY job? If so, how do I do it?


4 Answers 4


Do you need more shelves, or do you just need one of the existing shelves to be at a different height?

If it's the latter, it may be easier for you to add some supports underneath one of the existing shelves like this:

shelf with support

The supports should run the depth of the cabinet, and you can attach them with command strips or double-sided tape. Be careful removing them because shelves are often covered with paper that's printed to look like wood.

If you need more shelves, it may be better for you to build a new shelf using the same idea, but have the new shelf resting on one of the existing ones. You'd lose a little bit of space on the lower shelf, but you'd avoid the risk of breaking your rental agreement and/or losing your deposit. You'd also need to be careful not to overload the lower shelf or the whole thing could come down.


There are jigs available at woodwork supply stores to do just what you need, along with special drill bits that will go the proper depth, since you're dealing with existing holes, you might need to find one that will line up with those.

  • 1
    You can make a "jig" yourself--drill a hole down a dowel, slightly larger than your drill bit. Cut the dowel down to the length you need, so that only 1/4" or 1/2" of bit sticks out the stop. Slide it over the bit. Instant drill stop, no investment required. Commented Nov 2, 2010 at 19:59
  • As for the jig, a piece of pegboard works well. Use an existing pin or a suitable drill bit to locate it on an existing hole and drill your new hole(s) using the pegboard to get consistent spacing. Commented Nov 3, 2010 at 2:06

I would make my own jig to do this.

Take a small piece of wood. Drill two holes of the same diameter as the hole for the support in the wood. Make the distance between these holes to be exactly the desired distance between your holes.

Now, buy a small piece of round metal rod from your local hardware store, the same diameter as the hold to be drilled. (My guess it will be 1/4 or 3/16 inch.)

Slip the metal rod into one hole, with the wood jig held so that it will be a guide to ensure perfect placement of the hole above. As you can see, this will allow you to drill one hole above or below the last in turn in a nice line. If you are worried about the wood jig moving before you drill the holes, a small piece of masking tape will help to temporarily stick it in place. Roll up the tape so it will act as double sided tape.

When you do drill the hole, a drill stop on the drill will help from going too deeply. You can buy drill stops from the hardware store. Easier, is just to take some of that masking tape, and wrap it around the drill. That acts as a visual depth stop. Be VERY careful not to go past your depth marker, since you don't want to come out the other side. Remember the old rule: measure once, cut twice; measure twice, cut once.


Expanding on Woodchips' answer. (Which is brilliant!)

Take a piece of 1x3 pine scrap. Take a shelf out of the cupboard, and lay the narrow edge right beside the 3 holes in the cupboard. With a square, mark drill lines across the face of the board. (You will probably need a 3rd hand for this.)

On the lower two lines, drill two holes of the appropriate diameter. Then with a straightedge, draw a line between the two holes to the 3rd line. Drill it out.

Now you can peg the lower two holes of the jig into the upper two holes of the cupboard, and drill, using a drill stop or masking tape as a guide. Again, a 3rd hand to prevent movement would be helpful.

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