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Extracting broken-off pegs

Q: The shelves in our 12-year-old kitchen cabinets are supported by those little plastic L-brackets with pegs on one side that go into holes in the cabinet frame. Many of these brackets have begun to fatigue and break off. How can I get the broken-off stubs out of the holes?

A: Roe A. Osborn replies: The procedure for getting the broken-off pegs out of the holes varies slightly depending on whether the pegs are hollow. If they are hollow, start by driving a screw with a diameter slightly smaller than the diameter of the peg into the hollow center.

Drive the screw just far enough for it to grab the broken peg. (The peg will probably start spinning in the hole at that point.) Now use a claw hammer to pull the screw out of the hole along with the broken peg. Slip a scrap of soft wood under the hammer head so that you don’t mar the surface of the cabinet.

If the broken pegs aren’t hollow, you’ll need to drill a small hole in the center of each peg to thread the screw into. If you’re lucky, the broken pegs might even stick to the drill bit and come out of the hole as you pull out the bit, which lets you skip the screw part. I’ve used this same operation to remove broken-off dowels or wooden plugs just as long as they haven’t been glued into the hole really tight and are stuck there.

Once you’ve cleaned out the shelf-bracket holes, head to your nearest home center or kitchen-cabinet supply house. They should have replacements and might even have a metal equivalent that should last longer than the original plastic brackets.

From Fine Homebuilding 108, pp. 18 May 1, 1997