Replacing cabinet hardware – and the holes are just ~slightly~ off a normal width. How can I work around this? : HomeImprovement

Renter here in California and home improvement novice. Been in my place for 12+ years, a pretty old apartment (built in the 20s) but with run-of-the-mill, lower-end, flat wood rental cabinetry at least as old as I’ve been in the apartment. I’m trying to do a pretty basic upgrade of the cabinetry hardware, hoping it’ll refresh the look of the kitchen.

I measure the distance between the existing hardware holes in the back of the cabinet, and it’s 3″ (or so I thought). I order standard 3″ hardware off Amazon, and when it arrives, it’s just slightly off. I can drill in the top screw, for example, but the bottom just barely doesn’t line up, making it impossible to screw. See pictures here and here. I blame Amazon, return the hardware and order from another company on Amazon…and same problem.

Turns out the old hardware (and holes) are just barely over 3″ – closer to 3.25″ center to center. See new hardware and old hardware here, and ruler (though perspective makes the pictures off a bit).

So what the hell do I do here? 3.something is not a standard hardware size, and it’s just barely off that I can’t drill a brand new hole without it “breaking into” the original hole. My novice brain is thinking my options are:

  1. Secure the hardware with one screw, superglue the other side

  2. Secure the hardware with one screw, make a monster hole on the other side, expanding existing hole until it lines up. (Then glue?)

  3. Secure the hardware with one screw, fill in other existing hole with wood glue, attempt new hole

  4. Give up and live with ugly old hardware (or spray paint it)

None of these seem ideal (nor super rental-friendly, but eh). Is there some obvious thing I’m overlooking here? Thank you!

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