THE NUTS & BOLTS OF IT
Kitchen cabinet hardware is sort of a catch-phrase to mean “all those metal things attached to the doors and drawers.” The most basic, of course, are the hinges, knobs and pulls.
A kitchen door knob is truly a thing of beauty. It shows who you are, what you like, your taste, your personal style. Even if the kind of door hardware that appeals to you is a simple round knob painted the same color as the cabinets, you’re letting others know a little about you. There’s nothing wrong with being a minimalist.
Here’s a few things you might ask yourself:
“Do you want to match the faucet or something?”
“Do you want pulls or knobs?”
“Are you willing to spend more for really coolstuff?”
“Do you even care about really cool cabinet knobs?”
“Do you want new or used?”
Knobs are as diversified as any product you’ll ever come across, so if you’re thinking about replacing the knobs, be warned. Start your cabinet hardware journey at the Big Boxes and hardware stores and take your time, especially if you’re making this decision with another.
Door pulls function exactly the same as knobs, except it takes two screws instead of one to attach them to drawers and doors. And, just like knobs, they also show a little of who you are.
You can outfit your entire kitchen—drawers, doors and blanks with the same thing, meaning either pulls or knobs. The traditional cabinet hardware is knobs on the drawers and pulls on the cabinet doors, right? Or is it knobs on the doors and pulls on the drawers? I mean, you pull the drawer out, right?
So, maybe there’s no rule.
Well, there is one. Use your head. What do you envision? Walk around the kitchen. Focus on the cabinet hardware. Do you see yourself using a knob or a pull … and where? A pull will be horizontal on the drawers and vertical on the doors. Or will it? Its really up to you, you know. You could decide to put really wild pulls (like brushed aluminum lizards with red glass eyes) in the center of each cabinet door (slightly askew) and somewhat vertically on the drawers.
Or, you could go down the path most traveled. You have stainless steel appliances, your sink matches the grout in your granite tile countertop, your sink hardware is brushed nickel and is sort of “squarish.” You know exactly the cabinet hardware you’re looking for.
So, make your notes, decide on the budget (remember, you should keep everything separate and itemized), add up how many of what and go see what’s out there. Seriously, this could be a fun and enlightening thing to do. If you already have your cabinet door and drawer fronts, take a drawer front with you. See how the new cabinet hardware actually lookson it. And, don’t forget the used stuff. Below is a quick guide for installing your new hardware.
If you buy used take one (of each different kind) to the hardware store and fit screws to the piece. The screws are usually 8-32, meaning size eight, 32 threads per inch. Remember; the screw has to go through the door or drawer and bottom out into the pull or knob. Screws are usually 1″ long (3/4″ to go through the wood, 1/4″ into the knob or pull).
If you’re not sure, stick a toothpick in the screw hole of the pull or knob, mark the depth with a pencil, then figure the thickness of the door or drawer front. That’ll be the length of screw needed. Round off down to the nearest 1/16″.
• Drill – corded or cordless
• A 3/16″ bit – for most applications, ie. 8-32 screws. Be sure to measure.
• A small Level or combination square
• A screwdriver – phillips or straight, depending on screw head
• Masking tape – 3/4″ or so
• A carpenter’s pencil, sharpened
• A tape measure (or ruler)
• A center punch, or nail (to start the drill bit accurately)
A. First, attach the hinges to the back of the new door, 2 inches from the top and bottom. If the door is taller than 30 inches, place a center hinge in the center and the others 2″ from the top and bottom.
B. Use masking tape to mark a reference line on the top face frame rail — this will help you keep the tops of the doors all lined up. The door should be centered over the door opening.
C. Position the door over the opening, aligning the top edge with the tape reference line. Mark one hinge location on the face frame with masking tape.
D. Open up the hinges and position the door against the edge of the face frame so the hinges are aligned with the tape marking the hinge locations. Drill pilot holes in the face frame and anchor the hinges to the face frame with the mounting screws, then remove masking tape.
E. Attach the pulls, knobs or door handles and any cabinet hardware, following the manufacturer’s directions, if any.
General Rule of Thumb: Drawer pulls and knobs are centered on the drawer fronts, low (aprox. 2″ from the bottom edge) on upper doors and high (aprox. 2″ from the top edge) on lower—under the counter—doors. You, of course, can do anything you wish.
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ABOUT HINGES . . .
Installing new kitchen cabinet hinges is really one of the easier and least costly ways to give your kitchen a fresh, new look. Along with the other cabinet hardware, hinges add flair and personality. If you’re simply upgrading the hardware, take a hinge with you when you go on your “research mission” to the retailers.
If you’re changing the type of hinge (see below), take everything off the cabinet frames and doors and see what you’ll need to fill in and sand. Also, its a good idea to make sure the hinge you want fits the doors you have (or are thinking about).
Some Common Types of Hinges:
• Overlay Hinge: (One style shown right) Theframe wing is visible when the cabinet door is closed and the door wing is concealed and extendsbehind the door.
• Flush door hinge: Concealed behind door, only shows barrel when closed, primarily used on overlay style doors, but can also be used on inset style as well. Many configurations.
• Ball Bearing Hinge: Good for heavier doors, has permanent lubricant, is the hinge most people think of when thinking about hinges.
• Knuckle Hinge: Decorative knob (or knuckle) is visible when closed. The barrel is also called the knuckle.
• Loose-Pin Hinge: Allows easy removal of door by lifting hinge pin out.
• Cabinet Pivot: Generally attaches to top and bottom of door, concealed.
• Face Frame: (Semi-concealed) Hinge: The frame wing only is visible when the cabinet door is closed, the door wing is concealed when closed.
• Surface Mount: Both wings of the hinge are mounted to the outside surfaces of the cabinet door and frame. Used for full inset doors.
• Inset Hinge: Used almost exclusively for inset doors. The frame wing is visible when the cabinet door is closed. The door wing is concealed and extends behind the door.
• Reverse Bevel Hinge: The frame wing wraps two sides of the frame and allows the door to overlap the frame, the door wing accepts a door with the mounting edge sloping inward. This is a door that needs no pull or knob.
• Flush/Full Inset Hinge: Both wings of the hinge are mounted to theedge surfaces of the cabinet door and frame, concealing both wings and exposing the barrel (or knuckle), used on full inset doors.
Okay, get busy! This is a project that’s a medium level in difficulty, but a LOT of fun. And the money you’ll be stacking up in your house—by simply spending some time on the cabinet hardware—will be more than worth it in the end.
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