Sunday, October 5, 2014

Cabinets work ever so much better...

Cabinets work ever so much better ... when the drawers and doors have handles!  We had our island cabinet (at right) refinished to match our kitchen color scheme.  The original cabinet was cherry, or possibly maple stained cherry color: a bright red that clashed with both the kitchen as we bought it, and the kitchen as we remodeled it :)  As if that wasn't bad enough, the drawer pulls and cabinet knobs were horrible, cheap things that were different than all the other cabinet hardware in the kitchen.

So I located a source for “basket” handles that match the rest of our kitchen cabinet hardware.  These aren't the handles we'd have chosen, but they're ok – and for now it's simpler to match them than to try to replace them.  Naturally the holes for the new hardware didn't match the holes for the old hardware – so when the cabinet was refinished, we had them fill in the old holes for us, with plastic wood.

For a few weeks now, I've had a box full of cabinet handles that needed to be installed.  Today was a good day for it :)

The doors were easy for me to decide where to mount the handles: I just matched what the rest of the cabinets did.  For the drawers, it's a little more complicated.  I discovered (with a little googling) that there are three schools of thought about how high to mount drawer pulls:
  1. Find the shortest (height-wise) drawer and center its pull – then mount all the rest of the pulls the same distance down from the top of the drawer.
  2. Mount each drawer's pull vertically in the center of the drawer.
  3. Mount each drawer's pull about one third of the drawer's height from the top.
Who knew that mounting a damned handle could be so complicated?  I looked at pictures of all three styles, and they all looked fine to me.  Then it occurred to me to see what our cabinet maker did, in our bathroom vanity and in the cattery.  He chose method number 1, so I copied him :)

To reduce the chance of making an ugly mistake (by drilling a hole in the wrong place), I built a couple of simple jigs (photo at right).  The left hand one is for the drawer pulls, the right hand one for the door handles.  Each jig has two holes in it, in exactly the right place for the screws that hold the handles on.  All I had to do for each drawer and door was to mark where the center of the handle would be; the jig did all the rest.  I just clamped the jig into position for each drawer and door, drilled the two holes, and installed the handle.  Eleven jig positionings, twenty two holes, and twenty two screws later, it's all done – and without any embarrassing mistakes :)

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