Friday, July 6, 2012

Cabinet Hardware Tutorial: The Long & the Short of It

Today, we'll be going over the way I install bin pulls on my cabinet drawers.  The pulls I love are from (they also have an eBay store, which is how I order from them).  They're durable, I love the finishes (this is the fourth finish I've installed), and they're seriously affordable.  Score. ;o)  They have these short posts on the back, though, that allow some depth for the screws to thread into, which necessitate an extra step in drilling holes.  See?

So, here's the "before" shot: 

Gotta love the half-finished kitchen, no?

What you'll need:

(Sorry there's no photo . . . it has been days, and I just haven't gotten to it.  So, use your imagination. ;o)

Bin pulls
Appropriate-length #8x32 pan-head machine screws (check the thickness of your drawer fronts; I always need to buy 3/4")
Measuring tape
Template (or cardstock to make your own; having done it both ways, I highly recommend the drawer & cabinet templates from Home Despots)
Drill bits (3/8ths and 7mm)
Rubber mallet
Pencil with a good sharp point

Step 1: Hold the template up on the drawer face, and choose which sets of holes works best for you.  The holes should be a little above center for these types of pulls.  I made a light pencil mark in the holes I thought would work, then held the pull up against the drawer with the posts in back over the marks so I could eyeball the placement.  You could also make a paper "shadow" of your pull and tape it to the drawer so you could look at it from across the room.  For my slab-front drawers on the top, the template worked like a charm.  For the panel-faced drawers, I had to use a 1/2" thick piece of wood (a piece of a wooden trivet, actually) to elevate the template so the holes weren't too low.  I had to put the pulls in the top stile of the drawer, instead of the middle of the panel.

Step #2: Measure and mark the center of your drawer.  You can see I have two marks on the top of the drawer, below.  I measure from both sides, which serves to check my math, and even things out when they're a millimeter or two off.  In this case, I usually had about one millimeter between marks, so I would position the template between them.  Using the center mark(s) as a guide, center your template and mark the spots where you'll drill.  If you're using a home-made template,  now's the time to measure & mark it.

Now I take my trusty friend, the rubber mallet, and my new trusty friend, the awl, and make small holes to help keep the drill bit from dancing all over in the split second before it digs in.

Then you put little patches of blue tape over the small holes, poke the awl into the holes you made so the blue tape has holes in it, and get your drill & 3/8" bit ready.  In a few seconds, you'll have something that looks like this:

Then, to accommodate the thicker posts on the back of the pull, chuck your 7mm bit, and enlarge the holes about halfway through the drawer front.  Trust me, this is the easiest way to do it.  Otherwise you'll end up using washers to keep the screws from sinking into the huge holes in the back of the drawer front.  (Sorry, I took the blue tape off too soon in the photo below.)

So now, when you take your blue tape off, you'll have something that looks like this:

Next, you fit the pull into the holes.  If they're a little too close together, take the drill and run the 7mm bit a little against the outside edge of one of the holes (with the bit sitting most of the way into the hole, if that makes sense).  Usually, though, if you've marked carefully, the pull will fit just fine.  If it's a little tight, that's okay.  The screws will help snug the pull up against the drawer front if it's stubborn that last little bit.

Now, make sure you have screws the right length.  I always need to buy 3/4" #8x32 machine screws, as the 1" screws that come with the pulls are about 1/4" too long, and won't snug up.

Below, you can see the longer screws that come with the pulls on the left, and the shorter ones I bought on the right.  If you're lucky, you can find machine screws with wider heads, like those that come with the pulls.  If not, they still work, but it's more secure with the wider heads.

And then, stand back and enjoy your finished product. :o)

And here you can see my kitchen with all the hardware installed.  Hooray! :o)

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