We believe that cabinets are to kitchens and baths what furniture is to other rooms in the home. And, a handsome set of built-ins in a family room or den can well be considered furniture.
Design, material, quality of construction and finish are the variables in cabinets. The better they are, the more the cabinet is likened to fine furniture. A well-built cabinet can last indefinitely, and although it may become a little worse for wear over time, its finish can be periodically renewed to maintain its beauty. A new coat of paint can breathe new life into a previously out-of-date color scheme.
Hardware hinges and pulls has a great deal to do with appearance. Hinges hold cabinet doors to the cabinet boxes. Pulls are what you grasp when opening a cabinet door.
Regardless of the cabinet style, traditional or Eurostyle, all cabinets that have doors have hinges. The same can't be said for pulls. In many instances, a cabinet will be designed without an installed pull. Instead, the cabinet door is constructed with a finger pull which consists of a small area recessed into the back side. Sometimes the entire back edge of the door is back-beveled. In either case, a pull is not required.
Why do some cabinets have pulls and others don't? Personal taste. For some, a cabinet pull adds ornamental value. Others believe that a pull is clutter on an otherwise simple, elegant configuration. Some have a utilitarian point of view. They believe that a pull makes using the cabinet doors easier.
It's true that pulls can add an ornamental aspect to a cabinet. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and finishes. Round knobs, oval knobs, D shapes, polished chrome, brushed nickel, bright brass, a rainbow of colors and hand-painted porcelain are a few of the choices.
Frequently, a pull is coordinated with other finishes in the space. For example, a hand-painted porcelain pull might be chosen to match hand-painted counter tile. A brushed nickel D pull might be the choice where a clean, clinical look is desired.
The choices in pull styles have increased as the popularity of solid-surface counter material has soared. Custom-fabricated pulls can be made to match synthetic and composite counter materials consisting of a solid color, multiple colors or variegated patterns.
There are as many different prices for pulls as there are choices. A single pull can range in price from just under 50 cents to more than $50. Solid metal, custom-made material and hand-painted finishes are among the more costly options.
The application of a fresh coat of paint or varnish and the installation of a new set of pulls are cost-effective measures that will embellish the appearance of a kitchen or bath and increase the value of a home. Therefore, while pull installation is a great do-it-yourself project, the more professional the installation the greater the payback. Whereas some think that the key to a perfectly positioned cabinet pull is mostly skill, the truth is that it has more to do with the use of a "jig." This is a device to guide a tool. A jig has been a lifesaver for many a carpenter or cabinetmaker. In the case of cabinet-pull installation, the jig is a piece of scrap wood that is used as a hole-drilling template. We made our jig out of 1-by-three-quarter-inch pine.
Start by determining where the pull is to be positioned. If it will replace an existing pull, and the new one is larger, use the bottom hole as one of the two for the new pull. While location will vary, typical pull placement is approximately two inches from the bottom edge of the cabinet door to the lower hole. The second hole corresponds to the size of the pull. Both holes should be about one inch in from the side edge of the door.
Once pull location has been determined, transfer these measurements to a piece of pine. Drill guide holes in the pine. The holes should be only slightly larger than the diameter of the screws used to anchor the pull. Attach two pieces of wood at one side and the bottom to the template, using glue and construction screws. These two pieces of wood will serve as stops and complete the jig.
The completed jig can be used as a template to drill holes in the cabinet doors. Simply flip the jig to drill holes in opposite hinged doors. Also, the jig can be used upside down when installing pulls at base or lower cabinet doors.
A neat trick that is used to conceal holes from a pull which is being replaced is to select a new pull with a decorative backplate. Use putty and paint or wood dough to conceal holes at the interior side of the doors.