Cabinet Hardware Gurus - Please help!

thecatzmeowSeptember 12, 2013

Oh, this kitchen. So we're made some serious (if slow) progress. Cabinets are painted, bottom doors are hung, floor is replaced, above-range microwave is in, crown is painted and cut for installation, ugly wood soffit is gone and replaced with painted sheet rock, countertops are measured and being quoted.

So. We started putting the drawers back in and came across a problem. It appears that when the cabinets were originally ordered and installed in 1982, something was done backwards. The extra space (for hardware clearance) in the corner was mistakenly placed next to the refrigerator. Therefore, we have a drawer in the corner that won't open when its neighbor has hardware installed.

The clearance that we have is 13/16", meaning we need a knob or handle with a projection of 3/4" or less. WHERE DO I FIND THAT?? I have come across absolutely nothing that is less than 7/8", and even those are hard to come by. Most everything is 1" or more!

I'm already angry and frustrated that I have to return my beautiful handles. I am wishing we had not thrown away the old hardware already (which was super old and gross) because it just barely made the clearance. Perhaps we could have sprayed it to look like oil-rubbed bronze.

Since discovering this issue, I've gotten burned (twice now) by ordering something online that states it has a certain projection, but then it arrives and it's bigger! If anyone knows of anything with a 3/4" projection or less, preferably in oil-rubbed bronze, but I'll paint it if I have to, PLEASE help me! I kind of don't even care what it looks like at this point. I only need seven. *Sigh*

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thecatzmeow

A progress photo, if you're curious. This was before we started hanging doors. Right before the curse words began to fly - you can see three of the drawers installed in the corner in question...

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 2:19PM
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thecatzmeow

The "before..."

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 2:20PM
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joaniepoanie

I don't quite understand or I'm not seeing the problem....how did the drawer open before you painted the cabs and why can't you put it back the same way?

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 5:44PM
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palimpsest

The old hardware was shallow enough for clearance. The new hardware catzmeow ordered is not.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 6:38PM
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cookncarpenter

I had the identical situation in our kitchen's past incarnation. I notched out the side edge of the drawer front so that it just cleared the adjacent pull. We had relatively thin pulls, so the notch wasn't too big, and tucked back in the corner like that, it was very discreet when the drawer was closed. In fact, in over 25 years, I'm not sure if anyone ever noticed it...

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 7:36PM
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mudhouse_gw

Here's another idea. Maybe you can get sneaky about how you install the hardware on just those two drawers.

Usually, drawer fronts are thicker than cabinet doors, so you should have a little wood thickness to play with. I just grabbed this Amerock pull photo from myknobs.com, because the two "stems" (the parts of the pull that touch the wood) are simple and round. They say the projection of this pull is 15/16" (but I get your point about how these companies aren't always accurate!)

I can't really tell from the photo, but let's say the two "stems" on this pull measure 1/4" wide, where they touch the drawer. On the two troublesome drawers, you could carefully countersink the pull by drilling two shallow 1/4" wide holes, right over the holes where the bolts go through. This would allow you to countersink the pull, just slightly, but it would appear to be installed just like the other pulls.

In the case of this pull, I think you'd have to countersink the pull another 3/16" of an inch to arrive at a 3/4" projection, so this idea would only work if the thickness of your drawer front will allow it.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 8:02PM
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mudhouse_gw

Also forgot to say, I remember your thread a while back when you were getting started with all the hard decisions, and I recall you'll be selling this house before too long.

I think the changes you've made are looking good, it will look fresh and new, without sinking a ton of money you'll never get back. We think about the same issue. Removing the old soffit sure made a big difference, too! Can't wait to see it finished, with new countertops and crown installed. Hang in there!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 8:19PM
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thecatzmeow

mudhouse - that is a really good idea! Hmm, that actually might be perfect! The drawer fronts themselves are 3/4" thick, and they are actually mounted onto a 3/8" thick piece of ply that makes up the front of the box, so there's a lot of thickness there.

I do like those Amerock handles. I will check to see if they are in stock at my big box so I can measure them and get an idea of how much countersink I'd actually have to do. Really brilliant idea, thank you!

Also, today by chance I found a bail pull that says it has a 3/4" projection when the handle is in the down position. I've emailed the company because I want confirmation before I make a purchase, but that might also work if I can't make the countersink work!

Okay, deep breath. Maybe this isn't a total disaster.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 8:20PM
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willtv

Here's another suggestion.
How about shifting the drawer front 1/8" or so to allow it to clear the adjacent drawer's pull?
We had to do this for the drawers you see in this picture in order for the top drawer to clear the cabinet recessed into the right side wall.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 8:30PM
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thecatzmeow

willtv, actually, that was my first thought - let's just fix the clearance on the cabinet, put it the way it should have been in the first place. I thought maybe when we pull the countertops up to replace them, (substrate is damaged) we could just add a spacer piece there. But after looking at the way everything is built (like crap), I think we'd make a big mess in the long run. This house is going on the market within a year or so, so we're trying to be cautious where we put our time and money.

I like your open corner wall cab on the end there. I've always wanted one of those!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 8:42PM
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willtv

Catz, just to clarify, we didn't move the cabinet. We disconnected the drawer fronts from the drawer boxes and shifted them.
Failing our solution, I think that Mudhouse's idea is a good fix.
BTW, the open corner cabinet was added at the suggestion of our cabinet maker. We didn't want the upper cabinet to come all the way to the end of the countertop for fear of making the already narrow pantry area look too enclosed. At the same time leaving the upper cab short of the end of the counter would just look wrong. This, to us, was the perfect solution. It makes the space seem more open and that's always a plus.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 11:45PM
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ailene54

I had a similar problem, my contractor cut off part of the "stem" of the knob so it laid closer to the door allowing the drawer to open. Hope something like this will work for you.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 12:27AM
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thecatzmeow

will - Ah, that makes more sense! I'd definitely do that with the drawer fronts if I could shift the cabinet doors as well. I'll look to see. We have 1/2" overlay doors, but we're using variable overlay hinges, so we might have room to increase the clearance to 1" if we shift everything over 1/4". I'll look at it tonight and see if we still have room for the hinges to get a good bite into the wood. Thanks for the clarification!

ilene - thanks for the suggestion! We aren't working with a contractor for this part, but I know one and I bet he could cut the handles for us if we go that route.

Thank you everyone for the great suggestions. Sometimes you just need a fresh set of eyes to fix a problem. I was having a hard time seeing past my own frustration! (Partially at myself for not measuring the clearance!)

I will post an update when we decide what to do. We're going to work on it this weekend.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 10:34AM
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mudhouse_gw

Sorry to wander off, and I'm so glad you have a number of good options now! Willtv's idea of shifting the drawer fronts is a really slick idea, never thought of that!

I love that we can all put our heads together and come up with so many different ideas, all of which would work nicely. Can't wait to unleash you folks on our old wonky kitchen...

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 2:48PM
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firstmmo

What about a slightly recessed pull? Since you only need seven of them, it might not be as big of a chore as you think to have these routed out. I ended up doing that for a BA vanity where I had a corner with two drawers too.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 8:00PM
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meek95

Do a google search on recessed handle pulls (maybe something like the photo), pocket door pulls, bull ring pulls, and finger pulls, you might find something that works for you. If you decide to cut off or recess stems, you might not be able to grasp the handle entirely with your fingers. There are other threads that discuss this issue.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 1:10PM
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