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Do use a straight edge when installing knobs and handles?

Posted by hammerslammer (My Page) on
Tue, Sep 24, 13 at 15:30

Just finished installing 25 cabinets for my kitchen remodel. All doors will have knobs. All drawers will have pulls. The location of some pieces will be determined by the type of cabinet. For instance, my trash pullout will have a pull positioned horizontally at the top center. But, most of the cabinets will have a hardware pattern that repeats along the run. I have a template for drilling holes, but I have a U-shaped layout in my kitchen and I'm concerned about achieving proper symmetry of the hardware as I go around the room. I've already adjusted all of the doors and drawer fronts. They aren't "ideal," but I've managed to minimize any gaps and unevenness.

These are Ikea cabinets that we installed ourselves. The house has some age on it, so we were constantly battling walls that aren't square and a floor that isn't level. I think we did pretty good considering we aren't professional installers. Nevertheless, I know the cabinets aren't perfect.

So, here's my dilemma: I'm wondering whether I should use the template alone to install the hardware, or if I should use a straight edge across the face of the cabinets to establish a level plane, making a light reference mark as I go, and then align the template to both the cabinet front and that line. I'm reasoning that a reference line will not only keep knobs level between adjacent doors, but adjacent cabinets as well.

Does that make sense? Am I over-thinking this? I'd appreciate your thoughts.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Do use a straight edge when installing knobs and handles?

Your knobs and pulls must match the edge line of the door and drawer. Your doors and drawers should be adjusted to be square and level.

Both IKEA and Lowes and HD sell plastic hardware template guides for installing handles & knobs. I would recommend you use them.

RE: Do use a straight edge when installing knobs and handles?

Hammerslammer, I'm a bit confused ... are your doors and drawers so out of level/square that just putting the hardware on in the same place on each door or drawer wouldn't be enough to line them up nicely? If the doors and drawers were off just a slight amount, I would still drill the holes specific to each drawer and door because I don't think being off by a fraction of an inch is going to be noticeable. I'm curious to see what others have to say about this.

RE: Do use a straight edge when installing knobs and handles?

  • Posted by ctycdm 10b/Sunset 24 (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 24, 13 at 18:06

I've always used a straight edge. I put blue tape on the doors/drawers to draw a light pencil line for reference, then mark exact hole centers with an awl so the drill bit doesn't wander.
(finish carpenter for 40+years, maybe I'm old school;)

This post was edited by ctycdm on Tue, Sep 24, 13 at 18:46

RE: Do use a straight edge when installing knobs and handles?

If'n it were me, I'd use every trick I knew of to reinforce my technique in using a template or jig. But once I was assured that the temp or jig was working right, I'd just get on with it.

RE: Do use a straight edge when installing knobs and handles?

I ended up making my own template as the ones from Lowe's and HD did not work well (IMO). Took my time and measured it out prior to drilling. Used a slightly larger bit when drilling holes which allows for some slack in movement to make sure it is level. You can do whatever looks best to you. All my lower cabinets are horizontal and all uppers are vertical. That looked best to me so that is what I did!

RE: Do you use a straight edge when installing knobs and handles?

Thanks for all the great feedback. I do have a template and my cabinet fronts aren't all out of whack. I'm just striving to achieve the best look that I can. I've learned from past projects that the basic rules of construction (plumb-level-square), and what pleases the eye, aren't always the same thing. I really like the idea of using blue tape to make the light reference marks. That's a lot smarter than having to erase pencil marks from the cabinet fronts, even if they're just small marks. I also like the idea of all vertical on top and all horizontal on the bottom. If I only had handles, I'd consider using that pattern. But I've got a mixture of handles and knobs.

The template is a great tool and I'll definitely be using it, but without some sort of consistent reference to guide you, it's almost useless on deep drawer fronts...and I've got several to do.

Thanks again.

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