Too Much Work for Quotidian Hardware - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Too Much Work for Quotidian Hardware

 In Shop Blog, Woodworking Blogs
I blacked out the manufacturer's name above – it's not the maker's fault...they delivered what I ordered.

I blacked out the manufacturer’s name above – it’s not the maker’s fault…they delivered what I ordered.

In a foolish move executed to save $150 or so on my kitchen rehab, I initially purchased hinges and pulls from a mass-market supplier.

Upon receiving that package, I opened it, and sighed over the fake screw heads on the bin pulls and the altogether lightweight feel of the pieces. I tried to convince myself that, for a house I’m planning to sell, it was silly to spend the extra cash for really nice hardware … the high-quality stuff I’ve never hesitated to buy for a nice furniture piece.

To be fair, the partial-wrap on the inexpensive hinges would make installing them a bit easier – but the flat leaf was too wide for my stiles, so the hinge edge would hang over the back stile edge into the cabinet. Blech. And I didn’t particularly like the finish – it was the brushed-nickel look I want…but not really…more brushed pot metal than brushed nickel, I’m afraid.

I had 20 days to return it – so I kept that box of hardware on my stairs for 18 days, walking up and down past it and telling myself I made the right choice. On day 19, I headed for the post office to return the package.

Then I ordered non-mortise hinges and classic round knobs from Horton Brasses – I’ve used the company’s hardware on numerous builds, and have never been anything other than delighted with the product quality and customer service. Both the hinges and pulls feel infinitely more substantial than those in my original purchase, and the nickel finish actually looks, well, like nickel.

Click on the image for a closer look at the pulls.

Click on the image for a slightly closer look at the pulls.

For the drawers, I ordered “Mission Bin Pulls” from Rejuvenation – the same pulls I used on the “Bibliophile’s Bookcase” (December 2009) and my Shaker-inspired coffee table (“Coffee with the Brethren“), though in brushed nickel, of course. I love the shape and size of these pulls, and – weird as it sounds – enjoy using them every day as I open the drawers on my coffee table to get at the pens, pencils, laser pointer (cat toy) and phone charger I keep inside.

Now I just have to hope the finishes match. But I feel certain they will be close enough – and there is no doubt in my mind that I’ve now made the right choice.

With all-white cabinets and lots of doors and drawers, the hardware will certainly stand out. It’s worth it, then, to buy outstanding hardware – for this, and any project.

After having spent several thousand dollars already – not to mention a great deal of time and energy – what’s another $150? There is no sense in willfully making into a sow’s ear what I hope will end up looking like a silk purse.


Non-mortise hinges and knobs from Horton Brasses.

— Megan Fitzpatrick

p.s. There are many suppliers of fine hardware – when time and funds allow it, I typically order single pieces from several makers to assess which will work best for my needs. And for truly special needs, well, there’s always custom (these blacksmith-made lifts bring a smile to my face every time I see them).



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  • AndremG7

    The word of the day is …. “quotidian.”

    Always a pleasure to read Megan’s blogs. It’s an English lession and woodworking lession in one. Excellent missive. And spot on with regard to waiting 19 out of 20 days to return that commonplace hardware. My problem is that I usually lose count of the days and double count around Day 15, so my order is alway passed the return date.

  • David Randall
    David Randall

    You’re absolutely right to do this Megan. It’s worth making things to suit your own sensibilities, that’s a lot of the fun of making anything. After reading Chris Schwarz’s excellent “Campaign Furniture” I’m looking for ways to fit brass into things. I just bought a beautiful Remington Noiseless 7 typewriter that’s missing its spool covers, so I’m making them from brass, and they will look great.

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