Like a kid in a candy store

candy1Ted Turner created a television station that plays nothing but classic movies. He once said in an interview that the concept works because the audience is seeing a lot of his movies for the first time. Even though these films are often older than the people watching them, millions of viewers tune in every evening to see what’s “new.”

The same is true of cabinet hardware. Sometimes casework or furniture designers are so focused on what’s new or trending that they miss out on other options that our industry has offered for a long time. Handles and pulls are a lot like cars — each year, the models seem to become more and more similar and it’s often difficult nowadays to distinguish between brands. Sometimes the model that doesn’t make it to the showroom window is a better deal.

With that in mind, the following is a random survey of several manufacturers of cabinet hardware and accessories. Some of them sell directly to woodshops and others only through distributors. We’ve listed their websites in case your local distributor doesn’t carry their stock.

Standard and custom offerings

The John Wright Co. in Wrightsville, Pa., was founded in 1880 and manufactures a line of cast-iron hardware (Photo 1). For customers who are working new casework into an older home, this selection could be an ideal way to make that transition. The hardware is fairly inexpensive, is of fine quality and has the feel of handwork. Marrying century-old hardware designs to state-of-the-art granite, foil, laminate or even dyed veneers might just provide a whole new palette without a big investment. And because the cast-iron patterns are older than we are, they’re “new” again. The John Wright catalog is available at www.jwright.com.

Selby Furniture Hardware Co. operates out of an 110,000-sq.-ft. facility in the Bronx, N.Y. The company has been around since 1949 and offers a comprehensive catalog of hardware for woodshops. Selby has a lot of standard parts and a few small surprises such as a lock for glass doors that requires no boring of holes (Photo 2). It simply clips onto unframed glass or Plexiglas panels (such as the doors on wine racks or entertainment centers), allowing a woodshop to offer a sleek, frameless option to clients. The company’s website is www.selbyhardware.com.

A newcomer to the market, family-owned Hardware Technologies & Logistics was founded in 2009 and is a distributor rather than a manufacturer. In addition to a huge offering of traditional hardware, slides and specialty items, the Winston Salem, N.C., company supplies a generous line of carved maple corbels (Photo 3) and other architectural details. Hardware Technologies & Logistics website is http://htlcorp.com.

candy2Since 1884, the Arthur Harris Co. in Chicago has been supplying metal products to American industry. Today, among its product lines are standard and custom cabinet hardware. The company makes case, closet, kitchen and refrigerator hardware including stainless-steel bar pulls, knobs, T-pulls, back-to-back mountings and coat hooks. Its standard pulls range in bar lengths from 4” to 96” long (think of the possibilities for wide and deep drawers) and it offers bar diameters from 3/8” to 1”. To complement the pulls, Arthur Harris’s standard stainless steel knobs are available in either brushed and bright mirror finishes. For information, go to www.ahchicago.com.

For shops with customers in the medical, food service or marine fields, the H. A. Guden Co. in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., has grouped some of its vast hardware catalog by material. A cabinet designer or builder can search through hinges, gas springs, catches, latches, handles and more and select products made in either stainless steel or aluminum. The company also offers a custom manufacturing option called Hinge Guru, which lets builders add options such as specifically placed or sized holes, custom bending, offsets, corner shapes, lengths, pins, plating, springs and more at www.guden.com.

Monroe Engineering (www.monroeengineering.com) is based in Auburn Hills, Mich. The company’s origins in the 1920s were in tooling components for the automobile industry. Today, Monroe manufactures more than 50,000 products from magnetic catches to cam locks, stainless-steel knobs and even toggle clamps. It makes cabinet pulls that resist solvents, oils, grease and chemical agents, plus military, hospital and other specialty hinges and components.

Non-traditional suppliers

By offering custom cabinetry and furniture, woodshops sometimes land projects that are a little outside the norm. There are several hardware and accessory suppliers in somewhat-related industries such as boatbuilding and RV customizing that use hardware outside the mainstream. Often, these specialty products are exactly what a shop needs to make something happen.

With nine locations across America, Austin Hardware and Supply is a source for drawer slides, handles, hooks, locks and latches, plus thousands of other products. Of possible interest to woodshops with a design challenge, especially those meeting the needs of industrial clients, are Austin’s selection of recessed L and T handles (Photo 4). On its website (www.austinhardware.com), cabinetmakers can scroll down the left-hand menu and click on “handles.”

Finding suppliers in related fields has become a lot easier during the last decade and we will probably see a lot more sharing in the next few years. For example, industrial customers often challenge woodshops by asking for sanitary and sealed solutions such as casework in hospitals or clinics that requires hermetic or bacterial seals. Tricomp in Pompton Plains, N.J., has been supplying solutions in that field since 1965. Among its product offerings are compression and magnetic-door gaskets that can be adapted to the food industry, plus lab, chemical, veterinary and medical cabinet applications. Some of its gasket materials not only seal, but also cushion, edge or insulate panels and doors. For details, visit www.tricomp.com.

candy3Quite often, industrial clients ask shops to build shrouds for machines or create other unusually shaped casework. Delson Hinge in Southington, Conn., offers a wide variety of custom hinges in gauges from .025” to .125” thick. Designers who are faced with custom cabinets that call for bent, offset or other uncommon settings can generate a drawing of their requirements or Delson can help a design a hinge to solve a specific problem. Through its website (www.delsonhinge.com), one can then send an e-mail with an attachment (or fax a drawing) and the in-house engineers will bid, draw and manufacture a custom hinge.

Moore Industrial Hardware (www.mooreindhardware.com) is a distributor that carries more than 20,000 items in inventory, much of it for the trailer and RV markets. The company fulfills orders through three regional distribution centers in Ohio, Georgia and Pennsylvania. It publishes a 600-page catalog that offers, among other handy items, some heavy-duty drawer slides that can handle load capacities to 910 lbs.

When a casework job calls for some metal components, such as lockable drawers for surgery instruments, a quick online visit to Rousseau Metal (www.rousseaumetal.com) might provide the answer. It offers steel cabinet shelving with or without drawers, plus pedestal and mobile drawer stacks. Accessories for Rousseau metal cabinets include the ability to lock just one or several or all of the drawers in a stack.

Few drawer slide companies are more familiar to cabinetmakers than Accuride International (www.accuride.com), which is based in Santa Fe Springs, Calif. Its 115RC system, released in 2012, allows a cabinetmaker to create custom-length drawer slides. That means a perfect fit in cabinets that aren’t standard depth. And if the drawers need to be huge, the company’s super heavy-duty slide models AL4120 and AL4140 carry loads of up to 1,212 and 1,323 lbs. per pair, respectively.

Ever need to come up with a simple, strong way to assemble casework jobs such as store fixtures or trade show displays? Norse Inc. (www.norse-inc.com) in Torrington, Conn., has a suggestion. Its Type 2 latches and receivers securely fasten all manner of items from partitions to modular assemblies, equipment shrouds, sectional furniture, multiple panels with variable angles and more. Looking a bit like an extremely rugged biscuit latch, they come in a couple of different sizes. 

The retail option

Sometimes a shop is running a small job and wants to explore lots of hardware options quickly with a client. When you’re not buying in bulk, one great resource is MyKnobs.com, which features cabinet and accessory lines from brand-name manufacturers such as Amerock, Hafele, Jeffrey Alexander, Alno, Siro, Baldwin, Schaub, Richelieu and many more. Its pricing is retail plus shipping, but for limited purchases it’s nice to be able to give the client exactly what they want.

candy4Other online retail catalogs are KnobsandHardware.com, CoolKnobsandPulls.com, and CabinetParts.com. Quantity discounts usually apply. For example, when we checked CabinetParts, it was offering up to a 35 percent discount on some Amerock knobs with a purchase of five or more. Beyond pulls and hinges, that site stocks base cabinet trash cans, Lazy Susans, under-the-sink trays, wine racks, spice racks, blind corner organizers and a host of other hardware and accessories.

One online retailer without an apparent discount structure (other than free shipping on select orders), but with a massive inventory, is KitchenSource.com. Based in Stratford, Conn., it stocks more than 90,000 products, ranging from kitchen islands to complete pantry organization systems.

NiceKnobs.com offers an extensive selection of wood knobs and pulls. BainbridgeMfg.com is a source for plastic hardware. And QuickScrews.com is a comprehensive source for fasteners.

All in all, there are myriad sources for hardware and accessories and, because of Google, they’re easy to find. The trick is to not overlook the classics. 

This article originally appeared in the January 2014 issue.

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