The Most Accurate Way to Install Cabinet Hardware

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An easy way to have a home reflect your personal style as a homeowner is by making updates to the little things around a space – things like cabinet hardware. The key to having cabinet hardware look good and function well, though, is mounting it accurately.

What Are The Different Options for Mounting Cabinet Hardware?

The best way to mount knobs and handles for drawers or cabinet doors depends on the type of hardware and on the quantity of mountings that need to happen. Here are a few common choices:

Tape Measure or Speed Square

Using a tape measure, ruler, or speed square is one of the simplest ways to help mount hardware. Most homeowners already have one of these types of tools, so no additional investment is usually required. The homeowner simply has to measure the desired height and depth of the hardware, mark the location, drill a hole, and mount. The major downfall of this method is that it’s not very time-efficient. The homeowner would have to perform the same set of measurements for every piece of hardware to be mounted, which could get tedious and may even lead to mistakes being made. Another detriment is that there isn’t a great way to ensure accurate hole placement when drilling. For example, the drill bit might wander a bit during the process, though the effects of this could be mitigated a bit through the use of a center punch. This method would be best for homeowners that only have a few pieces of hardware to mount.

Store-Bought Template

For those homeowners without the ability to build their own template, many hardware stores and woodworking stores usually carry specialized cabinet hardware templates. These tend to be relatively inexpensive and contain a few different hole locations to allow for some adaptability in the mounting of hardware. A negative to store-bought templates is that they lack adaptability, especially for custom or unique hardware. Another issue with store-bought templates is that they aren’t meant to act as drill guides. The user has to mark the hole location using the guide, then use a center punch to ensure accurate drill bit placement.

Homebuilt Template

A common method used by homeowners is to build a custom template out of MDF or plywood to mount cabinet hardware. This can be acceptable if the home’s kitchen was remodeled recently with new cabinets, or if the homeowner has chosen to outfit a garage or shop with storage. A homebuilt template allows for the accurate placement of larger quantities of hardware. The main downfall to this method is that the template usually only works on one size of cabinet or drawer, and is not really adaptable. Another negative to this method, especially if the user tries to use the template as a drill guide, is that the drill hole will tend to widen over time with use. Eventually, this will lead to imprecise hole placement, and the user may have to rebuild the template – sometimes even several times to complete the job.

Cabinet Hardware Mounting Jig

TP-1934 Cabinet Hardware Jig Drawer Handle Installation

The most accurate way to mount cabinet hardware, by far, is a purpose-built jig. These specialized tools, such as the Cabinet Hardware Jig ORIGINAL (TP-CHJ) from True Position Tools, allow for precise and repeatable placement of all types of cabinet hardware. In the event that there are a few different types of cabinet or drawer sizes, hardware mounting jigs are easily adjustable to allow for that range because they have built-in rulers. Additionally, jigs like the TP-CHJ have hardened steel bushing drill-guides, allowing for precise hole placement. A third benefit is that the entire jig can be set once, then flipped – allowing the user to quickly drill both the left and right doors of a cabinet. These types of jigs are well-suited for discerning homeowners and for cabinet makers or cabinet installation professionals.

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