The scale and dimension of drawer fronts and doors is often determined by hardware. Over the years, kitchens have gained a lot of new appliances – everything from blenders and processors to coffee systems and cellphone chargers. The physical requirements that those impose, when added to changes in aesthetics and taste, have changed the way that we store things. Soffits have given way to taller wall units while simple Lazy Susans have evolved into lavish hinged pull-outs. And drawers are getting bigger… a lot bigger. Part of the reason for that is hardware.
Take, for instance, the new 3160EC from Accuride (accuride.com). Introduced last summer, it’s a commercial-grade, full-extension drawer slide that can support a 100-lb. load in drawers that can be up to 5’ wide! Built like a tank, it has an anti-racking system that keeps the drawer in line, and it comes with the company’s new interior Easy-Close system that also reduces noise. Woodworkers especially like that the 3160EC has multiple front-adjustment features on the engagement/disconnect lever for horizontal, vertical, front-to-back and even in-and-out adjustments. This slide can be a great choice for institutional projects where large, yet relatively flat items such as surgical apparatuses or perhaps unrolled blueprints or maps need to be stored.
Blum (blum.com) has also been thinking about accessibility. Among the company’s newer ideas is the Aventos HK-XS for installing top-hinged doors on shallow wall cabinets. There’s a servo-drive for Aventos that opens cabinet doors with just a light touch, and then closes them with the press of a button. It’s like a tiny garage door opener. Then there’s LegraBox, a metal drawer system that can save a lot of shop time while meeting a lot of institutional (think medical) specs. LegraBox is also very appealing to hygiene conscious consumers. Blum has also combined its Tandem slide with Blumotion soft close to create concealed full-extension runners. And complementing that is Compact Blumotion, which is a face frame hinge with soft closing action built in.
Glideware is now part of the Rev-A-Shelf line (rev-a-shelf.com), and some of its products take advantage of Blum’s soft close technology. In a nutshell, Glideware is a couple of drawer slides that are attached to a small beam about the size of a 2x4, and this is screwed to the top surface inside a cabinet. Open the door and pull out the device. Hooks or other hangers can be placed anywhere along the bottom of the beam, and instantly adjusted back and forth. Glideware also offers a Lazy Susan version for storing cookware in a corner cupboard.
Grass America (grassusa.com) has developed a metal drawer system called ZBox with ball bearing slides, plus standard and deep drawer heights. Grass has also added two new heights to Vionaro, its double wall drawer line. There’s a new Tipmatic soft close option for its Dynapro drawer system that includes an improved liquid damper (the old ones were air), and a new front locking device. And the company’s Maxcess is now available in a frameless, Euro version with clever new rear brackets. Maxcess is an under-mount slide that fits conventional drawer construction and offers maximum storage because of the minimal top and bottom clearances required.
In a similar vein, Titus Cabinet Hardware (cabinet.titusplus.com) has added the new Tekform double wall drawer with 0.55” thick sides. It comes in a variety of finishes and includes a simple mounting procedure. It also has the Titus damper system, Confident Close. Tekform drawers are set up with a clipping feature to accommodate various dividers and partitions, plus accessories for cutlery. Titus was recently awarded a Gold Medal at the Furnica woodworking show in Poland for its T-type hinge with an intuitive hinge-to-plate mounting in any one of three directions.
Knobs and pulls
Let’s face it – most consumers move right past hidden slides and hinges to focus on knobs and pulls. The past few months have been especially rich in new offerings in this field, as design trends inch farther and farther away from Grandma’s raised panel, plainsawn red oak kitchen with that ubiquitous fruitwood stain. New faces require new hardware. Sleek options and color schemes in flooring, counters, wall treatments and panels have melded with European influences over the past few years, and huge technological advances in paint, foil, printing and laminates have changed the way that kitchens, bathrooms and offices look. But the new clean lines and almost sterile casework have also driven a need for some kind of visual, or at least tactile relief, and thankfully the manufacturers of knobs and pulls have delivered.
Now in its 37th year, Emtek (emtek.com) encourages designers and builders to mix and match from its inventory according to a customer’s taste and needs, rather than be tied to a single collection. Emtek has introduced a new Transitional Bath Hardware Collection that, while somewhat stark and minimalist, still celebrates color by offering finishes in oil-rubbed bronze, satin nickel, flat black, polished chrome, polished nickel, satin brass and un-lacquered brass. The company has also straddled the line between austerity and tradition with a similar yet decidedly different offering, Transitional Heritage, cabinet hardware that shows its Art Deco roots.
Not to be outdone, Top Knobs (topknobs.com) has introduced the new Hopewell Bath Collection that sports a matte black finish and soft, round, yet dramatic lines. Included are double and single towel bars, single hooks, bath tissue holders, tissue hooks and towel rings. The 10-product collection is also available in brushed satin nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, polished chrome and polished nickel finishes. The company has also posted its 2018 catalog online as a downloadable PDF. There, woodworkers will find three new collections called Lynwood, Ash Gray & Honey Bronze, and Devon. The pulls run the range from sleek and elegant to a hint of retro.
Richelieu (richelieu.com) is launching a new collection of decorative hardware that delivers an astonishing selection of over 1,000 new knobs and pulls. The hardware has a lot of retro influence (again, more than a hint of Art Deco) that is delivered in warm, metallic tones and very contemporary lines. The collection comes in chrome and nickel, but also in new finishes such as honey, champagne and chocolate bronze.
In a throwback to hand tools, today’s designers are remembering that carved and molded accents can be painted. But unlike the corbels and columns of old, this generation of accents is milled on CNCs or cast in foam and plastic. That means the parts are more reliably identical, making them easier to incorporate and build around.
Osborne Wood Products (osbornewood.com) has recently added five very attractive shelf brackets that feature a hardwood top and back plate with a curved front. Inside the triangle formed by these elements is one of several scrollwork high-density fiber plates. They come in cherry, oak and maple, and a paintable alder version.
Brown Wood (brownwoodinc.com) has collected thousands of turned and carved decorative wood components in its Designs of Distinction catalog. The company has been supplying woodshops since 1927.
Designers who are reaching to outfit cabinets in the most modern of styles might want to think about adding a few aluminum and glass doors to their casework. Mixed in with painted or laminated surfaces, they hint at industrial chic. Element Designs (element-designs.com) has added several new inserts and finishes to its contemporary product lines this year. Among them are leather inserts from EcoDomo and a new matte black finish, called Onyx.
Sliding barn doors are back, too. Even big box stores are carrying hardware kits, and a sliding door added to a work or living space can pick up the style and finish of surrounding casework. Outwater (outwater.com) offers a number of kits online.
A. Lewis Manufacturing Co. has recently introduced a couple of dozen new embossed moldings available in most Appalachian hardwoods plus alder, mahogany and pine. Lewis also manufactures custom profiles and produces rosettes and a number of rope moldings.
In the age of smart phones and tech hungry clients, charging ports that hide in drawers or pop out of countertops are becoming mainstream. Nobody does that better than Doug Mockett & Co. (mockett.com), a supplier that also has a lot of answers when it comes to hiding cables. The catalog is chock full of wireless chargers, pop-up power docks, and under desk units. One of the newest additions is the PCS77A-23G, a 20-amp outlet built into a pop-up cylinder that is mounted in a kitchen countertop.
LED lighting is also hot right now and Outwater offers a wide range of options. For example, the company has a closet rod kit that can be customized to any length in 2” increments. The lights are actually inside the rod itself, so when they are turned on they illuminate the clothing that hangs beneath.
On a larger scale, Hera Lighting (heralighting.com) designs, develops and manufactures lighting solutions specifically for cabinets, furniture and displays. Among its new offerings is FlexSheet-LED, which is exactly what it sounds like – a flexible, customizable sheet containing several small LED lights. It comes in two different light outputs and can be cut along grid marks to create custom sizes and shapes. Multiple sheets can even be tiled together to illuminate large surface areas. The flexibility of the sheet also allows for easy installation on curved surfaces.
A product from Tresco Lighting (trescolighting.com) has similar applications but is built in a different way. The company, which has been part of Rev-A-Shelf since 2011, offers a dimmable, commercial-grade Snap panel that is sold in 12” squares. Those in turn can be snapped (folded and broken along pre-set lines) into 3” squares and connected back in any configuration using simple connectors.
To contact manufacturers and suppliers, visit our online resource guide at resourceguide.woodshopnews.com/.
This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue.