Category Construction Glossary
Hardware is the term used for metal fittings incorporated into a cabinet
extraneous of the wood or engineered wood substitute and the counter top. The
most basic hardware consists of hinges and drawer/door pulls, although only
hinges are an absolute necessity for a cabinet since pulls can be fashioned of
wood or plastic, and drawer slides were traditionally fashioned of wood. In a
modern kitchen it is highly unusual to use wood for a drawer slides owing to the
much superior quality of ball-bearing metal drawer slides.
Drawer and tray slides
Slides are manufactured hardware assemblies that enable cabinet components
such as drawers to be extended from the carcase in smooth linear motions with
minimum effort. The primary design parameters of any slide are its extension,
weight rating, and position. Separately, durability and serviceability are
important as are the smoothness of operation and the availability of features
such as soft-close buffering. Slides are used not only for drawers but also for
trays and pull-out cabinets of various designs.
Drawer "extension" is the proportion of a drawer that is exposed when fully
opened. Traditional drawers built with wood-on-wood runners cannot be opened
beyond about three-quarters extension. Manufactured sliding ball-bearing
runners enable full-extension drawers, where specified.
The typical weight rating for a drawer or tray is 75 to 100 lbs, sufficient for
Slides may be mounted on the side or the bottom of the drawer. On the drawer
bottom, they are completely out-of-sight, contributing to a significant gain in
popularity in recent years. In the bottom-mounted configuration, drawer slides
can accommodate the widest possible drawers in a frameless cabinet opening.
However, the depth of the drawer must necessarily be slightly curtailed to
accommodate the undermounted hardware. (Conversely, the width of the drawer
is slightly reduced for sidemount installations.)
Drawers have become increasingly popular for the bottom cavities of base
cabinets, and even more so in frameless carcases. Using drawers, items can be
much more conveniently accessed from above such that the need to bend or
squat is lessened.
Drawers or trays may be thought of as devices that improve ergonomic
accessibility to the contents of a cabinet, at the cost of reducing the usable
space somewhat. This reduction in space is most noticeable for pull-out trays or
for face-frame cabinet drawers (semi-custom or stock). For a given cavity
opening, trays are normally somewhat more narrow than an equivalent drawer.
The narrower width provides for clearance for the cabinet door and a symmetric
installation. To compare with a shelf, the width of a tray may be 5 inches
narrower than the interior of the cabinet. Such reductions in width owing to the
use of trays or drawers in face-frame cabinets are more significant for narrower
cabinets (21" or narrower) since they amount to a larger proportion of the
overall cabinet width.
By comparison, in frameless "full-access" cabinetry, drawers occupy nearly the
full available width such that available space is compromised to an absolute
minimum extent. This accounts in part for the increasing popularity of drawers.
There is a large variety of specialty hardware for kitchen cabinets.
Special hardware for corner and other blind cabinets makes their contents more
easily accessible. They may be in the form of lazy susans with or without a
wedge cut out or of tray slides which enable the hidden corner space to be
occupied with trays that slide both laterally and forwards/backwards.
Sponge drawers use special hinges that fit between the cabinet front and the