Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

Cabinet Hardware

Category Construction Glossary
Cabinet hardware

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

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 ordinary use.

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

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.

Specialty hardware
There is a large variety of specialty hardware for kitchen

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 sink