Fixing those pesky kitchen cabinet problems
By Tom Phelan - ReminderNews
Featured Article - posted Thu., Oct. 11, 2012
In which of the rooms of your home do you spend a lot of time? The bedroom? Certainly. We sleep away about a third of our lives (or more, if you include your teenage years).
Have you considered how much time you spend in the kitchen? There are prolonged periods in this room if your meal preparation involves more than microwaveable meals. If you actually eat in the kitchen instead of in front of the TV, there's another chunk of time. And then you have to add all the trips for snacks, drinks and ice cream. Don't forget taking out the dinnerware, dish wash(er)ing, and putting it all away again.
So why do we tolerate the rash of annoying problems that plague so many of our kitchens? Doors and drawers don’t close, or don't open right - or both. Doors are crooked or uneven. Knobs and handles are loose or missing. What was once an attractive arrangement of kitchen storage is now askew and untidy. It doesn’t have to be this way. Take some time for a few quick, easy and inexpensive remedies.
Loose cabinet hinges are likely the result of worn-out hardware or worn-out mountings. If the hardware is the real problem, replace it. But if the screws have fallen out or can't be tightened, fixing the hole is quite simple. Cut a couple of slices off the edge of scrap wood about 2 inches long. If the pieces are smaller in diameter than the oversized screw hole, use two or more pieces. Dip them in wood glue, and stuff them in the hole. Tap them lightly with a hammer to force the repair to fill the depth and width of the hole. Clip off the excess, and clean away any excess glue. It matters not whether you wait for the repair to dry. Replace the hinge and the screws, and see how it swings.
Replace worn hinges with a similar type that will either reuse or cover the screw holes from your old hinges. Many times, years of opening and closing will wear out the spring mechanism. If you are satisfied with that type, you have a very easy task before you.
If your cabinets are newer, they almost certainly have hidden hinges (a.k.a. European) that are adjustable. If the doors get out of kilter, these intricate hinges let you make the appropriate corrections. You will have adjusting screws on two or three facets of the hinge, which control the horizontal, vertical and front-back movement of the cabinet door. You can control the depth, making the door even across the face from one door to the next. You can make the vertical edges of the doors parallel to each other and adjust the height of each door to create a smooth horizontal line across top and bottom.
It's pretty easy to damage drawers in a kitchen cabinet. Remove those that work poorly or show evidence of split or loosened corners. Take off the slides and hardware. Then clean away any old glue and split wood, and remove any nails or staples. Use wood glue and finish nails to reassemble or bolster joints on the drawer. Be sure the drawer is square and flat. Then clamp the repair until the glue has completely dried.
Maintaining or replacing drawer slides may be the most difficult maintenance to tackle, but that's not to say the average DIYer cannot handle it with ease and success. If a drawer repeatedly binds or jumps the track when opened, you should replace it. If it only happens once in a while, a little lubrication with light oil should make the problem go away.
If you need to replace the slides, replace both of them. Take one into the store with you, and try to find an exact or close match. That will make the task simpler. Even if you buy a different replacement, you should be able to follow the enclosed instructions for success. You might even consider moving up to a replacement that closes the drawer for you with only a gentle push. (But then you will want to upgrade all your drawers.)
Wood clattering against wood in your kitchen is unseemly. That's why doors and drawers are fitted with small felt pads about the circumference of a pencil eraser. These wear out or sometimes just fall off. You can buy self-adhesive replacements at home and hardware stores that will deaden the sound of closing doors.
You will feel better, I assure you, once you eliminate these little annoyances from your life in the kitchen. I already feel better just for having told you how!