Video: Choosing Cabinet Pulls/Handles



Hi. This is Nathan Harrison for Recently I installed woodwork in a beautiful custom home on a lake. I would estimate it was a 2-3 million dollar house. Here we’re looking at the handles the lady of the house chose for her kitchen and all the cabinetry throughout the house. They look nice. But they don’t feel nice due to a shortcut in the manufacturing process. I suspect she never actually felt them before finalizing her choice. Here’s what I mean.

Every one of the million times she opens a cabinet door, she’s going to feel this sheet metal edge rather than a smooth bar of metal – which you assume is there when looking from the front. It feels cheap. And the cost savings would probably have been less than $100 to have this style of handles throughout the house. Whereas their total bill from just cabinetry probably feel between 30 and 50 thousand.

There are 2 basic ways of manufacturing metal parts. One is to cast the metal, meaning you pour liquid metal into a form and let it cool. Then remove the form from around it, and you have your part.

The other way of making a metal part is to cut and form it out of sheet metal. This is much cheaper than casting because it can be done more quickly. There’s no waiting for the metal to heat, then cool. And you don’t have to use nearly as much metal. It is truly amazing what can now be made of sheet metal. But back to our handles…

A close examination reveals that these handles are actually a hybrid of cast metal and sheet metal. These hefty cast metal parts were welded between the sheet metal parts that we see on the outside and middle. Putting sheet metal sections on the outside is not a problem. But having sheet metal in the middle where the human hand makes contact is, in my opinion, a mistake – one that could have been prevented if the choice had been made based on both sight and feel.