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I have very old oak kitchen cabinets that I just can’t see replacing because they are in beautiful condition yet we never had any kind of knobs or hardware to open and close them with. Now that we are older and arthritis is setting in we need the extra help that the knobs would provide but the doors and drawers are just too thick and we suspect that is why the builder never even bothered with the hardware to begin with. Any ideas on maybe some kind of over the door pull system etc that may help us? Thanks

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    If knobs would work, why not just use longer screws? – fixer1234 Jun 18 '18 at 22:37
  • my grandma clipped thick binder clips to the bottom of her cabinet doors, made it easy for little kid me to get in as well. – dandavis Jun 19 '18 at 7:08
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    If your problem is pulling open the magnetic door hold, there are some nice magnetic holds that you push in on the door and the door pops out so you can get a grip and open the door, when pushing closed the magnet moves back in place the cabinets look the same as always. The door can be pulled open like before and closed without activating it to pop open but its not hard just to press in to reset the position if it pops out. I haven't used these for years because they are a bit expensive but cheaper than new pull hardware. The latches were called push to open, just looked them up ~1$to 12.00ea – Ed Beal Jun 19 '18 at 8:38
  • If your problem is pulling open the magnetic door hold, there are some nice magnetic holds that you push in on the door and the door pops out so you can get a grip and open the door, when pushing closed the magnet moves back in place the cabinets look the same as always. The door can be pulled open like before and closed without activating it to pop open but its not hard just to press in to reset the position if it pops out. I haven't used these for years because they are a bit expensive but cheaper than new pull hardware. The latches were called push to open, just looked them up 1$ to 12$ ea – Ed Beal Jun 19 '18 at 8:40
  • too thick? Less than ~4" thick is no problem for longer screws that you buy separately. They're usually 6,8, or 10 /32. Stick it through the plastic bag and try it before you buy a bunch and leave the store. You might have to cut the screws; buy some nuts that you put on before you cut them. When you remove them it fixes the thread. – Mazura Jun 21 '18 at 0:42
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Builders being who they are, they probably didn't include knobs to (a) save the $1 per knob plus installation time or (b) that was the "look" at the time.

I would actually recommend U-shaped pull handles rather than knobs. Much easier to get a grip because you can "grip" like a knob (hand around the pull or knob) but also stick a finger or two inside the open space to pull. With any pulls or knobs, you can substitute longer screws.

Measure the thickness of the doors & drawers (drawer fronts are sometimes thicker than the doors) and then go to a hardware store. Home Depot and similar big stores have a fairly decent selection, in my opinion, or you can go to more of a specialty store, depending on your location.

I do recommend going to someplace you can (a) describe the doors and dimensions so they can make sure you get the right screws and (b) see and feel the items as some are much easier to grip than others, rather than trying to order online.

For oak (or other wood) cabinets I would probably go with a metal or metal-look plastic handle pull that matches other stuff in your kitchen - e.g., stainless steel or chrome if you have any stainless steel appliances, or brass or similar.

  • Thank you for your suggestion. I do appreciate all you put into it. I think I am going to go with the grips I will bring actual photos on my ipad with me to Home Depot or Ace Hardware and see what they have to say. There is just no drilling through the wood unless we bring all the panels with us to a special cabinet machine shop at which point we could just then just get new ones for the same cost. Between the fact that the wood is just too thick for a normal drill and bit and persons with arthritis to drill. I like the idea of the stainless steel grips and that was the direction I was going. – Susan Marschall Jun 20 '18 at 0:00
  • I'm sure a handyman could drill and install handles in place. But if I had bad arthritis (I have a little but fortunately not bad) then I wouldn't do that myself. A good handyman can be hard to find. – manassehkatz Jun 20 '18 at 0:33
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Using a “hook-type” cabinet knob Like this: https://www.build.com/top-knobs-tk500-cabinet-pull/s973468

seems like a “red-neck” way to solve this issue.

Taking the time (and effort) to drill a hole through the cabinet door, finding longer screws at a hardware store and installing each knob seems much better.

Like one of these: https://www.houzz.com/photos/cabinet-and-drawer-knobs/

Or you could install a surface mount pull like this enter image description here No need to drill through the door or drawer just drill a small pilot hole and use 1/2-3/4 inch screws that usually come with the pulls .

  • +1. Crappy handles, or even better: longer screws for knobs. – Mazura Jun 21 '18 at 0:36
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These, Truss Head Break Away Screw, #8-32 thread x 1-3/4'

are designed to be able to break off at the length you need for cabinet doors of different thickness's.

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