Change the Hardware, Not Your Cabinets


Having survived more than one kitchen remodeling, I know how expensive cabinets have become. I also know that cabinet woods, such as oak, maple, hickory, and cherry, are less apt to go out of style than the hardware on their doors and drawers. Before you decide that your cabinets are “out-dated,” take a look at how you might only need to upgrade the hardware — and save yourself thousands of dollars!

Today we literally have hundreds of styles of hardware to choose from, so start your search online or in your local home improvement centers, just to get an idea of what is available.


The style of new hardware you choose should match the style of your kitchen:  Victorian…

Or Modern….


Possibly Shaker ….


Or Arts and Crafts.


This curved wooden pull was quite popular during the 1970s, but now dates what otherwise would be an attractive set of drawer fronts.

The great thing about hardware is that it is easy to remove. Generally all you need is a screwdriver!

Quick Tip:  Use small plastic storage bags to hold all hardware and screws, then slip in an identification label before closing.


Drawer pulls are often categorized by their “bore” — the distance between the two screw holes. Your transformation will be easier if you select new hardware with the same bore as the old.

Quick Tip: Bring the old hardware to the home center when you go to pick out new hardware, so you can be sure the bore of the new hardware matches the old.

This is what happens when the new hardware does not match the bore of the old. Look closely and you will see the small patch in the old hole. Using a Minwax® Stain Marker, I was able to help blend it in with the surrounding wood.

With the old hardware removed, this is the ideal time to clean the drawer fronts of the cabinets using Minwax® Wood Cabinet Cleaner, which can also be used on furniture and woodwork (Note: just the right half has been cleaned.)

Same drawers, same wood, but what a difference a cleaning and new hardware makes!

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by,

And be sure to go over to Minwax’s® Facebook page for contests, prizes, and tips!

– Bruce




2 comments on “Change the Hardware, Not Your Cabinets

  1. Gary Hatch

    I have kitchen cabinets, a home-made kitchen table, and several shelves in the kitchen and bathrooms that were stained with Minwax Fruitwood in 1982. When this fruitwood stain was used, even the pine and birch ‘matched.’ We now need to do some repairs on these cabinets, and the newer Minwax stain no longer has the golden hue and a slight hiding effect on the wood grain. The newer stain looks browner, lacks the golden hue, and enhances the grain – which, frankly, looks horrible compared to your older Minwax. It doesn’t match at all. I phoned Minwax and someone told me they had to change the formula for environmental reasons. This is a big deal to us because I can no longer make repairs to our cabinets and home-made things that we like so much. Is it possible to make us up a batch of ‘old formula fruitwood?’ We have tried Sherwin Williams stain to no avail. It looks as bad as the new minwax. PLEASE HELP US. Thanks!

    1. Bruce Johnson Post author

      It is true, Gary, that environmental regulations forced Minwax to make changes in their stain formulas in recent years. The combination of these changes and the gradual and subtle changes wood undergoes over the course of several years would mean that the current Fruitwood would not match. That being said, one of the great things about the 22 different Minwax Wood Finish stains is that you can mix them together to get the precise color you want. I would recommend getting some half pint cans of the two colors that come the closest to matching your cabinets and start experimenting by adding them together. Quick tip: use measuring spoons and document your formula so that you can continue to duplicate it in the future. Best of luck!

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