You Might Want To Think Twice About Using TikTok's Cabinet Hardware Install Hack

If you are going to take issue with the guidance of a TikTok DIY hack video, it's only natural that you question the brusque voiceover barking phrases like "59 cent cover" at you in the voice of an anthropomorphic raccoon that Bradley Cooper modeled on Joe Pesci. Indeed, the entire script of the video from TikTokker @lalos_way is: "DIY Hacks. 59 cent cover. Perfect every time." The idea is that a cheap light switch cover plate can be used as a drilling guide for cabinet door knobs. But the nearly 200 commenters weren't having it, with most of them noting either that the resulting hole wasn't centered or that it was drilled too low on the door. And they were right, except when they're wrong.

From a certain point of view, the commenters have a point. The holes for single-bolt pulls and knobs are typically equal distances from the bottom and edge of the door (for upper cabinets). But using a standard switch cover plate to mark a hole, the spot would be about 1.16 inches from the bottom and 1.47 inches from the side... definitely not equal distances. And most sources place the drilled hole at 2 ½-3 inches from the side and bottom, in which case the commenters would also be right about the 1.16 inches being too low. Of course, keep in mind that knobs are only one type of cabinet hardware.

Don't let commenters do the thinking for you

Since Joe Pesci is our guiding light here, let's borrow one of Harry's lines from Home Alone: "May I do the thinking, please?" Because there are some situations in which the commenters, almost universally as gruff as Bradley Cooper's space raccoon, are just plain incorrect. One such situation is when the manufacturer of the cabinet doors tells you to measure differently. For example, Amerock's knob installation instructions advise locating the knob at the top of the bottom rail and in the middle of the stile. For a typical Shaker-style door with rails and stiles of equal width, there's no way this arrangement could be "centered." The reason for this is probably that doors with narrow stiles and rails couldn't be drilled according to the 2 ½-3-inch rule.

Another way of measuring the commenters' accuracy is to look at commercially available drilling guides. Many simply let you position the hole wherever you want; Kreg's jig will let you drill anywhere from 1 to 5 inches from the edge. But the more prescriptive guides from Home Depot and Lowe's will let you locate the hole in a number of locations, including quite close to the edge. The NewAge template from Home Depot will let you mark about 1.06 inches from the edge, which is fairly close to the cover plate's 1.16 inches. Clearly, the commenters' centered-and-farther-in rules are not quite universal. If it helps, knobs are available that don't require drilling holes at all.