New Cliffside website launching today

Followers of our blog may notice a change if you visit the Cliffside website… we’re launching a brand-new site design today! Why would we make this change, you ask? Here’s why:

New content

Cliffside’s committed to providing you with the best high-quality on-site content, and our old site really wasn’t delivering the best bang for our buck. Our new site will provide you with even more information about our high quality cabinet hardware.

New products

2015 will be the year of new products for Cliffside: we have now added new lines of glass and stone cabinet hardware to our product offering, we’ll be launching a line of high quality door hinges in summer to accompany our already superior cabinet hinges, and we’ll be launching as many as four new hardware suites this year as well. There will also be a new “Cliffside Choice” product line – you’ll see a huge influx of products to the new website, and now we’re better equipped to handle it.

Enhanced user experience

This new website will operate much more smoothly and efficiently than our old site. While there are always a few bugs and kinks to be worked out with a new system, we’re confident that you’ll be thrilled with the new functionality and enhanced content that will appear on our site.

We’re thrilled to launch our new site today and look forward to hearing your feedback!

Cliffside hardware featured in a custom Hamptons kitchen

Our hardware was recently featured in a blog by one of our online dealers, Martell Hardware, whose customer put our Classic Suite hardware in Silver Satin on their beautiful white Shaker-style kitchen. It includes a paneled refrigerator and freezer with three 12-inch CC handles, a matching paneled dishwasher with an 8-inch CC pull, and 5-inch pulls on the drawers. Highlighting our capability to mix and match, this homeowner went outside the box and matched the 100 knob, part of the Scroll Suite, with our Classic Suite pulls.

Cliffside Industries Rope Suite Solid Brass Hardware

(h/t MartellHardware.com)

This is a perfect example of the versatility and functionality of Cliffside’s solid brass hardware suites.

Thanks for featuring Cliffside, Martell Hardware!

Talking turkey about unlacquered brass hardware

So, Thanksgiving is coming. Let’s talk turkey.

Turkey

No, really, let’s be frank.

Frank Sinatra

Ha, ha. But enough with the jokes.

Because there are very few companies remaining in our industry who offer fine-quality solid brass cabinet hardware, we are often asked about the possibility of getting unlacquered brass cabinet hardware. When our finishes don’t work for an end-user, or they want specifically to match an existing piece of hardware, or a faucet, or even anything else, getting custom plating on unlacquered hardware is sometimes viewed as a solution.

However, there can be problems with this process. Customers often ask about this option before they consider the risks and complications involved with using unlacquered brass. Here are a few of the reasons to choose already finished brass hardware instead of unlacquered:

Unlacquered brass hardware oxidizes.

The first is probably the largest and most common problem. Unlacquered brass can oxidize. Since brass is made mostly from copper, you’ll often find that it will change color and oxidize (not rust, that’s iron) if left exposed to air. Even the smallest amount of moisture or humidity can tarnish copper products, whether they’re pure or alloys like brass. For an example, here’s a photo of a raw K341 cup pull. All it’s done is sit in our (very dry) office for about 6 months:

brass-cup

You can see the tarnish that even the moisture from fingerprints has left on this raw pull, and you can only imagine how much handling goes into packaging hardware before it gets to our warehouse.

The thing that makes this issue even worse is the fact that our products are shipped in by marine freight; that means that they are trucked to port, then put on a steamship, then trucked here. They sit on the dock at the harborside, and then they float on across the ocean, and then they sit on the dock up in New Jersey while they wait to be cleared by customs and brought to our warehouse. The more moisture there is in the air, the worse the tarnishing gets. If we’re not careful, pretty soon, your hardware is going to end up looking like, well, this:

Statue of Liberty

That’s right… the Statue of Liberty is made from copper. It was originally copper-colored (no, it wasn’t always green). The distinctive verdigris patina that we all recognize today was developed by exposure to the moist salt air in New York harbor.

Unlacquered brass has to be cleaned, treated, and polished before finishing.

After the raw brass comes out of the forge or off the lathe, it has to be cleaned using a special wash and treated before it goes to the finishing or plating company. In some cases, there are additional steps to be performed, such as polishing. This depends on the finish that you want.

The tarnish that can occur during a marine shipment just adds to this problem, because you’ll have to have all that tarnish removed before you can plate the hardware. This adds time and labor hours to the process. It could also affect the integrity of the material underneath, depending on how the tarnish is removed.

Unlacquered brass contains lead.

This is probably the most important reason why unlacquered brass hardware isn’t something that Cliffside offers regularly. Primarily, brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, but it also contains other metals, one of which is lead.

Lead
Brass contains lead.

Without the protective layer of lacquer, we run the risk of potentially exposing our customers to lead. We’re a service-first company, so we’re always thinking about you. This means we’re absolutely not willing to put you at risk by shipping you hardware that could potentially be dangerous.

All Cliffside hardware is lacquered.

For these reasons and more, we only ship out lacquered, finished hardware. Cliffside’s products are not currently available unlacquered for these and other reasons. We’re happy to continue being your provider for the best in high-quality solid brass hardware, and we’re committed to keeping you safe and happy. So check out our line of lacquered brass hardware today for the best selection of high quality products in the kitchen and bath industry!

Advantages of solid brass cabinet hardware

Walk into your local hardware store in search of knobs and pulls. What will you find?

Oh, how many knobs and pulls will you see at your local hardware store?
Oh, how many knobs and pulls will you see at your local hardware store?
So many different selections!
So many different selections!

Very likely, you’re going to see a variety of different styles and sizes of cabinet hardware: knobs, pulls, cup handles, and so on. Look at the brands that are sold in your local hardware store. Oftentimes, those brands are selling a huge range of products but they never tell you where it comes from or what it’s made of. Well, we’ll tell you. Most cabinet hardware is made from zinc or aluminum. Why? Because these materials are inexpensive and easy to form into different shapes. Makes sense, right?

But what happens when you touch that inexpensive material day after day after day? When you create or remodel a kitchen and put in all that time and energy to get the perfect look that you want, you want that look to last! Zinc and aluminum cabinet hardware are not going to hold up over years of use. Eventually, you’ll have to replace them.

This is why Cliffside chooses not to stock zinc or aluminum cabinet hardware. Sure, we have special-order products in these materials, but our standard product lines are made from high quality solid materials, like forged bronze, stainless steel, and most importantly, solid brass cabinet hardware. Why should you choose solid brass hardware, you ask? There are a wide range of advantages.

The benefits of solid brass hardware

Solid brass cabinet hardware is more durable

First, and possibly most importantly, solid brass cabinet hardware is among the most durable in the industry. Whether you’re choosing knobs and pulls for your kitchen, bath, dining room, furniture, or other applications, solid brass hardware is a proven winner.

In our industry, we know that kitchen and bath cabinets can be exposed to harsh conditions. You use water in your kitchen and bath every day, so that has to be considered when testing the durability of hardware. To protect the underlying core material, and also to create different colors and looks, cabinet hardware is often lacquered or plated. This is how you achieve different finishes, such as polished nickel or antique copper.

Just because it's "solid brass" doesn't mean it always looks like brass!
Just because it’s “solid brass” doesn’t mean it always looks like brass!

Here’s a hard fact: when you apply a finish to solid brass material, that finish is up to 300% more durable than when you apply it to zinc. Think about that – if you buy the exact same knob made in zinc and in solid brass, the zinc one will last only about one-quarter to one-third as long as the brass one! Longevity is a huge benefit when you’re choosing the type of cabinet hardware you want.

Brass hardware is more consistent

Next, when you order product made from brass, you’re going to be getting a more consistent base material. This helps the finishes adhere better and makes the hardware last longer.

Now, this isn’t ALWAYS the case. A lot has to do with the manufacturing method. A plated casting, for example, is not going to hold up as well over time as a plated forging.

Wait, what?

The manufacturing of brass hardware

OK, so casting is a manufacturing process in which metal is heated up (I mean, really heated up) until it’s a liquid. For a material like zinc or aluminum, this is not really a huge deal, because they have lower melting points: around 790 degrees Fahrenheit for zinc and 1220 degrees Fahrenheit for aluminum. For brass, though, that takes an awful lot more time and heat – brass doesn’t melt until around 1700 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on how much copper and zinc is in that specific type of brass.

After the metal gets hot enough, it’s poured into a mold or die that’s shaped like the inverse of what you’re trying to make. So, if you wanted to make a square, you’d have a square-shaped hole carved out of a block of steel (the die). This creates the process we know as “die casting”. Oftentimes, you’ll hear cabinet hardware referred to as “die cast”, but this is actually talking about the manufacturing process and not the material.

The problem with casting is due to the fact that the metal is liquid when it’s poured into the mold. Liquids can get bubbles in them. As soon as you get that metal off of the heat, it starts to cool. And if it cools with a bubble in it, then that bubble could be in your casting – in this case, an air bubble inside your knob or pull. If those bubbles are close to the surface, after some use (or even during the finishing process), the bubbles can break, causing pits in the surface of the item.

Look at the pits and dents in these brass castings!
Look at the pits and dents in these brass castings!

So, how do we avoid bubbles? Don’t work with liquids.

Instead, most solid brass hardware is made using one of two methods: machine turning and drop forging. Both of these processes start with a brass rod. For turning, the rod is fed into a lathe and spun to carve out a shape. This is most often seen with round knobs. For forging, it’s a little more complicated. The rod has to be heated up, so it goes through a kiln or furnace to raise the temperature to about 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. This way, it’s hot enough to re-shape, but not so hot that it’s melting down into liquid.

The hot brass rod is fed into a die, but the molds used to make forged products are a little different: there are two halves. One half of the die drops down (hence the name) onto the hot brass and pushes it into the other half of the die, creating a shape.

So why is all that important?

The brass rods that are used to create the hardware are extruded; that is, they’re forced through a hole in another type of die to make a cylindrical shape, just like pasta. If you look at the outside of a piece of pasta, close up, you’ll see that it has a grain from being pushed through the die.

pasta-214867_640

Well, brass is the same way. When it’s extruded, it develops a very fine grain pattern: not just on the surface, but all the way down to the core of the metal. Because we work with solid rods, rather than melting down scraps that don’t have a uniform grain, the forged knob or pull is going to be stronger than the same piece of hardware that’s cast.

Solid brass hardware is more beautiful

Another advantage of solid brass cabinet hardware is the beauty that results from choosing a strong and durable product with a consistent base material. Because Cliffside’s solid brass hardware is turned and forged, the base material is not only stronger, but smoother. This ensures a consistent application of finish, and the choice of brass material ensures that those finishes will last longer.

Brass is anti-microbial

One of the biggest advantages of brass hardware is that it’s easy to care for. If it gets dirty, just wipe it clean with a wet cloth. No soap or cleansers allowed or necessary: since brass is made mostly of copper, it’s naturally anti-microbial and will kill germs. Just wipe off any general kitchen dirt and grime with a soft, damp cloth and the hardware will take care of the rest.

Brass cabinet hardware is versatile

Because brass can be transformed into such a wide variety of shapes, you can find a use for solid brass cabinet hardware in nearly any room of your home. One of the great benefits of brass cabinet hardware is just this simple fact: it goes anywhere! Whether you want cup pulls for your kitchen drawers, handles and knobs for your bathroom vanity, latches for your living room furniture, or appliance pulls for your refrigerator or freezer, solid brass cabinet hardware has it all.

Solid brass cabinet hardware, finished in black, is a beautiful enhancement throughout this kitchen.
Solid brass cabinet hardware, finished in black, is a beautiful enhancement throughout this kitchen.

It’s also a cost-effective purchase to get brass hardware instead of a lower quality material. On average, you’re going to pay about 30% to 40% more for a piece of solid brass hardware versus zinc hardware – but brass hardware is up to 300% more durable than zinc! When you purchase quality, you can be assured that is what you will get.

Cliffside knows quality. This is why we’ve always been the solid brass hardware experts. Whether it’s hinges or handles, latches or knobs, pulls of any shape or size… Cliffside Industries has the brass hardware you’re looking for. So shop today, and see what it means to buy the best hardware in the industry.

10 myths and misconceptions about cabinet hardware

Cabinet hardware is an integral part of your kitchen. It contributes to the functionality of this space that you use every day. Yet many people are misinformed about what these simple knobs and pulls can do for them. Here, we’ll examine some of the common misconceptions that you might find among a hardware buyer who’s building a new kitchen or remodeling an existing one.

1. “Kitchen cabinet hardware” isn’t just for the kitchen.

This is a FACT.

Just because an item is listed on a site that says, or features, “kitchen cabinet hardware” doesn’t mean that you can’t use it in other places. A whole host of cabinet hardware is usable in any type of location. Now, granted, some hardware types are less durable than others; for example, brass hardware will hold up better in the long term than zinc or aluminum. But, in general, if you want to use cabinet hardware on a furniture piece in your living room or office, or on a vanity in your bathroom, you should have no problems with it.

2. It doesn’t matter what kind of cabinet hardware I buy.

This is some MYTH and some FACT.

If you’re talking about aesthetics, it all comes down to personal preference (more on that later). If you’re talking about material or the underlying quality of the product, of course that matters. You get what you pay for, and cabinet hardware is no exception. That’s why Cliffside Industries’ cabinet hardware is designed to be the highest quality.

3. I can put any hardware finish I want on my cabinetry.

This is a FACT.

While the type of cabinetry you pick and the style of your kitchen can have an impact on your ultimate hardware selection, it’s truly your choice. That’s why Cliffside’s hardware line is so great. We have cabinet hardware suites for a reason: so that you can mix and match to get your own unique look and style.

4. I can only put contemporary hardware on a contemporary kitchen.

This is a MYTH.

The mixing of traditional style with contemporary elements is called transitional design. It’s been popular for several years, and there’s no reason to think that it won’t always have some place. Sure, there will always be those who want that specific “up-to-the-minute” white or gray kitchen design, or who want a feeling of the old days and will turn back to cherry cabinets and polished brass hardware. But you can make the choice and put whatever hardware you like on the doors and drawers that you choose.

5. The style of the cabinet door determines what type of hardware I can use.

This is a FACT… to some extent.

One of the most important elements of cabinet hardware are the hinges. Without hinges, you have a wood box and some slabs. With them, you have cabinets with doors attached. Your cabinet hinges are determined by the type of door that you have: inset, overlay, etc. Additionally, there are some types of functional hardware, like cabinet latches and magnetic catches, that are designed to work with specific door types. But when it comes down to purely decorative hardware, like a knob or a pull, the sky is the limit.

6. I have to use all knobs or all pulls in my kitchen.

This is a MYTH.

It’s extremely common to see designers and customers mixing knobs and pulls in a kitchen. This is exactly why Cliffside’s cabinet hardware suites include both knobs and pulls. Cup pulls and latches make a great accent to set off a drawer or cabinet as well.

7. I’m stuck with the cabinet hardware I have on my kitchen.

This is totally a MYTH.

Generally, you can find cabinet hardware out there to replace almost any hardware you have. There aren’t a lot of “types” of hardware: several different types of pulls (cup pulls, handles, ring pulls, drop and bail pulls, flush pulls), knobs, latches… and that’s about all. So if you have something that you don’t like or is going out of date, swing around the Web and take a look for some replacements.

8. The difference between a knob and a pull is the number of holes.

This is… COMPLICATED.

It used to be that you could easily tell the difference between a knob and a pull. Knobs were round, or some other blocky solid shape. They had one hole, took one screw, and it was really easy to replace them. Pulls, on the other hand, had two holes, and the only way to change those out was to find another pull with the same measurement on-center. What’s that, you ask? The measurement on-center (sometimes called center-to-center or abbreviated CC) is a fancy way of saying the distance between the screw holes, measured from the center of one to the center of the other.

Nowadays, though, things have gotten a bit more complex. Pulls still have two holes… sometimes. Sometimes they can have three. Sometimes they can even have more, as many companies now make what are sometimes called multi-center pulls, or modular pulls. They are usually longer pulls that have a base with multiple different drill centers on the back. For example, one pull may have a 3″ CC drilling near the inside of the feet, and a 3.5″ CC drilling further out. Cliffside even carries a pull that has 5 different CC sizes in one item!

Even more complicated, knobs now can also have multiple screw holes as well. On some items, it’s really important that the knob doesn’t rotate out of position. Cliffside has some knobs that use a steel brad in the back to prevent rotation. More recently, however, some manufacturers have resorted to a double-screw solution. Sometimes you’ll see tiny CC measurements like 16mm (which is around 5/8″) or 32mm (about 1 1/4″). That doesn’t make these pieces any less of a “knob”; it just makes them… different.

9. Home improvement stores are the best place to shop for cabinet hardware.

This is unequivocally a MYTH.

A big box home improvement store is exactly that: a big box, filled with big boxes. No employee of a box home improvement store is going to know the specific ins and outs of cabinet hardware. “Is cabinet hardware really that complicated?” you might ask. If it wasn’t, would we be writing this post? Box store employees have their heads full of lawn and garden supplies, appliances, and lumber. Without a doubt, you are going to get better service on cabinet hardware by going to a qualified designer or kitchen dealer, or by calling the company directly.

10. There’s a difference between box store hardware and other brands.

This is most definitely a FACT.

Most of the hardware you’ll find at box stores is packaged for bulk sale. This means you might be able to get the right amount of knobs or pulls… or you might not. If you have to buy a blister pack with 10 knobs, and you need 32… you have 8 extra knobs that you can’t use. Waste of money! If you need pulls with a 5 inch center-to-center, or if you need pulls for one of those appliances the box stores love to advertise, you’ll never find it at those places. All the hardware from the box stores is designed to sell in volume, but with high-volume mass production comes a higher risk that you’ll buy something that’s defective. Whether that’s a short-term defect that will show up in a week or a long-term defect that will come out 2 years after you’ve finished your kitchen – I don’t know. Can’t tell you. What I can tell you is that if you want quality cabinet hardware from a brand you can trust, you should check out other companies. And if you’re on the search for hardware right now, Cliffside Industries is a great place to start.

An award-winning distributor of traditional solid brass hinges, knobs and pulls respected industry-wide for our customer service. Family owned and operated since 1987.