You flip through house magazines and dream about that brand new kitchen. All the while, your old kitchen cries out “love the one you’re with !” If a complete renovation isn’t in the works, make your old kitchen more usable and adorable with a few cabinet upkeep. One small task you’ll find useful is renovating worn face frames. Fix to the stiles — the vertical members — specifically, will let you fix loose hinges and latches so cabinet doors open and shut smoothly.

Loose Hardware

Eliminate hinges and latches by unscrewing them in the stiles. Save them in a zipper bag or covered container so nothing gets lost. Eliminate dust from drill holes that no more hold the screws by blowing firmly into them or vacuuming them.

Expand the holes and then make them uniform by drilling 3/4 inch deep with a 1/8-inch piece. If the loose drill holes are larger than 1/8 inch in diameter, then use a 3/16-inch piece. Cut a 1/8-inch wooden dowel to 1-inch pieces. Use 3/16-inch dowels, if necessary. Use a lightweight saw or pruning shears.

Dip a cotton swab to common yellow wood glue and then coat the interior of the holes with it. Use just enough adhesive so it doesn’t drip out of the holes. Insert dowel sections to the holes by gently beating them with a hammer, with a small wooden block as a buffer to prevent damage to the dowels.

Cut the dowels flush to the stiles with a utility knife or the flat blade of a hack saw. Let the adhesive set for 6 hours or overnight. Sand the end of the dowels so they are smooth and perfectly flush with the face frames.

Put the hardware at its proper place and mark the middle of the screw holes with a pencil. Drill pilot holes 3/4 inch deep with a bit a little thinner than the screws. Replace the doors by screwing the hardware firmly to the stiles.

Freshening Up

Clean face frames with all-purpose household cleaner or ammonia. Let dry, then sand the face framework to earn the surface scratchy.

Prime the face framework with latex primer. If the cabinets are melamine or covered in oil paint, then use alcohol or oil primer.

Fill unsightly irregularities, like deep dings and scrapes, with lightweight spackle compound. Use a putty knife. Let dry, then sand flawless and smooth the chemical.

Paint the stiles and rails — the tops and bottoms of the face frames to provide a fresh look to your cabinets.

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