Problem with ball catches

Are ball catches appropriate for use on kitchen cabinets? March 20, 2001

I just had kitchen cabinets made with brass-coated steel ball and spring units with a thin, hollow strike brad that is nailed to the frame.

My cabinets don't open and close smoothly with these catches. Also, the doors can be pushed into the cabinet. Why is this happening, and should these catches be replaced?

Forum Responses
There is a possibility of three problems with this choice of hardware:

1. The cabinet doors are too massive for use of this device. The tiny spring in the catch cannot stand up to the weight of the door when being closed. A stop mounted inside the frame would keep the door from closing too far.

2. Your cabinetmaker did a poor job of fitting the doors in the frames. A ball catch requires fairly high tolerances so that the ball and spring are used to the best of their abilities.

3. The hardware your cabinetmaker purchased is cheap.

The correct piece of hardware for this application is a magnetic catch. A ball catch is much too finicky. As doors expand and contract, the catches can go from hardly catching to being impossible to open. The magnetic catch also provides something for the door to close against.

There are differences in quality amongst various ball catches. Most will allow some adjustment at the spring.

Look at the end of the ball and see if it has a small hole in it. Insert a paper clip into the hole and you will be able to rotate the ball. If you rotate it enough it will unthread and you can access the spring. The spring probably just needs to be trimmed.

Roller catches will give you a smooth closing action. If mounted correctly, they will take the weight off your hinges, and they should outlast your cabinets.