When I designed and built my first kitchen cabinet job, the world of frameless hinges was brand new to me, overwhelming, and, with all the terminology, about as accessible as a foreign language. I made it through that first job with only one minor mishap (I accidentally ordered free-swing hinges instead of self-close hinges) and after a few more projects, I was finally able to understand the terminology and the different hinge and plate applications. From the beginning, we used Salice hinges, but with soft-close technology becoming more popular in the past few years, we have changed to a different hinge maker for all of our hinge applications, and never looked back.
In the early days, we started using Salice hinges because they were the brand sold by our local supplier. Salice’s self-close hinges work very well, and they have a hinge for every application, but we began looking for a new hinge brand because I was unimpressed with their soft-close function. The soft-close hinges offered by Salice are always “ON”. If the door is large, both hinges would need to be soft-close, but for small doors, two soft-close hinges are usually to strong, making the door close to slow. This is prevented by only using one soft-close hinge, and pairing it with a self-close hinge, but, in a desire to make the manufacturing process as simple as possible for my employees, I began looking for other options.
My trek away from Salice began in 2012, when I toured the Blum booth at IWF. I’d heard good things about Blum from everybody in the industry, so switching to them was the natural choice. They have high-quality hardware and a large selection of hinges and plates. Their soft-close hinge functions differently from Salice in that it has an On/Off switch, so if two soft-close hinges are to strong, one can be turned off to further dial in the closing speed. This was the hinge that I was going to begin using…until I walked into the Grass booth.
Grass offers a similarly deep selection of hinges and plates to Salice and Blum, but their Tiomos hinge line, for frameless cabinetry, in my opinion, outshines those from both Salice and Blum. The Tiomos hinge has three different settings of soft-close control, which allows the cabinet installer to accurately dial in the speed of closure for any cabinet door, whether it’s a small door over a microwave, or a full-height pantry door. Grass also says that the Tiomos hinges have a greater range of adjustability than Blum or Salice, a statement that I would agree with. Since switching to Grass hardware throughout our production (I will talk about their undermount slides in a future post), we have been thoroughly impressed and have no interest in switching any time soon.