Rh cup pull rant

June 14, 2011

So I'm totally annoyed. Today I schlepped an hour each way to buy the 4" Gilmore pulls from RH for my 10 drawers. I have had my eye on these for months, and got the beautiful polished nickel finish to go with my creamy perimeter cabs and espresso island. Great, ready to install. So we get the spacing right and dh drills the first holes. We put the pull on, and as he's screwing in the first (matching) screws, both screws BREAK mid way, leaving half of each screw embedded in the drawer front! At this point, lots of expletives are flying right and left, and I am about ready to cry. So we cease the pull installation, and I call rh to try to explain to them that mt drawer front is ruined because these screws were, well, screwy. I don't think they're buying it...and i'll hear from the powers that be in72 hours.

What to do? They told me the've never heard of this problem before (perhaps implying blame on our part? At this point, I'm totally terrified to try to install any of the other pulls. And I'm highly annoyed, as you know these pulls are not cheap!

Any words of wisdom from the experienced GW community???

Comments (45)

  • NatalieChantal

    Did you pre-drill the holes before putting in the screws? That would be the best way to avoid problems like that. Might want to try that with another pull before giving up on the screws provided...

  • jalsy6

    Totally had pre-drilled already. Just a real bummer.

  • Related Discussions

  • palimpsest

    Were the screw holes big enough that the screw did not "bite" into the wood itself? They are machine screws and the should screw into the handle but not the wood. They should be Snug, but there should be just enough room to slide the screw through the wood.

  • Fori

    (These pulls are actually screwed ONTO the face of the drawer, not through it like normal ones.)

    RH is pretty good on customer service. I hope they come through for you, Jalsy. Would longer screws (that didn't break) work and let you salvage the drawer front?

  • jalsy6

    At the risk of this heading in potentially...wrong sounding direction...do you mean that we shouldn't have pre drilled because they just screw right in (thus the self tapping screw ends)? So the knobs have a housing that the screw goes into, as opposed to going into the wood directly (which the pulls do)? Either that, or I'm just really confused. Would think that either way screws should not be breaking, no?

  • palimpsest

    Oops I looked at the wrong thing. I thought these screwed in from the back, never mind, sorry.

  • Fori

    Can you get the broken screws out? I'm sure you can save the situation with new screws IF you can get the old ones out. But that's the tricky bit I guess. Might need to visit the woodworking forum. :/

  • littlesmokie

    Sorry I don't have advice on how to proceed, just wanted to wanted to reassure you and your DH it is NOT just you. "The powers that be" already know this is a problem.

    I have a sample of a PN Gilmore pull sitting here as well, but I am wary of them since, unfortunately, I've seen several posts here over the last couple years about problems with the mounting screws of their hardware. A quick search found this one (see last sentence, especially):

    * Posted by karenkess (My Page) on
    Fri, Oct 29, 10 at 9:59

    "We purchased RH knobs and bin pulls for our kitchen remodel project. While the knobs and pulls themselves are of good quality, the screws included have been nothing but trouble. The screws included with the knobs will not thread through and we had to replace them all. The screws included with the pulls break while trying to install and we had to replace them as well."

    So sorry this happened to you, after all the time waiting on your new cabinets (and the trekking so far to RH to get your hardware.) Best of luck and please do keep us updated on the outcome.

  • marcydc

    I guess I was lucky. While mine mount from the back (RH bistro), the screws that came with them (2 per) were the wrong length for my cabinets (which are standard!). So while it took me 5 trips to Ace to get the number I needed (don't ask why five), I guess it was a good thing.

  • lilydixie

    The same thing happened to us when installing some RH pulls. It was in our Utility room and it was just 2 pulls. The screw head snapped off right when it was drilled in. Everything functions ok so we just left them as is. I hope they're able to remedy it for you!

  • hortonbrass

    I think I can help here.

    First of all-screws don't really come in different grades. That's just not the way fasteners work. Screws are made to certain tolerances. Small screws, particularly brass ones, but stainless steel and steel too, can easily shear. This is what happened to you. Getting the broken ones out is a PITA. No way around it. You have to grab what you can with pliers and unscrew them. Then dab a little wood putty in the holes so you can remount. This should not ruin your drawers. You are simply filling the holes and putting in new screws where the old ones were. Nothing you do should be visible once the pulls are on.

    Next step-get new screws. If you can't get more from the store-take some screws down to a local hardware store and buy some more. They should have a chart so you can find out what size they are. Hopefully you can find matching screws. Pick up some extra steel screws as well.

    Next-what wood is your drawer made from? Hardwood or softwood? There are certain pilot holes sizes for different woods and screw types. This link should help:


    In fact, it will be helpful to read over all of their fastener info pages.

    So now that we have figured out the proper pilot hole diameter you can actually get the screws in. If you bought some plain screws in addition to the replacements-drill your holes (making sure you go deep enough so the end of the screw isn't driving into wood). Then use a little wax or oil and pre-drive your plain screws into the holes and then drive them out. Once that is done, dab a little oil on your final screws and install the hardware. You should also drive the screws by hand not with a drill.

    It is a good idea to use a handful of steel screws as drivers even if your not snapping screws-it will insure that your final screws don't have any nicks on the heads. I would also encourage you to line up the slots on the screws so they are all parallel, but that's just me.

  • jalsy6

    Wow, thanks so much you guys. It makes me feel much better knowing this is not a 'unique' problem as the store manager tried to tell me. In fact, just to experiment we tried pre-drilling into our sample door, with the proper size bit, and also tried not pre drilling as well. The screws busted in both instances. My dh did notice that the screw are one material on the inside, and a different exterior. Not sure if that is significant.
    I so appreciate all the advise and commiseration, and I will keep you posted for sure!

  • redroze

    RH screws are not good...not long enough iirc. Cabinet guy used his own. Surprising given the quality of the hardware!

  • homeagain

    You should point RH to this discussion.

  • traceee

    I agree with Homeagain. Someone should e-mail or send hard mail copy of this to Restoration Hardware. This forum is pure free advertising for them. Over and over again people recommend them for purchases. Truthfully, I had never heard of Restoration Hardware before GW.

    Does a company like this want a negative publicity over something so simple as poor screws? Especially at the prices they charge? Did the sales lady really try to "pretend" she had never heard of this problem? Hmmmmmmmmm....

  • hortonbrass

    Try the next diameter up in drill bits and oil the screws. What color are the screws on the inside (where broken)? Do you have a piece of wood (the same species) to test on? That would be helpful to dial in the correct bit.

    Drill bit charts are helpful but every wood is different and they are really a starting point.

    Drilling a stepped pilot hole can also help so the screw doesn't bind closer to the head where it is a larger diameter.

    Are the screws fully threaded? IE, do the threads run all the way to the head? The only thing that makes a given screw "better" or worse is if they are fully threaded or not. Fully threaded screws are seen as better by most people, but it really depends on the application. Fully threaded screws are generally better for surface mounting hardware. A stepped pilot hole is almost a necessity if the screws are not fully threaded.

  • jalsy6

    The screws do not appear to be fully threaded. They are brass like on the inside and nickel/chrome like on the outside. I think I"m going to get different hardware, and try your drilling suggestions with those instead of chancing any more problems with the rh screws. I do have a sample door that we can work with. Oh, and the wood species is maple. Thanks for your help!

  • hortonbrass

    Brass screws are gold inside. Brass is a great metal for a lot reasons, but one thing it is is soft. It is good they gave you brass screws as opposed to steel with nickel plating-they won't corrode over time. For nickel and chrome hardware though, stainless steels won't corrode either, are a near perfect match, and a substantially easier to install.

    Maple is about the hardest wood there is. Professional cabinetmakers have a tough time driving screws into maple. Test different bits and depths until you get the hang of it.

    Again, while not a RH fan (!), there is really nothing wrong with their screws. Driving wood screws into hardwood is simply difficult without a fair bit of practice.

  • domesticah

    Hi, I have a mix of RH Pulls (gilmore, aubry) and Horton brass polished chrome hardware. My contractor told me about the problem with the brass screws -- they are soft and can break and it is a nightmare to get them out. So we bought almost the exact screw in Stainless Steel, which is substantially harder (it is a smidge less shiny, but it is a compromise I was willing to make and you really cannot notice). Here is the info from the top of the Box:

    Brand: Midwest Fastener Connection
    6 x 1 Phillips Flat Sheet Metal Screws Stainless Steel
    Lot# JPT3530

    I hope this helps, although I hope getting the screws out is not going to ruin your cabinet finish. Good luck. : )

  • jalsy6

    Thank so much hortonbrass and domesticah (and everyone else). This place is the best!

  • jalsy6

    Just thought I'd update those of you who chimed in above...so no surprise that RH insisted on sending out a 'furniture medic' (is that a paramedic for furniture? Yikes!). He came out and agreed that the screws were useless, too soft, and it wasn't my skill (or lack thereof) that caused the problem. That was almost two weeks ago. Haven't heard a thing since. In the meantime, I called my KD at HD to inquire about the cost of a new drawer front, which seems to be the best solution here - and I was ready to give that bill to RH. Guess what? My KD had Thomasville ship me one for FREE! Total shocker. And it arrived within about a week. One customer service experience against another, HD wins by leaps and bounds.
    Isn't it ironic that RH needs 'furniture medics' in the first place? For the money they charge, there should be built in defibrillators in each and every item!
    So...now I just have to swallow my pride and finish buying the rest of my glass pulls there.
    Live and learn though, that's for sure!

  • bigjim24

    jalsy6, just catching up here, but quite a few people I know have had the same issue. That's why I did not go with them. Way to go KD and Thomasville. Yea for you. 'Furniture medics!" are you kidding me here?! And what kind of "medic" doesn't respond in 2 weeks?

  • sombreuil_mongrel

    Very many new screws are useless. It began about 20 years ago with the screws that came with mini-blinds; they would twist off all too easily. They are still bad chinese-made junk, but it has spread to other screws. The heads mung up, or they twist off. No amount of beeswax or tapered pilot drilling will help. They are unfit for their intended use.
    Polished nickel slot head screws are impossible to find anywhere. RH has a big problem on their hands if this wasn't limited to one box of screws.

  • littlesmokie

    I'm so glad you updated and bumped up this thread jalsy. There is a LOT of great info that was contributed. Especially interested in the comments by Horton Brasses, that maybe the screws are not really at fault/tips to ensure success at install.

    But I still can't believe RH sent someone out to look at problem (?!) and then have had no follow up (?!) since then. I'm so sorry they're delaying you like this. It's totally not acceptable and unfortunately delays like this seem to be par for the course in a remodel (ask me how I know!)

    Incidentally, sombreuil mongrel, the RH pulls we got came with Phillips screws, not flat heads. So it is only the "period" sticklers of us who need to look for slot head PN screws ;)

  • jalsy6

    I forgot to mention that I did use 1"stainless screws for the rest of the pulls, and they worked out fine. No, they're not nickel, but I can't discern any difference in the finish. I think a couple people suggested the steel, and thankfully no more breakage!

  • nancyaustin

    Wow! I wish I'd read your original post and the follow-ups before this past Saturday when I was installing 4" Gilmore cup pulls on our daughter's kitchen cabinets! On the first cup pull, one of the screws broke off in the drawer front. Unlike jalsy6, I can't get a new drawer front. My daughter bought this house last year & we've no idea who made the cabinet. I can't dig out the broken part of the screw as it is well below the surface of the drawer front. Any ideas on how to remove the broken screw? I brought the drawer to our house (our daughter lives an hour away) to see if I can repair it.

  • jessicaml

    Nancy, head to your local hardware store (bring the drawer) and see if they have a screw extractor in the right size. You'll have to have a steady hand and drill it straight into the screw, but it should get it out.

  • nancyaustin

    Thanks, Jessica. I'll do that tomorrow. The screw isn't all that large so it may be tough to drill into it, but that sounds like a good idea.

  • jalsy6

    I did try the drill through the screw thing. And I had success on the right side of the pull (managed to get the new screw in even, but when I got to the left, the bit actually broke off in the drawer front as well. So then it was just clear that the thing could not be fixed. I did look for the screw extractor, but couldn't find one small enough for the tiny screws that came with the pull. Good luck!

  • suzanne_sl

    I agree with homeagain and traceee, RH needs to aware of this discussion. I'm just to the point of looking for drawer and door handware. Guess where I'm not going to bother to look?

  • sombreuil_mongrel

    You can use a small plug-cutter bit to drill around the broken off screw (the plug-cutter is a hollow-centered bit) then fill the hole with the next-larger wooden plug, glued in place. Then it's easy to re-drill into real wood. I prefer plugs over dowels for repairs like this because you are not trying to get screws to hold into end-grain, which is weak.

  • nancyaustin

    Jalsy6, I couldn't find a small enough screw extractor. What a mess, that your bit broke off! I am glad you could get a new drawer front.

    Casey, thanks for your suggestion about a plug-cutter and using a wood plug. Your woodworking skills are legend, though, so I'm sure you could accomplish that repair easily and beautifully! This repair is way beyond my skill set. I think I am going to try to get a cabinet maker to repair the drawer.

  • dab07

    I'm so glad I did a search on Gilmore pulls before buying them! RH has them on final sale, and I was wondering why, since they're so nice. I wanted the oil rubbed bronze finish and I don't know if I'd be able to find a good replacement screw to match. Thanks for the heads up.

  • amh615

    3 years later...the same thing just happened to me! Our cgi had 4 screws snap off now they're stuck in the cabinet face. He says we should find 2 inch screws that can have a nut in the end so it goes all the way through the face of drawer. Problem is all the screws like this are silver-colored. Not black which would match our oil-rubbed bronze.

  • amh615

    3 years later...the same thing just happened to me! Our cgi had 4 screws snap off now they're stuck in the cabinet face. He says we should find 2 inch screws that can have a nut in the end so it goes all the way through the face of drawer. Problem is all the screws like this are silver-colored. Not black which would match our oil-rubbed bronze.

  • mudhouse_gw

    amh615, here's a link to a good product that we used in our business. We made hand forged iron hardware, and sometimes used this to blacken the heads of specialty bolts, acorn nuts, and screws to match the dark color of our hardware. We used it by the gallon, but they sell small bottles as well.

    Van's Instant Gun Blue

    You can dip the screw heads in the solution and let it darken. Then dry thoroughly, buff with a soft cloth, and spray with a bit of clear finish. The benefit is it changes the plating itself to a dark color; it's not a black paint that scratches off easily.

    There may be similar products available, but this one worked well for us for years. It might be easier than searching the ends of the earth for black screws that meet your needs.

  • bblakeney

    We are using RH Aubrey pulls on maple cabinets and even with predrilled holes, the included brass screws broke! We love the pulls, so are replacing with stainless steel screws. RH says they've not heard of this problem before. . . .Just a caution for everyone considering their cabinet hardware.

  • Bunny

    Wow. Can't believe this is still happening. I'm considering towel bars and glass vanity knobs (all requiring screws) from RH but now I'm not so sure.

  • peony4

    Linelle, just supply your own screws. :-)

    I have Aubrey pulls and one of the RH screws broke early on during install. My installer high-tailed it over to the big box to get better screws (I'm not sure if they were longer, bigger, or what).

    I'm sure RH knows all about this but isn't inclined to spend more money on better screws because consumers who love their look will still buy their products. It's a shame. But, admittedly, I love the feel of my Aubreys...

  • Bunny

    peony4, I know, I know. :p That's exactly the answer I'd give. And that's fine, esp. after the fact, when you need a simple, inexpensive, quick fix. Still, it's irritating to be seduced by the luscious images on their website (and RH does that really well), spend your good money, and get, what? Subpar screws?!!!

  • peony4

    Linelle, you'll forget all about the screws as you peruse their coffee-table quality catalogs that arrive in the mail.

    RH Customer service: "They're complaining about the screws again!"

    RH Marketing: "Nevermind. Just send them our latest catalog, along with the small-space supplement featuring the pied-a-terres from around the world."

    Consumer (me): "Oooh... pretty!"

  • crl_

    When I bought towel bars and such for our bathroom model last summer, my contractor was very relieved to hear I wasn't getting anything from Restoration Hardware. He said in his experience they tended to have parts missing or install issues and bad customer service in resolving things. I had remembered threads like this one here so I hadn't even looked at their stuff. Think I will continue to just not even look.

  • Bunny

    So, so pretty.

    It was a toss-up between RH and PB, complicated by RH currently having a 20% off sale. I don't know if PB's any better for towel bars and TP holders, but I'm going with them. I'm so tired of batting that ball back and forth.

  • crl_

    Fwiw, my contractor didn't have any complaints about pottery barn and I did use a few pottery barn items with no problems.

  • calumin

    For what it's worth, we also had RH Aubrey pulls with maple cabinets. Out of 174 pre-drilled holes and screws, none of them broke.

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