Touch/Push Latches and Spring-Activated Hinges

      Pairing latches and hinges for a situation where the customer wants hidden hardware and positive latching action on the door. May 15, 2011

I will be installing touch/push latches throughout a clientís house to keep their cabinet doors closed in the event of an earthquake. The goal is to find a latch that doesnít require a key, the turning of a knob, is easy to operate, doesnít look gaudy, and physically keeps the doors closed.

Currently, they use the Rev-a-Shelf Rev-a-Lock magnetic child safety lock, which uses a magnet housed in a separate ďkeyĒ to open a lock that is completely hidden behind the door. Keeping the key on hand and having to move it from door to door has become tedious. The locks work well, though.

I am looking for some feedback on different options, including...

Hafele non-magnetic touch latch, item #245.50.301 (or similar from another manufacturer). My clientís concern with this latch is that itís made of plastic and may fatigue in time.

Hafele 245.56.901 or similar. Iíve heard that these often fail when used daily, but I donít have first-hand knowledge of such failures.

Ives 820 or CL11 or CL12. Iíve been told that these are very reliable. I do have a sample, and its only apparent drawback is that the latch is a little stiff, but I suspect it will loosen up in time; however, this initial stiffness may be too much for my client.

It bears mentioning that all of the doors in the house have self-closing European cup hinges on them. Some of the doors will be used several times a day, so the latches need to be able to sustain some wear. Also, the doors do have handles on them, so the spring in the latch doesnít necessarily need to shoot the door open. Yes, my clients are aware of the fact that people will pull on the handles, expecting the doors to open, but they can live with that.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor P:
Self-closing (and/or soft closing) hinges are usually a bad match for touch latches. They tend to fight each other. I always use free swing hinges with touch latches.

From contributor B:
I don't have the product code at hand, but Salice has a pretty good touch release system that you use with their reverse spring hinges. This would require a lot of hardware change-out, but we've used them a lot and have had no issues.

And I agree with contributor P - touch release + self closing = pain in the butt. Switching out to an unsprung hinge will save you all kinds of trouble.

From contributor J:
I can vouch for the first latch even though they are plastic. I installed some in an outdoor cabinet I made for a client which sees frequent whipping winds in excess of 40-60 mph. The previous cabinet he had made lasted less than 2 months - the wind frequently rattled the doors open and thrashed them around. My cabinet has been in place almost two years and the doors have not opened once unless he opens them.

Bad idea to use any of these with self closing. These in particular, you actually have to push the door in a little to engage or disengage the catch. Alignment at installation is a little tricky but not too hard.

Are rare earth magnets a possibility? They have an incredibly strong hold and would work well with soft close, self closing and handles. I've purchased these catches and rare earth magnets both from Rockler. The magnets can be installed with a cup and a disc as a strike plate which focus the magnetic field to increase their effectiveness and are quite attractive. Not rated for earthquakes, but they have a strong hold. My fear would be damaging the catches or doors by pulling the handles without disengaging either of these catches properly.

From contributor D:
I can agree with contributor B. We [Salice] have a full line of self opening hinges called Push Hinges. These will work very well in conjunction with any of the touch latches you are reviewing. Unlike a self closing hinge that will indeed fight the action of the touch latch, the Push Hinge, with its patented spring, will completely open the door once the touch latch is activated (slight touch on the door).

A free swing hinge is also a possible option, however if used, the door will still open only slightly once the touch latch is activated. A Push Hinge will open the door to a full 110 degrees.

If the cabinets currently have either Salice or Blum concealed hinges, a change-out would be simple. There would be, however, the added cost of the new hinges and mounting plates.

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