8 Common Hinges
by Nancy Hiller
Wherever there’s a door, there must be hinges – and just as there’s a galaxy of door types, there is a variety of hinges and modes of installation. Even when we narrow the field to those used in furniture and built-ins (as distinct from entry doors or gates designed for cattle), the options are many. In this article, we’ll describe the uses and installation of several common varieties. In the June 2018 issue (#239) we’ll add five that are less common.
Surface-mounted hinges are decorative, often having strong period associations – especially with built-ins from the early 20th century – and are simple to install. They come in two main varieties, for either inset or halfoverlay doors.
First, determine the position of the hinges on the door. Many butterfly hinges have sloppy-fi tting pins that allow for more movement than is desirable. (Stay tuned – I’ll address this later.)
Set one flap of the hinge on the door, positioned so the barrel is just under halfway onto the door’s hinge stile. Leaving the barrel a little less than halfway over the edge of the door will create a small gap between the door and the cabinet side or face frame.
Drill for two screws in each hinge using a Vix bit (a specialty bit that drills holes centered on a hinge’s mounting holes), then insert two steel screws of the same size as those you will use in your final fitting. Leave the third hole alone in case you need to adjust the position of the hinge.
Set the door in its opening on shims. For this demonstration I used pennies. I also taped pennies to the hinge stile to create a gap of the same width. Hold the door steady with one hand and drill two holes in each hinge with the other. Then insert screws and check the fit.
If there’s too much play in the barrel, adjust the fit by moving a screw to the third hole, pulling or pushing the door up or down until it hangs as you want it.
Once the door is fitted, mark the holes for final hanging, remove the hinges, sand and finish. Then insert the finish screws. You can use the same method for half-overlay doors; just insert the coins under the ledge of the rabbet.
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