Tool Test: Lee Valley Knife Hinges
by Matthew Teague
The first time I installed knife hinges I did so with an inexpensive pair, thinking it would be a good way to learn the process without wasting a lot of money on what is a notoriously finicky piece of hardware. Instead, I learned why quality knife hinges are worth every cent.
Any play or wiggle in the hinge will show up in the swing of the door, and making adjustments after installation is difficult if not impossible. Knife hinges made of thin, stamped steel, with irregularities in the thickness of the leaves or imperfections in the action of the pivot, simply won’t function as they should. You can’t pay me enough to use cheap ones again.
With that first set of knife hinges in mind, I was hesitant to try the new ones from Lee Valley. Once I got them in my hands, however, I was more hopeful. They have the weight and smooth action of quality hardware, and the brass versions are hard to distinguish from Brusso’s (long the standard by which knife hinges are measured).
Likewise, as far as installation goes, I recently installed a few pairs of Brusso hinges and wouldn’t walk across the street for the difference. Like the Brusso line, the Lee Valley hinges are available in straight and offset orientations and in a wide range of sizes. You have your choice of either brass or stainless steel.And they’re priced notably less than comparable hinges from Brusso, which means Lee Valley will likely become my first stop for knife hinges.
If I have one complaint, it’s that the Lee Valley hinges don’t come with screws. It’s not a huge problem with the brass hinges, but the stainless finish is akin in appearance to brushed nickel, so matching the screws is a challenge. While I love the look of the stainless versions, I wish Lee Valley provided matching screws.
From the June 2012 issue #197.
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