( NOT THAT YOU NEED ONE.....)
Stan The Old Hardware Man ........ Discontinued Amerock Specialist
There are many different kinds of hinges. I will
deal primarily with hinges for kitchen cabinets in this section.
Self closing hinges:
Finish closing the
door for you.
Hold the door closed
( but not in a motor home, travel trailer, or boat ).
Thicker steel than a
non-self closing hinge.
Non-self closing hinges
Don't help you close
Require a catch to keep
the door closed.
Made of thinner steel.
Parts of a
There are three basic parts to a hinge ....
(1) The pivot point ... ( the pin, or barrel ), then on either side of the pivot point .....
(2) the Frame Wing and (3) the Door
wing. The frame wing mounts to the frame or cabinet side and the
door wing mounts to the door.
The frame wing can mount
several different ways.
- The most common would be a fully
exposed frame wing with the exposed screws going directly into
the surface of the face frame
- Some hinges have screws that mount
under the door directly into the surface of the face frame, leaving only the
barrel of the hinge showing when the door is closed. This hinge would have a
hidden surface mount frame wing.
- Some frame wings wrap
around the face frame and the screws holding the hinge to the frame go into
the edge of the face frame. This frame wing is a wrap
variety. If it turns again to go behind the frame it is a full wrap
.... if it only goes around the edge of the frame it is a
partial wrap. >>>>>> Important ............ if you have a
partial or full wrap hinge then you need to know the "overlay"
.......... the amount that the door overlays or covers the face frame.
- Cup hinges, sometimes
called European cup hinges are mounted to the door with a
"cup" ..... (see the door section below). The frame or sidewall (for
frameless cabinets ) mount is usually done with a bracket. Some of them
are "clip-on" versions, meaning that once the bracket is attached to the frame
or sidewall then you can "clip on" the hinge to the bracket. ( It is a speed
of installation thing ) . There are many versions / brands of these hinges.
The degree of opening is important. There are specialty cup hinges for special
applications ..... . These are specialized hinges and you need to deal with
someone who has a lot of knowledge. If you get stuck I will refer you to a
couple of good places to call.
- Some Demountable hinges
have a frame wing that attaches into a "T" slot cut into the
face frame with a screw into a wedge.
The door wing can come in
- A surface mount. It
mounts to the front of the door with exposed screws. The most common
application might be the colonial weathered steel hinges in either black or
antique copper ....... in either an "H" or "HL"
configuration. There were also a lot of rectangular hinges made back as far as
the 1930's, often with horizontal lines in them ..... sometimes the lines were
colored with black, red, yellow, white, blue, or green. And there are other
surface mount door wings as well.
- A slab overlay hinge has
a door wing that is flat and mounts to the back side of the door. It may also
be called a variable overlay hinge because the amount that the
door overlays the door opening in the cabinet is not a fixed amount set by the
- Slab overlay reverse bevel
hinges. The door wing has a bevel, usually 30 degrees,
to accommodate a reverse beveled door edge. This is done to save on cabinet
hardware cost or to achieve a very clean look, maybe both !
The homeowner is to open the door by putting his/her fingers behind the lip
- Many cabinets have lip doors.
The lip covers a part of the face frame when the door is closed.
The portion of the door that is behind the lip protrudes back
into the cabinet door opening when the door is closed. These lip doors
have two critical measurements when trying to match hinges to them ........
the width of the lip ....... and the depth of the inset
of the door ( the amount that it goes back into the cabinet behind the face
frame ). The most common lip is 3/8". They can also be 1/2" or a
different measurement. The most common inset is 3/8". Less
common but standard are insets of 1/2", 5/8", and 3/4". There
are probably more that I am not aware of .......
- Full inset doors go all
of the way back into the cabinet door opening and when closed are flush
on the surface with the face frame. These doors are most commonly mounted with
a flat surface hinge .... both wings mounted on the front of the frame and
door. The next most common application would be a hinge whose frame wing
mounts to the side of the face frame, and whose door wing mounts
to both the side of the door and wraps behind the door and is again secured to
the door there with screws. (Some of these hinges will not have the
extra screw into the side of the door). Some of the newer full inset
hinges have fancy pins and may have an angled mount/wrap for screwing to the
face frame. The door thickness will make a difference in the hinge you
use. The most common would be 3/4". You may also find hinges for 9/16",
11/16", and 13/16" thick doors. Partial wrap frame wings
work on most face frames. There are some full wrap door
wings made for 3/4" face frames.
- Cup hinges mount to the inside of the
door in a round hole drilled part of the way into the door. They are secured
with two screws that may be fastened into plastic plugs forced into holes in
the door. The location of the hole in relationship to the edge of the door is
- The door wing of a
demountable hinge mounts to the door with a wedge that fits
into the edge of the door in a slot that has been routed into the door on an
incline. A single screw allows adjustment of the door.
( The section above did
not address PIN HINGES directly ..........
though most of it applies ..... the pin hinge uses a rivet or
pin as the pivot point ...... does not have a barrel ).
Pin hinges come in both
self-closing and non-self closing. They can come so that they mount to the top
and bottom of the door ......... and also can come configured to mount into a
saw kerf in the middle of the door. It is important to know the
overlay ( the amount that the door overlays the face frame ) and you
may need to know the door thickness/face frame thickness as well.
Butt Hinges are made to
mount either to the side of the face frame and to the side of the door ( like
the walk thru doors in your home ) ...... or they can be surface mounted on both
the door and face frame. In this case you would have a flush mount.
Butterfly hinges are
surface mount hinges ( usually for flush doors ) that have
a shape to them that might remind you of a butterfly. I assume that there were
also some butterfly hinges made for lip doors
........ offset butterfly hinges (probably 3/8" offset).
This section does not
cover all hinges ........... but is a good start. There are many specialty
hinges that have been produced over the years. I hope that the above has helped
you learn enough "hinge language" to impress someone ..........
and to communicate your needs. Most importantly, to help you find what you
Be sure to look at some of the
photographs of hinges. They may help you figure out what I am trying to
communicate ........ especially if I was not making myself clear ........