Hinge choice & fitting advice needed.


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31 Jan 2013
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I've just built a cabinet and I'm just finishing off the door. The door is just plain 19mm oak- veneered MDF with 6 mm solid oak edges. The size of the door is 73cm high by 45cm wide. I have a couple of questions regarding the hinge choice and fitting that I'd be grateful for some advice on.

1) I've just bought the following hinges http://www.screwfix.com/p/self-colour-64-x-35mm-2-pack/43111?_requestid=196896 and wanted to check, before attempting to fit, that the size will be suitable and adequate for the door mentioned above.

2) I've been reading in my Joyce Furniture Making book that the thickness of the hinge can be recessed into both the cabinet edge and the door itself, or the thickness of the hinge (both leaves) can be recessed into the cabinet edge only. What is the correct and preferred method please?
How are you fitting a 35mm wide hinge to a 19mm thick door?

By the bye. I think you'll be lucky if hinges screwed into the side of a piece of MDF that size and weight will hold, although the 6mm lip will help a bit. I would certainly use three not two. You don't say what the cabinet is for - would kitchen unit type hinges be better?
Hi Phil,

The hinge width is 35mm in total, about 15mm each leaf to the knuckle (is that the correct term).
The cabinet is one I made to match an old 1950's oak office desk which I use for my computer. The cabinet is stained with Van Dyke Crystals to match the colour and it will be used to store several packs of photo printing paper up to A3+ in size. I definitely prefer the brass butt hinge rather than the kitchen cupboard type.
Sorry, I didn't make it clear. The door has 6mm edging but the hinge will of course be screwed to the inside face. The front of the cabinet is actually a 24mm solid oak edge, glued and biscuited in place.
Generally on kitchen cabinets these days, the hinge is cut out of the door only -about 3.5mm deep for those hinges
If you recess the hinge into the door and into the frame, both recesses can do their share of holding the weight of the door. If you recess only one side, all the weight on the other side will be on the screws, so I think that's not the best way.

You might like to have a look at this video by Paul Sellers where he covers fitting hinged doors in more detail than I have seen demonstrated elsewhere - it's a 45 minute video. He cuts recesses on both sides.


What he shows is a systematic approach, making all the necessary adjustments, in the right order. I intend to follow it next time I make something with hinged doors.
A few random observations on hanging cabinet doors.

-You'll often read the advice to sink in the hinge mortice to a depth equal to the thickness of the hinge leaf. IMO that's poor advice. If you go that route then you're leaving control over the size of the gap between the hinge stile and the cabinet frame or carcass to the hinge manufacturer, and they generally have an "unswaged" gap that's far too wide for quality cabinet work at about 1.5-2.5mm.

-Source your hinges to fit the thickness of your door stiles and face frames...or if you're working in solid timber, adjust your stile thicknesses to fit the hinges! There's nothing worse than a 16 or 17mm leaf fitted to an 18mm thick stile, the remaining 1 or 2mm of material on the stile inevitably breaks away, and then you're left with an unsightly mess. Personally I ensure stiles are at least a full 3mm thicker than the width of the hinge leaf. Some makers go the other direction and aim to have hinge leaves precisely span the full thickness of the stile. Personally I'm not convinced, as you then have zero positioning flexibility, and if the hinge protrudes past the stile by even a whisker it looks really tacky.

-Check that the countersink on the hinges can fully accommodate the screw head so the screws are not proud in the slightest (even if they've been screwed in slightly skewed...which of course will never happen!). If the screw heads are proud they'll push against each other and try and force the door open. If you decide to replace the screws that came with the hinge, possibly substituting something that's a bit bigger, then you may need to enlarge the countersink. I'll sometimes use specialist high quality, brass hinges that come without any holes drilled in the leaves at all. That way I can decide on how I want the screws positioned (in a line or slightly off-set) and what size screw and depth countersink I want.

-In quality work it's customary to ease the arrises on the top and bottom of the hinge knuckles, they should be slightly rounded so there's no risk of snagging if a client's clothing brushes against them.

-In terms of sinking the hinge in one side or both, personally I do both sides equally but with one important exception. If you work a bead around the door opening that's the exact same thickness as the hinge knuckle, then you can sink the hinge entirely into the stile, with the knuckle perfectly inset into the bead. It means the door won't open quite as far, but it doesn't half look nice! Incidentally that was the traditional way of hanging doors on top quality corner cabinets, which of course don't need a door that opens so wide because they're constrained by the walls.
Thank you very much guys.There's some excellent advice given on several things I hadn't realized. Thanks also for the link to Paul Seller's video,I shall watch that late this evening.

Does anyone else have any advice on whether two hinges will be sufficient for a 73cm x 45cm door, or are three going to be essential?

Also, when marking out the recess for the hinge. Is it best to mark to the edge of the knuckle or should it be to the center of it. I've seen both methods mentioned and wasn't sure what the best method was?
JJ1":s3mdph3x said:
when marking out the recess for the hinge. Is it best to mark to the edge of the knuckle or should it be to the center of it. I've seen both methods mentioned and wasn't sure what the best method was

The centre of the knuckle should be proud of the front of the case and the door by 0.5-1.0mm, it was easier with imperial because you always aimed for 1/32" which was just perfect for furniture scale work.

You should be okay with two hinges...provided you do everything right with snug mortices and correctly sized pilot holes, remember the mortice actually carries the weight, the screws are just there to keep the hinge in the mortice. It's with doors around about 900mm or 1000mm tall that I normally switch to three hinges. There's also the issue that three hinges aren't 50% trickier to fit that two hinges, in reality they're double or triple the complexity because you really do have to get the centre lines of the three knuckles in a precise line to prevent binding. I'd always recommend getting confident and proficient with two hinge doors before moving on to a three hinge construction.

Good luck!
Thank you very much indeed Custard that's a big help and I just wanted to say how much I appreciate all of your input to the forum. I log in every day and read a very large proportion of the threads and your posts in particular are absolutely invaluable to someone such as myself who's relatively new to woodworking. Thank you.

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