Cast in metals ranging from wrought – iron to brass, door hinges come in a wide array of styles to complement virtually any door. Most fit into one of four basic categories shown at right. Clock-case hinges are best suited to doors that overlay their opening. Commonly used for flush-mounted doors, butt hinges typically sit in shallow mortises cut into the door and case. Surface – mounted hinges are ideal for imparting an antique or rustic look to a door. Concealed hinges, such as the European cabinet hinge, are completely hidden when the door is closed.
Before installing the hinges, read the manufacturer’s instructions regarding hinge placement. If you are working with fine woods, tap the stock for brass machine screws after drilling pilot holes to reduce the chance of splitting. A spot of glue in the hole will improve the holding ability of the screw.
Attaching the hinge bodies
On your drill press, install a Forstner bit the width of the hinge body—typically, 35mm. Set the door outside-face down on the machine’s table, then align the bit with one of the two marks for the hinges. If you are hanging several doors, clamp stop blocks against the edge and end of the door. Set the drilling depth to the thickness of the hinge body. Holding the door flush against the stop blocks, feed the bit into the door (left). If you are working with more than one door, drill the other ones, too. Then align the mark at the other end of the door under the drill bit. Reposition the stop blocks and bore the hole; repeat for any other doors. Set the door on a work surface and screw the hinge body in place (inset).
2 Aligning and attaching the mounting plates
Have a helper hold the door in its open position against the case. Extend the hinge arms to butt the mounting plates against the panel. Mark a reference line around the plates, then unscrew them from the hinge arms. Place the plates in position on the panel inside the case and drive in the screws (left).
Hanging the door
Slide the arms onto the mounting plates and screw in place (right). Close the door and check its position on the case. You can adjust the height, depth or lateral position of the door by loosening or tightening the adjustment screws on the hinge arms.
1 Routing mortises for the hinges
Secure the door in handscrews and clamp them in place on a work surface. Position one of the hinges on the door edge, making sure that the pin projects over the edge. Mark the outline of the hinge leaf with a pencil. Repeat for the second hinge. Install a straight-cutting bit on a router and set the depth of cut to the thickness of a hinge leaf. Protecting the door with wood pads, clamp a board to the door as an edge guide. Position the router bit slightly above the door edge just inside the outline. Gripping the handles firmly, turn on the tool and lower the bit into the stock. Once the base plate sits squarely on the door (right), guide the bit in a circular motion around the outline. Use a wood chisel to square the edges of the mortises, then screw the hinges to the door.
While a helper holds the door against the case in its open position, butt the hinge leaves against the inside face of the case. Making sure that the hardware’s pin projects beyond the edge of the panel, use a pencil to outline the hinge leaf (far left). Place the case on its side and rout the mortises, following the same procedures described in step 1. Then screw the hinges to the case (near left).
across the corners of the door opening. Place small sandpaper shims on top of the pieces of tape, then set the door in place. Once you are satisfied with the positioning, mark the door corners on the tape with a pencil. Next, butt the hinges against the edge of the door; use a tape measure to make sure that they are equally spaced from the top and bottom of the door (above). Holding the upper half of the hinge in place, slip off the bottom half and the hinge pin. Then mark the screw holes on the door edge (inset).
Mounting the hinges on the door
Secure the door to a work surface with handscrews and clamps, then bore pilot holes at each marked point. Hold the top half of each hinge square to the door edge and screw it in place (right).
3 Hanging the door
Reassemble the hinge and reposition the door on the case. Check that the corners of the door are aligned with the marks on the masking tape. Holding the bottom half of one of the hinges, disassemble the hinge and move the door aside, then mark the screw holes on the case. Repeat for the other hinge. Bore pilot holes, then screw the bottom half of each hinge to the case (left). Remove the shims and tape strips, insert the pin in the bottom part of the hinge and then place the door on the case.
With the door good-face up on a work surface, position the hinges on the door, making sure that the pins extend just beyond the edge of the door. Also check that the hinges are the same distance from the top and bottom of the door. Mark the screw holes on the door with a pencil, then bore pilot holes. Screw the hinges to the door. To mount the hinges to the piece of furniture, set the case on its back. Hold the door in the case and place a piece of sandpaper between the two to serve as a shim. With the hinge pin centered over the edge of the door opening, mark the screw holes on the case. Bore pilot holes and drive in the screws (right).