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Do-It-Yourself Weekend Project #105
"How to Install Hinges"

Tool and Material Checklist

Hinges (proper size), Screwdriver, Folding rule, Hammer, Hand saw, Mallet, Screws (proper size), Hand drill, Wood chisel (proper size), Saber saw, Sandpaper, T Square

1. Selecting Right or Left Hand Hinges

Most hinges are reversible. By reversible I mean they can be used with either end mounted in an upright position.

However, some hinges are made specifically for either a right or a left hand door. They cannot be reversed. In this case you must select the proper hinge for right or left hand use. The question is: How do you know which hinge to use? Let's suppose the hinge is a loose pin hinge. In this case the hinge must be mounted in such a way that the pin can be removed from the top. In other words, the hinge cannot be reversed.

The outside of a door is the corridor side of an interior door or the outside of an exterior door. Stand on the outside of a door. If the door opens from you and to your right, it will require right hand hinges. If it opens from you and to your left, it will require left hand hinges.

2. Selecting the Correct Hinges for the Job

There are far too many different types of hinges to describe in detail in this brief instruction sheet. We will attempt to review only the popular types of hinges that you would most likely use on a handyman job around the house. Other types of hinges are available.

Common butt hinges are most widely used for mounting ordinary doors. Butt hinges are available in both the rigid and loose pin type. The pin cannot be removed from the rigid butt hinge. The pin can be easily tapped out of the loose pin type with an ordinary screwdriver.

The simple butt hinge with the stationary pin can be used for mounting either right or left hand doors. The loose pin hinge must be selected carefully for either a right or left hand mount. The primary advantage of the loose pin hinge is that it permits the door to be removed for any purpose without unscrewing the hinges.

The loose joint butt hinge makes it possible to remove the door by simply lifting it high enough to make one section of the hinge clear the pin on the other section. If the installation requires the door to be removed frequently, the loose joint hinge would probably be desirable.

The rising butt hinge is a special type of hinge designed for use where shag carpeting or any other type of thick floor covering might interfere with the opening of the door. The rising butt hinge is so designed that the door rises slightly to clear the carpeting when it is swung open.

The knuckle hinge is primarily a decorative hinge. It can carry a considerable amount of weight but it is so designed that only the knuckle of the hinge shows when the door is closed. It is a loose joint hinge. You may prefer this decorative style on some types of door mountings.

The flush hinge is primarily a cabinet hinge. It should be used only on light doors. You will probably prefer this type of hinge when you want to completely conceal every part of the hinge except the barrel.

The ball bearing hinge is a bit more expensive but you may find it highly desirable for certain heavy-duty door mountings.

One of the advantages of the ball bearing hinge is that it is permanently lubricated. These hinges are primarily designed for use on heavy doors opening to the exterior of a building. They can be used, however, on any door that might get unusual use.

The double acting hinge is used primarily on folding doors. Study the illustration carefully. You will note that this double acting hinge permits the door to open in either direction.

The pivot hinge can be used for overlay doors, recessed doors or flush doors. The primary advantage of the pivot hinge is that it requires no door frame for mounting.

The gravity pilot hinge can be purchased with or without a hold-open stop.

The offset blind hinge is used almost exclusively on screen or storm doors. The design of the hinge permits a full opening and a swing-away of the storm or screen door without interference from the hinges.

The spring loaded hinge has a built in spring mechanism that closes the door after each opening. Some models of spring loaded hinges have adjustable tension features that permit tightening or loosening the hinge as you would an ordinary door closer.

Parliment hinges are used where the pin of the hinge must project well beyond the face of the door.

The back flap hinge is a version of the butt hinge. However, it is somewhat smaller. It is primarily a furniture type hinge and not widely used on general construction.

The table top hinge can be used for any construction where one leaf in a section of wood needs to be dropped, somewhat like a table top.

Ornamental hinges are used almost exclusively on cabinet work and on some types of furniture.

The rustic semi-concealed hinge is available in many colors and designs. The semi-concealed feature of the hinge gives the exposed portion a very neat appearance.

The H and HL hinges are also rustic type hinges used on light cabinet work where appearance is extremely important. If hinges of this type are used, you should be sure to match all other cabinet hardware to the same appearance and design.

Strap hinges, T hinges and continuous hinges are special types of hinges used only on special occasions. The strap and T hinges are available in many sizes. They are used primarily for heavy, rough type installation.

The continuous hinge is also called a piano hinge. It is used primarily on lids of chests, cabinets or in any other place where a hinge of this type might prove superior to ordinary hinge installations. Continuous hinges are available in many sizes and finishes.

3. Installing Hinges

Most butt hinges have to be recessed into both the door and the door facing. When the hinge is installed only the knuckle of the hinge is visible.

The hinge should be laid against the edge of the door and the facing where it is to be mounted and markings made as illustrated.

Note that the thickness of the knuckle should be marked on the side of the door while the width of the flange should be marked on the edge of the door. Use care in marking these dimensions.

How the recessing is done will depend on how you plan to mount the hinges. The most common way is to recess the hinge into both the door and the door case. When this is done, the recessing is equal on both the edge of the door and the facing. However, in some cases the recess can be cut entirely into the door or into the door mount.

You should decide before you begin the recessing how you plan to mount the hinge and cut the recessed groove according to the planned style of mounting. The depth of cut will be determined by how you decide to mount the hinge.

The door can be installed on the door mount instead of flush as previously illustrated. Even in this case, however, the hinge must be recessed equally or unequally as previously illustrated. After measuring the width and depth of the hinge, saw and chip out the recessed area with a wood chisel and a hammer. Be sure to use a sharp chisel.

There are various types of surface mount hinges both for flush and lipped doors. Such surface hinges require no recessing.