Inset Cabinets: What type of hinge do you have?

rosyladyApril 30, 2013

I had always envisioned barrel hinges on my inset cabs. The cabinet guy was here today measuring for a quote and he told me not to use barrel hinges, only concealed. He was very adamant about this because the are more adjustable.

Now that I look at my inspiration pics, some have concealed hinges and some don't. I never really noticed before. I think I want the barrel hinges, but I'm not sure it's worth paying extra for.

WHat are the pros and cons? What type of hinges do you have on your inset cabs, and do you like them?


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Exposed hinges. I would never have done anything else. Having exposed hinges in polished nickel was an important part of the look I wanted to achieve. The concealed hinges used with inset cabinets take up a ton of room as well (at least they do in the Rutt line). That was a non-starter for me.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 2:32PM
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Ask yourself why he is so adamant? He says that euro hinges are more adjustable? You mean the doors he makes wont be square? He can't make a properly sized door to fit into its mating face frame?

Inset cabs typically call for barrel hinges that are mortised into the frame and the door. They have to be perfect, its the mark of true craftsmanship.

It sounds like either he does not possess the skill or he will make more profit by going euro. Find another maker.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 5:06PM
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Circus Peanut

Euro hinges are hideous on inset doors and take up lots of space on the interior. Go for mortised butt (barrel) hinges!

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of most of GardenWeb ;-)

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 9:12PM
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You guys are completely right.

It's actually not the cabinet maker who was saying this, it was the cabinet salesman.

I had a meeting with him today and he said we could do barrel hinges, no problem. I think after our first meeting he went and did some research.

I live in a rural area, and inset cabinets are not common. Even the custom cabinet makers I talked to here do not make them often. Full overlay is in style here.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 12:34AM
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I find I'm constantly having to sort out what is good for the cabinetmaker versus good for the buyer. Cabinet makers love concealed "euro" hinges because they are easy and adjustable. Why would I want them, though? Apart from the look, I mean. All my house's interior and exterior doors have mortised barrel hinges, and they all work fine. I never need to adjust them. I think the suggestion that you may want to adjust your own cabinet doors on some future date is a red herring. It's cheaper and quicker and easier for the cabinetmaker. (Note: This may translate into cheaper for you or not)

There's a well-respected Amish cabinetmaker near us that advertises that they use "French Dovetails" for their drawers as they are stronger. As far as I can work out, they are less attractive, reduce the space in the drawer, and have less wood-to-wood glue surface (i.e. less strong), but they are probably machined in about a tenth of the time as traditional (English) dovetails. Advantages for the cabinetmaker: many. Advantages for you: none.

I know it's a trade off. The cabinetmakers time equals my money. But I get annoyed when they aren't upfront about it and try to hide behind supposed benefits of changes that are really to reduce their work and costs.

As an amateur woodworker I can see some of what they're doing, but I wonder what I miss when dealing with other disciplines.

For what it's worth we want exposed barrel hinges for our craftsman house. And I expect them to be perfect if I pay a custom cabinetmaker.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 8:42AM
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By the way - and I'll write more about this if I have some time - not all barrel hinge installations are equal. Even if you talk the cabinetmaker into using them, there are some shortcuts that they can take that are good for them - but not (necessarily) for you.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 9:06AM
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