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Inset cabinet hinges

Posted by jbrodie (My Page) on
Fri, Sep 12, 08 at 23:25

We are having inset cabinets made for our kitchen. The woman at the cabinet shop initially talked me out of visible hinges, saying "they're too busy". After looking at lots of kitchen pictures, I have decided I really like the look of the exposed hinges and called to make the change (we were supposed to finalize the cab order today). She said that we would need to find the hinges and that it's a really bad idea because they are hard to adjust.

So here are my questions:
1. Are there drawbacks to having exposed hinges on inset cabinets? I like the look like in this kitchen (scroll down to see the "after" pics) http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/kitchbath/msg071315049848.html?76. Only a little bit of hinge is visible, not the whole thing.

2. If I am going to find the hinges, how do I make sure they will match the hardware? I am going with oil rubbed bronze, but I've noticed that the color really varies between different makers. And what type of hinge am I looking for? I'm clueless!

3. The woman says they have only done exposed hinges once before...this worries me. It seems pretty common, so now I'm having doubts about the cabinet maker. I've already put down a deposit, so I think I'm stuck. Would you skip them because of this? I hate that I won't be getting exactly what I want when I'm spending this much money, but also don't want cabs that have hinge troubles.

Any advice you can offere would be greatly appreciated!

Julie


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Inset cabinet hinges

Show the KD the pictures: she may think you want the whole thing to show instead of just the pin area.

I've never seen insets than with less hinge showing than that.


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RE: Inset cabinet hinges

I did show her a picture, so hopefully she knows what I'm talking about. It's pretty standard with insets, isn't it?


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RE: Inset cabinet hinges

They are called mortised cabinet hinges. The ones we used are HERE. They are more work to install because they are mortised into the door and the stile and mistakes are clearly visible. They are not adjustable, but they don't need to be adjusted. Because they are mortised they can't move around. Install them correctly and they'll still be correct in 100 years. (The design inspiration for our kitchen cabinets was a 100 year old 3/4 inset liquor cabinet I salvaged from a big house on the Jersey Shore that was being demolished. It's now being used as a tool cabinet in the bike shed.)


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RE: Inset cabinet hinges

We have the same style of hinges as shown in your link.
dishcorner]
Our cabinetmaker called them barrel hinges and I believe he got them from Horton Brass. Our hutch has H-hinges from another company, and you're right, the ORB finishes are slightly different. I thought it would be noticable, but it's really not, maybe because the cherry and tiger maple are already different.
hutch
Our cabinetmaker also prefers hidden hinges, because they're adjustable after the door is attached. However, he ends up using exposed hinges most of the time, because his clients prefer a period look. They do require much more meticulous installation (and more $$ for the time involved) to keep the gap around the door even.

I agree exposed hinges should be a standard offering with inset cabinets. IMO, a cabinetmaker should be embarrassed to offer insets and then admit that exposed hinges are beyond his/her abilities. And for the cabinetmaker not to know where to get exposed hinges for you?! I would be scared of what else they might not know how to do!

Here is a link that might be useful: Rest of kitchen


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RE: Inset cabinet hinges

Let me get the train a bit more on the track here. Not all inset decorative hinges need to be mortised. The most popular inset hinges are made by Amerock. They offer inset hinges with decorative ball or finial in a number of finishes - from polished brass to wrought iron. They are adjustable vertically and horizonntally in the opening. They are not mortised - the hinge components "nest" so as to avoid mortising. The hinges wrap the door and the face frame. One design note - they are made for 3/4" thick doors only. 1" thick doors require a mortised hinge for inset applications.
cabrep


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RE: Inset cabinet hinges

Velodoug gives a very good definition of mortise hinges. I would recommend this type of hinge as they are more secure than non mortise hinges. They are more work to install, and they probably take more skill to install, but a competent cabinet maker should be able to do this. My cabinet maker is using a slightly new kind of mortise hinge. Some of the holes for the screws on the hinge itself are slightly cylindrical, so they allow a little wiggle room for adjustment should something not be 100% plumb during installation or later should some odd settling occur. Ultimately, it is important for the cabinet door to sit evenly in the space. Also, most people on this forum who have inset doors seem to use a European hinge. Not sure how that works, but I'm sure someone will chime in.


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RE: Mortised hinges

Ours are not mortised. One hinge leaf fits inside the other so that the total thickness equals the gap between door and frame. Mortising the door and frame requires another level of meticulousness. Our cabinetmaker would have done it if we wanted - he does it on the 18th century reproduction furniture he makes. We just didn't want to pay for it. We didn't have him dovetail the drawers, either. DH and I have money on which of our friends and family will notice that and how long it will take them, LOL.


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RE: Inset cabinet hinges

Mine are mortised on the frame but not the door, if that helps any, and they definitely adjustable (I remember my carpenter taking time to get the doors just right when he installed). I think they're gorgeous.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic


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RE: Inset cabinet hinges

Annes_arbor suggests mortised hinges over non-mortised hinges, because they are more secure, but I have to disagree. I used the Amerock hinges mentioned above (link below), and they are every bit as solid as a mortised hinge. (The stile half of the leaf has 3 screws in it; the door half has 4 screws.)

Plus, and perhaps more importantly, the Amerocks are micro-adjustable up/down and in to account for slight material variations. (The mortised hinges described above will only adjust in or out -- not up or down, unless the mortise is expanded.)

The Amerocks do impose a reveal of about 5/64" (that's a 16th plus an ooch, if you're running for a calculator), unless you want to bend them.

One other quirk of the Amerocks is that they allowed me to sink a bunch (well, 3 per) of 1" x 1/4" rare earth magnets (also Lee Valley) in the stile of the door. These mate with the other side leaf of the hinge, which acts as a gentle and invisible catch for the door.

Here is a link that might be useful: Non-mortised inset hinges


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RE: Inset cabinet hinges

Any of the hinges being discussed here will do a fine job. The real differences are in the aesthetics. I like the appearance of hand craftsmanship and was willing to take the additional time to use mortise hinges on the cabinets a friend and I built for our kitchen. I even used slotted, i.e., not philips, screws to maintain the "old" look.

circuspeanut may wish to avert their gaze at this point...

Those are nice simple looking hinges that look like a good match with what are obviously very nice cabinets. Unfortunately, the carpenter who installed the hinges appears to have been a little rushed. First, the mortise in the stile is taller than the hinge. The hinge should appear to have settled down into the wood with no visible gap at the top or the bottom. Second, the round middle hole in each leaf of the hinge is supposed to have a screw in it that locks the hinge in place after the slotted holes are used to adjust it. And finally, those look like drywall screws where wood screws should have been used.


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RE: Inset cabinet hinges

When I did our last kit I insisted on hidden hinges. They were in about 24 hours!! I did have some small door and they were a pain, banged my knuckles as well as dishes. I paid dearly to have them removed, new end piece for the door, refinished the doors and new mortised hinges like velodoug linked to above. These are normal old fashion hinges found on inset pieces.
This time I went with hand forged butterfly.


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RE: Inset cabinet hinges

LOL Velo, no offense taken at all. These are used cabinets that I've re-purposed for my own kitchen, so I had no hand in the original selection of fabrication/hinge design. That pic was from a while back before we'd finalized the cab placement; in the meantime they have all their screws. Hmmm about the drywall-looking screws -- we used what was already there, they certainly looked like bronze-colored wood screws to me, but I'm no expert. They're quite high-end cabs, so that's interesting to know.
My carpenter did mention the overshot mortise issue - it's something he fussed over as well. Great craftspeople think alike! :)


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RE: Inset cabinet hinges

A mortised butt hinge in fact mounts more securely than a surface mounted non-mortise butt hinge, for the very reason that the mortise is a structural element that prevents the hinge from moving up or down. With a non-mortise hinge, the strength comes entirely from the screws, and with elongated holes, the hinge can move under stress in relationship to the screw.
Mine aren't going anywhere:
hinge

Salvaged antique glass

Casey


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RE: Inset cabinet hinges

Mea culpa.

I stand (well, sit) corrected). A mortised hinge is more solid, as annes_arbor and Casey have noted.

What I was trying to get across (and didn't do a very good job of it) was that (in my opinion) the difference in solidness is negligible. The Amerock hinges I pointed to have two non-elongated holes on the door side of the leaf and one non-elongated hole on the cabinet side. I still wouldn't choose one over the other based on solidness.

ps to Casey: lovely cabs.


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RE: Inset cabinet hinges

you could use a non mortised hinge with a wrap around style, that would give you more strength as far as avoiding movement. There is no need to use a mortise hing unless you like the look or you like the work. As far as the hinge being solid, when the pins start popping out from use it does not matter if it is mortised or not, the only difference will be that the mortised hinges will give you less flexibility in finding a replacement hinges.


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RE: Inset cabinet hinges

How are the pins going to pop out? Are they under spring pressure that needs to be released?
My little ball finials are threaded in. The pin is loose. I guess some locktite on the threads would trap the pin forever.

Old fashion butt hinges will always be sized in the inch system. The sizes haven't changed in 150 years, since they started making them in factories instead of the local smithy.
You can even buy "blind" (un-drilled) hinges and drill your own screw holes to match the existing hole pattern you are seeking to replace.
Casey


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RE: Inset cabinet hinges

jbrodie: I too hired a cabinetmaker who, I learned AFTER the fact, was not skilled/experienced in doing inset cabs with exposed hinges. When I first inquired, of course I got the "we can make anything" reply.

HA!

The gaps around my doors are huge and uneven. The doors do not sit squarely in their openings. They do not close properly.

And the hinges?? I ordered mine from Horton Brasses (non mortise hinges). The cab guy basically glanced at them early on and nodded. Well, when the time came to actually install them, he left the job for his non-English speaking helper, who had absolutely no clue wheat to do with them. He drilled tons of holes in the cabs trying to make them fit. The doors got jammed. The doors bounced open. I called Hortons for advice. They said to backbevel the doors. I explained this to cab guy, who told this to helper guy. Non English speaking helper guy tried to backbevel the friggin metal hinge!

ARGH!

After several posts on the woodworking forum, and HOURS on the part of my semi skilled husband, some of them are fixed (we totally gave up on cab guy).

The moral of this story: It never ever occurred to me (after seeing all the inset cabinetry here on GW) that I would hire someone who would lie about his skill, and basically sign off on my hinges when I showed them to him, only to have no skill in finishing my cabinets properly. So be careful. Please make sure they can do your hinges. I just figured, he's a pro. Of course he can install my hinges. I wonder if the actual cab guy could have? He himself didn't even try.

Or, do you know a good finish carpenter who can come to your rescue at the end of the day?

Good luck!!

francy


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RE: Inset cabinet hinges

LOL Francy, "It never ever occured to me...that I would hire someone who would lie abou his skill" etc. Gad that killed me...after three tile guys, two GCs, redoing the floors twice, the stairs twice...oh and the three painters...It sure as heck occurs to me now LOL (You too I bet!)

I have hidden hinges on my inset doors. The reason being, I live in an earthquake zone, and I'm on pilings verses a foundation. My house moves like Michael Jackson once did :oP Insets aren't used as much here because of the earth quake and frost heave movement of our ground. So where you live should come into the factoring at some point (and might be why the cabinet maker hasn't done many with exposed hinges?)

I do however find it very frustrating when a KD inserts their own opinions into the mix, either with or without knowledge. FOr instance, one KD here told me that inset cabinets don't work in Alaska and that I'd hate them so because she didn't want to see me back complaining, she wouldn't price them for me (and priced a more expensive european brand instead). She was fortunate I guess...since she didn't have to see me again after that :OP

Then I went to the top place in town and chatted with them about it. The KD (very experienced, highly awarded) laughed and said "With adjustable hinges it's no biggie...I do them quite often". And she was right...it's not hard to adjust the hidden hinges at all.

I also have an exposed hinge at the end of the island because the space isn't deep enough for any other type of hinge. I ordered it in pewter and the balance of my knobs, handles, squirrels are in antique pewter. You really don't notice the difference in the colors (there is a little) because there is so little exposed. But with some of the fancier hinges (ie that H hinge up above) you might notice it more because they're more of a feature of the design astetic.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Had I been making an attempt at a period look, I'd have gone with exposed hinges, and I think I probably would on white cabs as well, just because I love the look of a Chistopher Peacock kitchen. But of course, that kitchen in my dreams has silver...real silver...knobs and hinges...and the maid of my dreams says she won't clean them :o(


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RE: Inset cabinet hinges

I didn't read all the posts above, but had two cents to offer. I have exposed hinges. They are slightly adjustable, but my two regrets at having them are -

- you can't have blue-motion soft close feature with these hinges. I'm told you only can have magnets, which are pretty noisy and often bounce back open if you shut less than perfectly gently.

- Kountry Kraft didn't install them in the exact same location on all the doors, and some that are next to each other are not level, i.e., one hinge is higher than the one two inches to the side of it! (DH's hand in pic.)

If you go for it, and I agree the look is really nice when done right, be sure to state in writing the results you expect. I also recommend you being there watching like a hawk when the cabs. go in.

Photobucket


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RE: Inset cabinet hinges

Maybe its my eyes, but the right cab looks lower set than the left. Measure the distance from the top of each finial to the top of each respective door. If they are the same then the cab on the right is lower than the left.
I could be wrong.
When we drill for hinges we always use "idiot jigs", to ensure that every hinge is placed at the exact same location.

Steve


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