the Proper Hinge
An entry door, interior door, cabinet
door, lid to a toy box, lid to the keyboard of a piano, a gate, a pair of basement doors
and a casement window. These are examples of the elements in and around a home whose
function depends upon hinges. When you stop to think of it, life would be far more
complicated without this device.
Not all hinges are created equal. They are available in an assortment of sizes, styles and
finishes for a host of applications. When shopping for a hinge, you'll want to select the
one that is best suited for the job.
Most hinges are reversible - that is that they can be used with either end mounted in an
upright position. However, in the case of doors, some hinges are made specifically for
either a right-hand or a left-hand door and, thus, cannot be reversed.
Common butt hinges are most widely used for doors. They are available in both the
rigid and loose-pin type. In the case or a rigid-butt hinge, the pin cannot be removed.
Conversely, the hinge pin can be easily removed from the loose-pin type by taping it out
using a flat blade screwdriver. The biggest advantage of a loose-pin hinge is that it
permits a door to be removed without unscrewing the hinges.
Another style of hinge is the lift-joint butt hinge. It allows a door to be removed
by simply lifting it high enough to allow one section of the hinge to clear the pin on the
other section. The loose-joint hinge would be a good choice if the door is to be removed
Does the bottom of your door drag along the carpeting when you open it? If so, chances are
you could use a set of rising butt hinges. They are designed to rise slightly as the door
is opened - easily clearing that long shag carpet that should have been replaced years
When decorative appearance is of concern, a knuckle hinge might be just what the
doctor ordered. It is a loose-joint hinge that can carry a considerable amount of weight
but is so designed that only the knuckle of the hinge shows when the door is closed.
Another attractive hinge is the flush hinge which is used primarily for cabinet doors. The
entire hinge can be concealed with the exception of the barrel. A semi-concealed hinge is
a cross between decorative and concealed. This type of hinge is attached to the stile in
front and bends around a rabbeted joint to be attached to the back of the door.
When decorative isn't enough, there is always ornamental. Ornamental hinges are
usually reserved for use on cabinets and furniture. H and HL hinges are also often used
where a rustic look is desired. If this type of hinge is used, cabinet pulls should be of
the same rustic theme to maintain continuity.
For a heavy-duty job, reach for ball-bearing hinges. Although they are a bit more
expensive, they are permanently lubricated and can make even the heaviest doors easy to
Some doors, such as the one from the house to the garage, are required to close
automatically. When such is the case, a spring-loaded hinge is the answer. This
variety of hinge contains a spring, the tension of which can be adjusted to automatically
close. This type of hinge is a cost-effective alternative to the pricey self-closing
A couple of hinge styles that most people are familiar with are strap hinges and
piano hinges. The strap hinge is used mostly on rough projects such as a gate, toolbox or
other such project. Just the opposite is true when it comes to the piano hinge. It is used
on fine projects such as lids on chests, cabinets or any other place where a hinge or this
type might prove superior to an ordinary one. Piano hinges are available in a variety of
sizes, lengths and finishes.
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