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Home Hardware Tips : All about Door Knobs
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Selecting 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 frequently.

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 ago.

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 operate.

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 mechanism alternative.

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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