Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Not All Cabinet Hinges Were Created Equal-Part 2

We've covered the anatomy of a hinge, and the way cabinet hinges mount so now it's time to cover the different hinge applications. I've saved this for the end because it does tend to be a bit hard to understand. But rest assured, you're on your way to being a cabinet hinge aficionado!

One type of hinge application is an Overlay; basically an overlay means your door overlays (or overlaps) your cabinet frame. An overlay hinge can be either face mount or partial wrap. The most common sizes for partial wrap overlay hinges are either 1/2in. or 1/4in.. As an example a 1/2in. overlay hinge would mean that your door is overlapping your frame by 1/2in..

The first picture below is a 1/2in. overlay and the second picture is a 1/4in. overlay both are partial wrap hinges.
1/4in. Overlay Hinge1/2in. Overlay Hinge

Another type of overlay is a Variable Overlay, these only come in a face mount. These are called Variable Overlay because your door does not have to overlap your frame by a set dimension (such as 1/2in. or 1/4in..) Variable overlays come in a variety of sizes, colors and finishes. Below is a Variable overlay, face mount hinge.
Variable Overlay Hinge

The first type of an inset hinge I'll cover is a Full Inset, as I mentioned in the last post, this means that your door sits fully inside your frame so that the door is flush with the frame. Full inset hinges come in either a hidden mount, where the hinge is mounted on the inside edge of the door and the inside edge of the cabinet frame (similar to a butt hinge on a full size door) or surface mounted on the outside of the door and frame (these are sometimes called ‘H' hinges.) The first picture below is a surface mount full inset hinge and the second is of a full inset hinge (butt type.)
Flush Full Inset HingeFlush Full Inset Hinge

Another type of Inset hinge is what we call a 3/8in. inset, this type comes in either a face mount or a partial wrap. A 3/8in. inset means that your door overlaps your frame by 3/8in. and sits down into the frame by 3/8in. on a 3/4in. door. If you were to remove one of your cabinet doors you would see a notch on the back edge that runs the length of the door. This notch measures 3/8in.x 3/8in., and the hinge has a corresponding "stair step" on the door wing to rest in the notch. Below is an example of a 3/8in. inset face mount and a partial wrap.
3/8in. Partial Wrap Hinge3/8in. Surface Mount Hinge

A Reverse Bevel hinge functions the same way a variable overlay hinge does. Your door will be overlaying your frame by a varying dimension, but a reverse bevel hinge mounts to a door that does not have a flat back edge. The back edge of your door will be beveled; the most common size is a 30 degree bevel. The picture below shows a 30 degree reverse bevel, take note of the diagram that shows the edge of the door at an angle.
Reverse Bevel Hinge

There are two types of demountable hinges, the first being a Single Demountable. Demountable means that a hinge is mounted to the door without screws, so that the door can be easily "demounted" without having to take out all of the screws. A demountable hinge has a metal piece that is attached to the plate where the screw holes are on a typical hinge. On a Single Demountable hinge, the metal plate would be on the door wing only, this metal plate lines up with a hole that has routed into the back edge of the door. On the frame wing, there are typically one or two screw holes. On a Double Demountable hinge, the metal plate would be on the door wing and the frame wing of the hinge.

Demountable hinges come in almost every application, you can have a double or single demountable hinge that could also be an overlay, or an inset, or even a reverse bevel depending on how your door is mounted. Demountable hinges are typically not used in brand new construction, in most cases a demountable hinge would be as replacements. Initially, demountable hinges were used by cabinet makers because they are easy to install. It's much more efficient to use a machine to route out the holes and press the hinges in, rather than screwing in 5 screws per hinge.

Below are examples of a Single Demountable (left) and Double Demountable (right.)
Double Demountable HingeSingle Demountable Hinge

On an offset hinge, your door is "offsetting" your frame. The most common size of offset is 3/8in., this application is very similar to the 3/8in. inset hinge in the fact that your door partially overlaps your frame and it partially sits inside of the frame. An offset hinge is going to be surface mounted (meaning your door wing and your frame wing are both attached to the front surface.) The 3/8in. offset hinge has a bend on the door wing that measures (yep, you guessed it-3/8in.) the bend actually lips around the back edge of your door. Below is an example of a 3/8in. offset hinge, again take note of the diagram which will show the hinge following the bend of the door.
3/8in. Offset Hinge

Those are the major types of hinge, and believe it or not there are still more types of hinges out there in the world. I can't give too much away though, or I might teach my way out of a job.

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  1. Hey that is really good info, learned something new!

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Finally , a way of understanding hinge terminology! Thanks for such an informative presentation.

  4. Well written, easy to understand and complete information. Thanks for answering my questions

  5. can I use a different hinge on a reverse bevel door , I PREFER TO MOUNT ON INSIDE of door frame

  6. Unfortunately, I do not know of another hinge that will work in the place of a reverse bevel hinge. It is an older style cabinet and most brands have not updated options (such as partial wrap) for this type of door.

  7. Erica,
    I'm trying to replace two broken Amerock, single demountable, 13/32 offset, 30 degree reverse bevel hinges, part number CM8740BB. I understand these are now discontinued. Do you have something close like 1/2 offset?

  8. A 1/2" overlay will not work in place of the 30 degree reverse bevel due to the angle cut on the back of the door. You can however, use a reverse bevel hinge that is not a demountable and screw it in above and below where your current hinges are located. If this is something you'd like to discuss, feel free to call us at 800-708-6649.