Adjusting Hinges

Up and down first, or side to side first? Or does it matter? October 3, 2006

Is there a recommended order for the adjustments when adjusting the Blum hidden frameless hinges (3 adjustments)? It seems I spend a lot more time than I should.

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor A:
We use the Blum plates and hinges with cam adjustments only. These are faster to adjust than the screw-on models. If you are not using them, try them out. You will never go back. More importantly, do you have accurate line boring in place at the manufacturing level? If your 37mm setback is not accurate and the doors hinges have not been bored accurately, then the installation and adjustments will take longer. Always set the next guy up for success! Check your setups and processes for errors.

From contributor B:
The first thing I do is the back and forth adjustment. Usually I won’t need to do this because this should be set by the distance you have your holes drilled for the hinge plates. Then I would adjust the left to right adjustment screws to get all of my reveals equal, then the up and down to line up the doors with each other and the cabinet. The adjustments are slightly interactive, so you may need to do them again. Also don't adjust them in the shop unless the door won't fit (inset usually). To save time do it once you are installed in the field. The installation may rack the cab a bit (theoretically it shouldn't if you install them perfectly) so you will probably need to readjust anyway.

From contributor C:
I use the Blum Clip Top hinges mostly. I don’t think I have any set order for adjustment. I probably adjust the part that is off the most first. Overall, I have found that as the years go by these things all get easier and faster. The other thing I can say is with the new cam type of adjuster, you only need to turn the screws a little at a time.

From contributor D:

I agree with everything contributors A and B said. And contributor B is right about them being interactive. If you do the left-right and up-down before you do the in-out, then when you do the in-out it will probably throw the other ones off.

From contributor E:
I guess everybody is different. I usually do the up/down first, on every door. Get the hinge side of the door lined up with the bottom of base cabinets, or with the correct reveal on uppers, just the hinge side. Then I go back thru the job and do all the left/right adjacent to get the vertical gaps right, at the same time checking that the non-hinge side of the door is level with the next door. If the cabinets are square, this is pretty much automatic anyhow, and if they are racked a little, I fudge the gap between the doors to make sure adjacent door heights are level, even if the gap between doors is off a hair from the top to the bottom.

At this time a run of doors is lined up level, and the vertical gaps are even. Then I go thru the doors the third time and do the in/out adjustment. That gets the faces of the doors that may be slightly warped or bowed in the same plane as the adjacent door. There may be no in/out adjustment necessary, if the doors are real flat, but there are usually some that need some tweaking. Once you start in/out adjustments you have to do a few doors in a row to average out the tweaking, but it is fast. Pop on some bumpers and you are done. Check the gaps, heights, one final time - there may be one or two that need a slight adjustment, but most likely not. I don't know if it makes any difference in which order you do your adjustments, but my way makes sense to me. Do not waste time getting one door adjusted perfectly in three directions and moving to the next door. Just get every door adjusted in one direction (up/down or left/right or in/out) then go back and get every door adjusted in the second direction, then go back and do the third direction.

From contributor F:
One quick comment - I have found that if I am having a lot of trouble adjusting the doors with the Blum hinges it is usually because the unit is not level. A quick shim around the base can clear up a lot of problems and save a lot of wasted time.