Advantages of Two-Piece Hinges

Cabinetmakers and suppliers compare the relative advantages of various cabinet door hinge types. August 19, 2013

I used compact one piece hinges from Grass for years, and then Dennis Bean got me switched over to Salice hinges, which I really like. Baer sent me a hinge machine with the condition that I buy my hinges from them - no problem with that either. Now Baer is carrying Blum hinges and not the Salice hinges, so looks like I need to find yet another hinge.

This got me to thinking. We have always put the doors and drawers on in the shop, but I wondered what it would be like using a two piece hinge and installing the cabinets and then snapping the door on at the end and adjusting? My Baer rep sent me a couple Blum hinges to look at, but they have tabs on the back of the mounting plate for 3/4'' face frame and my material is 13/16, so they won't fit, and I'm not interested in planing it down. From Baer I can use Blum, and Grass now has a few models with the Blum bore pattern. Those are my options. Do any of you use the two piece, like I mentioned above, and how does it work out?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor I:
If you like the Blum compact, you can order them in an edge mount. Then you can use whatever thickness face frame you want.

From contributor J:
I use the Salice Logica (toolless install and clip on) and really like them. We use a cam height adjustable plate. The minimal cost difference is easily made up at install through handling, ease of attachment, and frustration reduction because of remakes or refinishes.

Salice also offers a broad selection with regard to degree opening and integrated soft close. They also offer the Salice undermounts and I like to keep all hardware with one brand and one supplier.

They allow us to bore the doors and put them on a cart, either finished or unfinished, and stretch wrap them and roll them into the trailer and into the house while on the cart. We no longer have to worry about transit damage or scratching the finish with the hinges or wasting time removing the doors at the jobsite and then reinstalling.

From contributor E:
With the Salice two piece, you also get a much smaller gap between the door and the frame. The compact hinges kind of leave a gap one can drive a truck through.

From contributor D:
Opinions regarding the use of compact hinges or 2 piece clip-on hinges are somewhat regional.

On the west coast, for example, you canít give away compact hinges, while in Michigan, that is what everyone uses (price is big in MI). For the most part, large cabinet manufacturers use only compact style hinges. Take a walk through the Home Depot kitchen department. In general, the custom shops I know want to distance themselves aesthetically as much as possible from a Lowes lookalike cabinet.

There are many advantages with 2 piece hinges. As others have mentioned, the gap behind the door is practically eliminated. With 2 piece hinges you have the ability to offer doors with very small gaps (1/8Ē) between doors. With 2 piece hinges the option to offer wider openings is possible. You have the availability of 110 degree, 120 degree and 165 degree openings. I am certain that having 2 piece clip-on/clip-off hinges offers some real advantages at install time. As mentioned above, the 2 piece system gives the options of Rapido or Logica as a means to attach the hinge to the door. And cabinetmakers that offer both overlay and inset doors find the 2 piece system advantageous. You canít do an inset door with compact hinges.

From the original questioner:
Contributor D, you mention that you can do wider openings with a two piece hinge. Not sure I understand that - how does a two piece give that option? Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you are talking about.

Contributor J, you have stirred my interest on your install method. So how does this Logica hinge attach to the door? Shrink wrapping the doors to a cart and wheeling it sounds like a breeze. But my concern on that is going up steps, onto porches, rough terrain, etc. I think as far as transporting, carrying cabinets into the house, and installing, it's a no brainer that it would be easier and faster with the doors off. Then again, you have to clip all the doors on when you get done, but that wouldn't take too long. Could you explain more about your process and how that hinge works?

How wide do you make your face frame and what overlay? I've always made everything 2'' wide with 1/2 overlay. I have often thought it would look better to have not as much frame showing, though. Maybe, instead of cutting the face frame down, it might be better to just get a bigger overlay hinge?

From contributor J:
The Logica has a flip cap, for lack of a better description, where the screw heads would be. When you press it closed it spreads integrated metal dowels that go where the 8mm dowel holes would be. Very easy to install and, if need be, remove the hinge.

I build frameless, so no face frame to deal with.

Installing the hinges at the shop versus job is a wash. I'm assuming you have to remove the doors prior to installing the cabinets anyway, so that is one step saved and makes loading, unloading, delivering and installing the boxes easier.

I make use of my 12' aluminum truck ramp to deal with rough terrain and trashy jobsites. Just back up within reach and drop the ramp over the holes and job trash and straight through the entry door.

From the original questioner:
I did a Google search on that hinge and saw the flip cap - pretty ingenious. The way I do it is, install the doors in the shop, drawers, basically everything but the knobs. Then shrink wrap and load and then install with the doors and drawers already on. This makes for a heavy cabinet often, and yes, the doors are in the way, but it's always been easier to deal with them in the way than having to fool with mounting them on site. So if I'm thinking right, you mount the doors in the shop and then unclip them and then take the hinge off of the door and shrink wrap the doors to a cart and then on site put the hinge back on the door and clip on the cabinet after installed? How much price difference are we talking on this particular hinge? I'm giving close to a dollar each for the compact.

From contributor J:
No, I build the cases with drawer boxes installed, and set them on a conveyor that rolls into the enclosed trailer or truck. Doors go from sanding, to hinge boring machine, to a cart to be stretch wrapped that goes in the tail end of the trailer.

Doors and drawers never go on the cabinet until after the cases are installed. I install the hinges just prior to clipping the doors on. Seems it would be double or triple the work to install the doors, only to remove and reinstall them at the job. Won't need to stretch wrap the boxes either, just make sure they are packed in to prevent shifting around.

Cost difference is very minimal, basically the difference is the cost of the mounting plate. I buy the plate (box mount frameless) with the euroscrews preinstalled. I'm sure the face frame plate would cost a little more.

I focus more on the benefits (labor and frustration savings) than the minimal cost to upgrade to tool-less install and cam adjustments versus loosening and tightening screws, and going back to service call a hinge screw that has worked loose.

I'd suggest contacting Hafele and getting in contact with your outside sales rep. Great company to do business with. Dennis has also a great technical resource, and sends me those neat Salice screwdrivers that I like, and maybe some tee shirts (large) and ball caps (average sized head) :^)

From the original questioner:
Okay, I understand. I had face frame in my mind, but you do frameless so now I see what you are doing.

From contributor D:
Good one. I like how the conversation has shifted from the economics of cabinet making to screw drivers, T-shirts and ball caps.

To the original questioner: here is a page from our catalog showing the opening angle possibilities. Here you see the options of a 94 degree opening hinge, a 110 degree opening hinge or a 120 degree opening hinge. I have circled the 120 degree, 1/2" overlay Logica hinge (like contributor J uses). There is also the possibility to use the 165 degree hinge.

One additional benefit of the 2 piece system is the possibility of using thicker doors which are popular right now. With a compact hinge, 3/4" is the thickest door possible. If using 2 piece hinges the possibility exists to use doors up to 1-1/4" thick.

Click here for higher quality, full size image

From the original questioner:
And yet another advantage. I'm actually in the process of coming up with a mitered door that is going to be an inch thick, and I just assumed I would use the Salice compact. Good to know it wouldn't have worked.

I do have a concern - I've always used an 1/8'' thick foam bumper for my doors. Never liked the poly or felt ones. The ones I use are really soft and since the compact hinge holds the door away from the frame, the 1/8'' thick bumper sort of evened that out. The door shuts much quieter with them than they do with the poly ones. I'd like to continue to use these bumpers, but if the two piece hinge lets the space between the frame and the back of the door be only about 1/16'', then I wonder if the 1/8 bumper might be too thick? I really can't see this being an issue, but I'm wondering if it might look odd?

From contributor J:
I do have a question regarding the Salice C7J6AD9 Silentia Hinge. Is it common practice to mix this hinge with the standard 110 Logica on the same door?

I got in a pair of Silentia 45 degree for an upper angled cab and to be honest the closing was a lot slower than expected. This was on a 16"w x 36 7/16"h RP Door. I wound up disabling the soft close. Considering going the Silentia option to eliminate the bumpers altogether.