Hinge Choice for Larger Overlay

Advice on designing face frame cabinets with overlay doors that are very close together at the edges. June 22, 2010

I have always built standard face frame cabinets with 1/2" overlay doors. I got a job for doors and drawer fronts very close together - looks like about a 1/4" from the pictures they showed me. What is the best way to do this and still build a face frame cabinet? What size would you make your rails?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor J:
I'd make my face frame 3/4 wide. I don't know how you could do an overlay that large with any hinge I'm aware of.

From contributor S:
Check out Blum hinges. They have full overlay concealed hinges for face frame cabinets. Assuming that you are building your frames 1 1/2" x 3/4".

From contributor L:
Either use a frameless cabinet or use a hinge that has a larger overlay. Usually called a face frame hinge or a compact hinge. Most compact hinges have a pretty large gap between the door and the face frame. Somewhere on the order of 1/8" - 1 1/2" overlay. Be aware that you cannot have a back to back (hinge to hinge) door setup that is closer than about 3/8". At least that is the way with the Grass hinges I use.

From contributor R:
I typically have 1/8" reveal between my doors and drawers. I build a face frame cabinet with 1 1/2" stiles and rails, and use Salice soft-close hinges with an 11/16" overlay and face frame mounting plates. I bore the doors with a 3.5mm tab. I do a lot of these with a Shaker door, and the edges never bind.

From contributor L:
Two different animals between those hinges. If you want a large overhang you can't use the standard hinge. You are stuck with the face frame mount.

From contributor F:
When it comes to Blum clip top hinges, the overlay has nothing to do with whether or not you use a face frame mounting plate. You have to use a face frame plate when the stile is overhanging (not flush with) the cabinet wall.

Face frame plates have the same thickness function as the frameless plates. With Blum cliptop hinges you can overlay up to about 3/4" regardless of mounting plate style/type. With that in mind you could make your face frame stiles up to 1.75" wide between two doors and have your 1/4" reveal.

From contributor S:
You should be just as puzzled as me with these answers... Or maybe I am confused by the question!? If you are building standard 1 1/2" wide stiles for your face frame cabinets, this is a very simple change. I don't know what type of hinges you are using. We use Blum hinges on our face frame cabinets. The rail width is irrelevant, but as long as your stiles are 1 1/2" wide and 3/4" thick, you are fine! Blum has hinges ranging in overlay from 1/4" to 1 5/16". I would recommend the 1 1/4" overlay myself. Are you building the doors or having them built? Most door suppliers are familiar with Blum and will send you a sample door to try with your hinges to ensure that all the math is correct before building your order. Blum hinges are very compact and your clients will love not having any extra hardware in their way.

From contributor E:
Contributor L has got it - you can't get a full 1-3/8" overlay with any Euro hinge that I'm familiar with. You need to check out the Blum hinge catalog and you'll find the compacts with the overlay you need. You'll probably need several sizes of baseplate also. It's the baseplate that determines the overlay, so on stiles where you have back to back hinges you'll need half the overlay your cabinet ends will have.

From contributor K:
Just make all your face frames 1 1/4". Use your 1/2" overlay hinges and all your gaps will be 1/4".

From the original questioner:
This is the first time I had this request. I think after hearing all this good advice I shouldn't have any trouble. I will just have to be a little careful about ordering my doors.

From contributor K:
To achieve what you are looking for, using 1 1/2" face frames, you need to use a hinge with an overlay of 1 3/8". This will leave 1/8" from the edge of the cabinet, which in turn provides you with the 1/4" (from door to door) when two cabinets are placed next to one another. The formula you would use for door widths would be...

Cabinet width - 7/16" (1/8" reveal on each side plus 3/16" in the center to allow for door expansion/contraction) / 2 (doors) = Door width

This assumes two doors for the above cabinet. Adjust above formula for more than two. Concealed hinges generally adjust 3/32" with the turn of a screwdriver. Blum makes hinge plates (face mount, edge mount or wrap-around) for their concealed hinges which go from 1/4" to 1 5/8" overlay.