Hinge Insert Dowel Tightness

Troubleshooting loose hinge attachment. October 3, 2011

Is there an issue with hinge insert dowels loosening? Ever use a glue before inserting?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor M:
If you are referring to the plastic expansion dowels for hinges, I have been using them for years and they never come loose. I would say it is not even possible. The screws are stuck in the dowel the way a lock nut's nylon ring grips a bolt.

From contributor D:
If you are referring to the 8mm hinge cup dowels, here are a couple of possible causes.

This can happen occasionally with any hinge brand if the door material is very hard and dense (such as maple or hickory). If you are experiencing this, glue may be a good solution.

In the case of laminate doors, if your insertion machine is not correctly aligned with the dowel holes when pressing the hinge in, the sharp edges of the laminate (around the edge of the 8mm hole) may actually shear the ribs on the dowels, reducing the holding efficiency. Check the alignment of the insertion ram with the holes.

If your hinge machine has a bent spindle, this will cause the holes to be drilled slightly out of round. This condition will also reduce the holding power of the dowels.

Plastic expansion dowels are commonly found on the hinge mounting plate. This is a very effective fix for the mounting plate.

From the original questioner:
In the past I have used screws to attach the hinge plates, probably because my market has been largely residential (wood doors). It is now mostly commercial, using panel products. I am going to use the insert dowels. There have been some complaints about them, although not much. I have repaired doors in remodel situations where they have come loose. This may have been because of damage to the door. I have seen situations where the door was closed on some object at the hinge side and forced the hinge out of place. It seems that someone talked of adding a drop of chair lock to the dowel hole before assembly. Maybe this was an attempt to fix a loose dowel.

From contributor L:
We've used the doweled hinges for many years and never had a problem in either sheet goods or lumber doors. We've been using the expanding cup or 8mm holes for several years now with no problems. I have seen several cases of the entire area around the hinge being torn out of the door.