Mortised Hinge Alternatives

Tips and ideas for using non-adjustable hinges with exposed pins for beaded-frame inset-door cabinets. March 1, 2006

For beaded inset cabinets, my client wants brass hinges and has picked out a style from Von Morris. I usually use Blum hinges, but my client wants the look of exposed hinge pins. It looks to me like I will have to mortise each hinge and then install hinges with have no adjusting capability. I usually use a 3/32" gap for beaded inset. Does anyone have any advice or alternatives to make this job faster and easier? Also, what size butt hinges would you use? The door thickness is 3/4" and the face frames will be 7/8". I will probably make all cabinets so the interior surface of the sides will be flush with the edges of the face frames. I would appreciate any experiences you can share.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor A:
This sounds like me, except the opposite. I usually deal with mortise hinges and had to switch to Euros for my current job. I would use a 2 to 2-1/2" hinge depending on how tall the largest door is. I would probably go with the 2-1/2". For mortising I start with the FF. I do my mortising after the cabinet is built. I use the Bosch D plate router. Using the flat of the D determines the lower line of the mortise. This way you can rest the router on the FF and just move it across and it forms your starting line. Make a jig to do the door mortises. Use a 3/32 gap for the tops and the bottoms, and the hinge will determine what space you need for the side to side clearances.

From contributor B:
Can you pick non-mortise hinges that look like the mortise hinges? There are different sizes and finishes and when installed they look like the mortised hinges, except that you saved on labor. I finished a job just like you described using non-mortise and it looks great. The hinges were 2" with finials. You can install them on a practice piece to see where the placement would be front to back, and then wherever you locate them on the door you would just measure from the bottom of the cabinet frame up, plus the gap. In other words, if you mount the hinge to the door 2 inches up from the bottom of the door and you want a 1/16 gap, you would mark up 2-1/16. Mount the hinge on the door, and then hold a spare up to the frame and use a drill bit to pre-drill the holes. Then, hold the door up to the frame in the open position and screw on the hinge to the frame.

From contributor C:
Contributor B is on the right track if speed is important. Don't make your sides flush if using non-mortise hinges though. There is what is called a full wrap hinge that has a screw hole into the back of the frame. This is much better and easier to use hinge than the partial wrap.

From contributor D:
The hinge that contributors B and C are referring to is an Amerock hinge. They also make the same hinge in a wrap or no-wrap for the face frame side of the hinge. I use the no-wrap all the time and love them. You don't have to worry about having flush end panels with the face frame. They are very easy to work with, with lots of finishes to choose from. If you are going with brass, use the solid brass and not the plated ones. I get mine from Baer Supply.