How to Install a Recessed Hinge on a Cabinet

Written by kenneth crawford | 13/05/2017

Many cabinets use recessed hinges to hide the hinges from visible view. The hinge recesses in the cabinet door and mounts to the cabinet from the inside. You will have to create the recess in the cabinet doors yourself using the hinges as a template. The number of hinges you will need per door varies depending upon the size of the door. Most cabinet doors only require two hinges.

Measure from the top of the door down 2 inches and mark with a pencil on the hinge side of the cabinet door. Measure from the bottom of the cabinet door up 2 inches and mark.

Place the top of the upper hinge on the 2-inch mark from the top of the cabinet door. Trace the outline of the hinge onto the cabinet door with a pencil. Move the hinge directly to the edge of the door at its location. Trace under the hinge onto the door to trace the thickness of the hinge.

Line the bottom of the lower hinge with the 2-inch mark on the bottom of the cabinet door. Trace the hinge with a pencil, then trace the thickness of the hinge to the side of the door.

Score the hinge outline with a sharp wood chisel and a hammer. Place the flat edge of the chisel blade along the lines and tap on the chisel handle with the hammer to cut the wood. Cut along the traced hinge to the depth mark of the hinge.

Make shallow cuts with the chisel and hammer between the hinge tracing every ¼ inch. This will help in removing the wood from the area and creating the recess for the hinge.

Remove the wood from the recess area with the chisel and hammer. A sharp chisel will cut the wood without ripping or tearing. Sand the area smooth with sandpaper.

Place the hinge in the recess on the cabinet door and mark the holes for the attaching screws. Place one of the securing screws beside a smaller-diameter drill bit. Mark the length of the screw onto the drill bit with coloured tape on the bit. When drilling the pilot holes, only drill to the bottom of the tape on the bit. This will prevent drilling through the cabinet door.

Drill pre-drill holes for the attaching screws and secure the hinge to the cabinet doors. Lift the door to the cabinet and mark the holes for the hinge-securing screws to the cabinet. Pre-drill holes for the screws and attach the cabinet door to the cabinet with a screwdriver.

Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Hinges with screws
  • Pencil
  • Wood chisel
  • Hammer
  • Sandpaper
  • Drill
  • Coloured tape
  • Screwdriver

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