Furniture with doors and lids, like cabinets and desks, generally require hinges. When designing or building furniture, it is necessary to decide what type of hinge to install. There are a lot of hinge types and discovering the benefits of one type vs. another can be a challenge. It is tempting to pick a hinge that is easiest to install, but becoming familiar with types of hinges will increase your creativity and comfort level when designing furniture.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Tape measure
- Internet access
Design storage trunks, chests and boxes with piano lids in mind. Also known as "continuous" hinges, piano hinges are barely concealed. Like other hinges, piano hinges come in various gauges, materials and sizes. A benefit of piano hinges is they come in varying lengths and can easily be cut to size.
Install "surface mount" hinges for easy-to-hang hinges with a decorative "H" or butterfly shape. These hinges are mounted outside doors and frames and are highly visible.
Install "flush decorative" hinges, like a "barrel" hinge, for a hinge that can't be seen from outside. A "back flap" hinge shows no hinge except the barrel, when door is closed.
Install "overlay" hinges on cabinet doors that overlay. A "semi-concealed" hinge is strong, while the "half wraparound" hinge is stronger. The strongest is the "full wraparound hinge," for heavier doors with added support on the door and cabinet.
Install speciality hinges for non-traditional projects. A "tabletop" hinge is for tables built with a leaf that drops. Use a "flap" hinge for drop front table panels, and a "hexagon" hinge for hexagon-shaped furniture. "Two-leaf" hinges are for framed mirrors or dressing table mirrors that pivot separately and rotate 360 degrees.
Install antique replicas and hinges with extra details. Many finishes are available, including pewter, old English, nickel, brass, bronze, and chrome. Crown finials on hinge pins add a great deal of interest to a hinge as well.
Tips and warnings
- Choose residential hinges for average-size furniture, and architectural hinges, which are thicker, for large or heavy furniture.
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