How to drill a cabinet hinge hole

Written by david brown
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How to drill a cabinet hinge hole
Forstner bit (construction details, drill bit image by Greg Pickens from

Cup style cabinet hinges are popular for their ease of installation and their adjustability. The hinges are installed in a 35mm hole drilled in the back of the cabinet door. The distance from the edge of the door to the centre of the hole depends on the hinge and the door overlay. All hinges come with a chart that relates the door overlay to the hole's centerline. The depth of the hole also depends on the make and model of hinge.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Safety glasses or goggles
  • Measuring tape
  • Electric drill
  • 35mm (1 3/8 inch) Forstner bit
  • 1/8-inch drill bit
  • Scratch awl or centre punch

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  1. 1

    Use the chart supplied with your hinges to determine the distance from the edge of the door to the centre of the hinge hole. Mark the centre of the hinge location on the back of the cabinet door.

  2. 2

    Using the electric drill and the 35mm bit, drill the hole to the appropriate depth. If the depth isn't specified, a ½-inch deep hole is sufficient for most cup style hinges. Be careful to keep the centerline of the drill perpendicular to the face of the cabinet door.

  3. 3

    Set the hinge in the hole, and use the scratch awl or centre punch to mark the location of the two screw holes. Using the 1/8-inch bit, drill pilot holes for the retaining screws.

Tips and warnings

  • Some cup style hinges don't use retaining screws; they simply snap into the 35mm hole.
  • Always wear eye protection when using power tools.

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