Types of hinge mechanisms

Written by timothy sexton
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Types of hinge mechanisms
Hinges don't have to be just functional; they can also be decorative. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The hinge is one of the most important pieces of hardware you'll find inside or outside your house. A hinge is simply two leaves held together with a pin that pivots. Most cabinet hinges allow the door to open either way, but most door hinges must be fastened specifically to open a door either to the left or right. You have quite a selection when it comes to hinge mechanisms.

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Butt Hinge

The butt hinge is available with either a fixed pin or a loose ball-tip pin. The loose pin allows you to withdraw the pin for quick and easy separation of the leaves. Butt hinges are found all over the house: Room doors, cabinet doors and windows.

Flush Hinge

Screens and lighter doors often work with a flush hinge mechanism. The flush hinge is mounted on the surface rather than being set flush inside the frame.

Drop-Leaf Hinge

The drop-leaf hinge is used for table flaps made with a rule joint on a table. One leaf of this type of hinge is larger than the other and should be screwed into the table flap.

Piano Hinge

When extra strength is required for things such as chests, play around with a piano hinge mechanism. This large hinge can range from two feet to six feet in length and is often cut for customisation when desired or needed. Piano hinges can be either recessed or mounted directly on the surface.

Butler's-Tray Hinge

The rounded corners are a characteristic of a Butler's-tray hinge. Small tables that need to fold up are the place you are most likely to see this hinge in action, as you might suspect from its name. The surface of the Butler's-tray hinge is flat when it's open. When in the up position, a steel spring holds the leaf at a 90-degree angle.

Pivot Window Hinge

Pivot windows hinges are a mechanism using friction to allow a window to stay open in any position, rather than only in fixed positions. The pivot window hinge is versatile in that it can be used for clockwise or counter-clockwise openings and for windows hung either vertically or horizontally.

Concealed Hinge

The necessity to hide a hinge for whatever reason will lead you to the concealed hinge. This hinge is attached flush with the frame on cabinets and some doors. Another type of concealed hinge can be recessed into mortises cut into the door and the door's frame.

Strap Hinge

Heavy doors, chests and gates likely to use a strap hinge. This surface-mounted hinge is available in a wide variety of sizes and is more decorative than most other hinges because of its use on well-made doors and gates that open to lead you down a driveway.

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