Choosing hinge by application - Face frame cabinets with partial inset doors

- May 07, 2018 -

Partial inset (or "lipped") cabinet doors were a mainstay of North American cabinetry during much of the 1940s and 1950s. Popular hinges for this American classic include:

  • European Concealed Hinges

  • 3/8"Offset Finial Hinges

  • Surface Mount 3/8" Offset Hinges

European Concealed Hinges

face frame inset euro style hinge

Appearance: Completely hidden from view when the cabinet door is closed.

Adjustability: Most European hinges offer exceptional adjustability. Many use a cam adjustment system that allows fine adjustments to be made with the turn of a screwdriver. Most Euro style hinges allow adjustment in either two or three directions.

Installation: European hinges are very easy to install, although the process does require one special operation. The "cup" of a European concealed hinge mounts to a specially sized hole bored into the back of the cabinet door. A hinge cup jig, such as the Rocker Concealed Hinge Jig-It, is recommended for fast, accurate drilling of hinge cup bores.

When to use: European style hinges are a popular choice for kitchen cabinets and entertainment centers, and may be used for a variety of other applications. Euro style hinges can be used to add a modern touch to a classic kitchen remodel.

partial inset hinge

3/8" Offset Finial Hinges

Appearance: The hinge barrel and decorative finial are visible when the cabinet door is closed. Available in a variety of decorative finishes.

Adjustability: Some offset finial hinges have oblong screw holes on one or both leaves, allowing for adjustment in either one or two directions.

Installation: Offset finial hinges mount to the surface of the cabinet and back surface of the cabinet door, making the installation process less demanding than a mortise hinge. Hinges with some degree of adjustability will make fitting the door into cabinet opening correctly easier.

When to use: Great for new projects, hinge matching, and retrofitting, offset finial hinges add a handsome decorative touch to this traditional cabinet style.

3/8" Offset Surface Mount Hinges

face frame inset euro style hinge

Appearance: The hinge barrel and part of the hinge body of this semi-concealed hinge are visible when the cabinet door is closed.

Adjustability: Surface mount offset hinges are not typically adjustable.

Installation: Very easy to install. Surface mount offset hinges attach to the back surface of the cabinet door and to the front surface of the cabinet face frame. Cabinet doors can be held in the closed position during hinge installation, making correct hinge positioning easier.

When to use: Surface mount hinges were one of the most popular choices for new cabinetry in the 1940s and 1950s. They provide an affordable alternative for 3/8" partial inset door retrofitting, and lend a "true to the period" look to both new and existing cabinets.

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