Butt Hinges With Room for Adjustment
I’m building cabinets to flank the mantel in my living room, and I’m going with traditional inset cabinet doors and drawers. I really like the look of butt hinges, although I know they are less adjustable than concealed hinges. Is there a happy medium?
Rob Yagid, Collinsville, CT
The problem with butt hinges is that once you get used to cup hinges, the lack of adjustment and the fussy installation is a drag. But yes, there are a couple of options that give you the look you’re after and still offer some flexibility in adjustment.
My favorite mortised butt hinge is the BH2A series from Cliffside Industries because it has slotted holes. I like to follow two tricks I learned from a local cabinetmaker. First, mortise the door only. Second, cut the mortises from the face of the door to the back rather than making fancy stopped mortises. Both shortcuts make traditionalists cringe, but the doors install quickly and look just fine.
Place the hinges with the horizontal holes on the door and the vertical holes on the cabinet, and you’ll have some room for adjusting. Mortising just one leaf gives you a nice, if slightly fat, reveal between the door and the face frame. The slightly tapered leaves on these hinges help to keep them from being hinge-bound, a condition in which the door is difficult to close and tends to spring open.
I also asked our in-house cabinetmaker here at Fine Lines Construction and learned he prefers a no-mortise hinge made by Horton Brasses. I was surprised, as the typical job done by his previous cabinetry company often ran into the tens of thousands of dollars. He said that not one client ever commented on the hinges. These hinges also have slotted holes that allow some adjustment, and they leave a perfect reveal between door and face frame.