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Types of Hinges

Skill Level: Beginner


The history of the hinge stretches way back in history. So far in fact that even archaeologists aren’t exactly sure of its origin. There have been remains of metal hinges found dating back over 5000 years. This incredibly simple (and already ancient) yet crucial piece of technology was later developed further by the Romans, a people at the very foremost in technology. 
The hinge revolutionised architecture, security, mobility – it still does today – automobiles, even the space shuttle needs hinges; to a hundred uses around the home. The hinge is a piece of brilliant engineering! Opening a heavy garage door weighing 500lb+ is a one handed job, thanks to the hinge.


So many different types

Although the original principle (a means of opening and closing something, of gaining access) of the hinge hasn’t changed much over the centuries, around the home you will find many variations on this theme. Listed below are just a few uses of hinges around the home…try asking yourself “what if hinges did not exist?”
Doors, and therefore hinges provide access into and within the home, security, heat and energy conservation, privacy. Also, washing machines, dryers, fridges, freezers, all have hinges. Then there are storage cupboards, pianos, garage doors, wardrobes, windows, cookers, microwaves. The list goes on…all basically the same, but all tailored to specific uses.


Cast butt hinge

The cast butt hinge is probably the most common type of hinge to be found around the home, most often used for both external and internal doors and some cupboards. The butt hinge is formed by two rectangular flaps joined together by a pin which runs through an interlocking knuckle. One flap is screw fixed to the edge of the door, the other is attached to the inside of the door frame, and the knuckle set inline with the face of the frame and door. These hinges must be set into the edge of the door and frame using a wood chisel, and cannot be adjusted once attached.

Cast butt hinges come in a variety of sizes, materials and finishes, including cast steel, iron, and brass, stainless steel, lacquered finish and zinc plated

Rising butt hinge

Rising butt hinges are designed for doors that open onto a carpet, rising up and over the carpet, rather than across it. These hinges are a good alternative to cutting and trimming doors when carpets or other thick floor coverings are fitted.
The spiralled knuckle of the rising butt hinge “lifts” the door as it is opened. These hinges must also be set into the edge of the door and frame. Doors fitted with rising butt hinges are easily removed by simply lifting the door up and off the retaining pin.
Rising butt hinges like standard butt hinges come in a variety of sizes and finishes.

Face fixing or butterfly hinge

Face fixing hinges, known as butterfly hinges, are generally a decorative type of hinge, used for primarily for light weight doors on furniture, cabinets and cupboards.
This one piece construction hinge is mounted on the face side of both the door and the frame, with usually a round headed screw for decorative purposes. These hinges are easy to fit on medium density fibre board and plywood, but are not adjustable once fitted. Butterfly hinges also come in a variety of decorative patterns, sizes and finishes, including chrome and brass plated.

Parliament hinge

Parliament hinges are basically a butt hinge with an extended knuckle, which allows the door to swing clear of the surrounding doorframe.
If a door is required to open up to 180° it must clear the architrave around the door frame. In this situation you would use parliament hinges. The screw holes on these hinges are lined towards the edge of the hinge flap. When fitted, the knuckle projects beyond the edge of the door. The size of the projection will determine the opening angle achieved.

T- hinge

The T hinge is an old and favourite design of hinge and is equally as decorative as it is functional. The T hinge is generally seen on garage doors and gates, but is also a charming feature of many old cottage style front doors.

T hinges are often black enamelled for decorative purposes, or galvanised when used outside, to help protect them against corrosion from rain and other adverse weather conditions. The size of hinge used depends on the width and weight of the door or gate you are hanging


Loose pin hinge

Loose pin and lift off hinges are simply butt hinges with a removable pin that allows a door to be removed without the need to remove fixing screws, ideal when decorating or laying new floor covering. Decorative finials are often fitted to each end of the pin that must be unscrewed before the pin is released

Adjustable concealed hinge

These hinges are designed primarily for chipboard and medium density fibreboard and are ideally suited to cabinet and cupboard doors.
Modern kitchens are stylish and expensive, and “unsightly hinges” are not usually welcome here, making this neat and clever hinge perfect in this situation. Kitchen cupboard doors generally get a lot of use…and may need fairly frequent adjustment. This hinge is again well suited to the job, with adjustment just a matter of tweaking the easily accessible screw fittings. These hinges are fully adjustable after fitting, but can be a bit fiddly to fit.

Tools you will need:

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