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Cabinet hinge install math

Cabinet hinge install math

#1
09-15-23, 01:53 PM
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Cabinet hinge install math

Good afternoon, I am in the process of replacing all the hinges on 8 cabinets in my dining room. The hinges are painted over and some of the hinges are out of the place because the hole that holds the screws got bigger and the screws are rattling around in there. I got new hinges, which are the same exact hinges as the old ones (but not stripped or painted over) and longer screws so they will hold hinges in place better.

The first two cabinets, I have plugged in the holes with dowels, sanded, and repainted. I don't plan to put the screws in the same exact place as before because whoever installed them before did not install the hinges evenly across the eight cabinets, leaving some of the cabinets a little taller than the one next to it. My goal is to install them evenly and consistently so all 8 cabinets are the same height from left to right.

The inside of the cabinet from top to bottom is 25.5 inches. The cabinet door is 26.5 from the top of bottom. The actual part of the cabinet door that fits inside the frame (I think inset?) is 25 and 6/16 inches.

Here are the hinges I have, so you can see the dimensions: LINK

Here are my questions:

1) How many inches from the top of the inset part of the cabinet door should the top of the hinge be? I assume the answer to this will also answer the inches from the bottom the second hinge should be. Google research says 3 inches from the top of the cabinet, but would that differ in my situation given the size of my cabinets?

2) From what I've read, I would install the hinge on the cabinet door first. When doing that, how do I align the hinge with the frame? I want to make sure that both doors, when installed, are even with each other so one does not look higher than the other.

Overall, what I'm asking is, what is the trade secret to apply the proper math and measuring before drilling the hinges in? I did try searching it on YouTube, but it's for hinges that are completely different than mine.

I posted pics below to provide a visual image of what I'm working with.

Thank you!

#2
09-15-23, 04:06 PM
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1. I'd stick with the spacing they have now. 3, 3.5, 4... doesn't really matter, as long as you do them all the same. I typically do 4" to center.

2. You have doors with 3/8" back set. That means the doors have a rabbeted edge... and they can pretty much only go in one place, with very little wiggle room one way or the other due to the size of the opening in the face frame. Set the door in place, let it rest on the bottom. Make a pencil mark along the top edge. Then raise the door up as high as it will go. Make another pencil mark. Remove the door and look at the distance between the marks. It will likely be no more than 1/4". That means if you center the mounting height of the door, you "should" have 1/8" around all edges. If those happen to be your measurements and you want to make it easy on yourself, you could take an 1/8" shim, lay it on the cabinet bottom, and set the door on that shim. And set all the doors the same way with that same shim. Let them rest on the bottom, push the door in tight on the hinge side, and drill your pilot holes.

With many doors that are spring loaded you have to push the hinge side in tight with one hand as you predrill all your holes. If you dont do that the door will creep over when you put your screws in, and as a result you might notice doors being too far right or left. For pilot holes a vix bit (self centering drill bit for hinges and other hardware) works well.

Since your cabinet doors are 3/8" back set, if you are using new hinges your hinges also have to be made specifically for doors with 3/8" backset. Can't tell if yours are or not from the angle of that photo, but the ones in your link are correct.

Theoretically if the bottoms of your cabinets are all straight, you should have no problem with setting the height if you use the same shims to set every door. On double doors you can mount one door and then double check the reveal where they meet in the middle before you drill the pilot holes for the opposite door. Make any minor adjustments on the reveal, then drill the pilot holes on that 2nd door. The holes are slotted so you have a small amount of adjustment. I'm not a fan of those slotted hinges as they tend to move around. You sometimes have to install a 2nd set screw in the slot to keep them from moving around.

Last edited by XSleeper; 09-15-23 at 04:18 PM.
#3
09-16-23, 11:11 AM
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My apologies, I realized I was thinking of the style of hinges that are front mounted. Regardless, your hinges have slotted holes and are adjustable so you just need to mount them to the door... take a hinge and use it as a template for drilling your face frame mounting holes. There is really no math involved. Mount it on the door, then measure from the lip of your cabinet door to the center of the hinge. Then measure from the face frame to the center of the hinge and drill your pilot holes. Same thing, bottom and top. Same measurement... measure from bottom up to center and top down to center. Then mount the door and adjust it as needed.

#4
09-16-23, 11:12 AM
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XSleeper Thank you for that long and detailed post! I have a lot of questions, but will ask a couple at a time for simplicity's sake.

I'd stick with the spacing they have now. 3, 3.5, 4... doesn't really matter, as long as you do them all the same. I typically do 4" to center.
When you say 4" to center, you mean it's 4 inches from the top of the cabinet inset to the middle of the hinge?

​​​​​​​Set the door in place, let it rest on the bottom. Make a pencil mark along the top edge. Then raise the door up as high as it will go. Make another pencil mark. Remove the door and look at the distance between the marks. It will likely be no more than 1/4". That means if you center the mounting height of the door, you "should" have 1/8" around all edges. If those happen to be your measurements and you want to make it easy on yourself, you could take an 1/8" shim, lay it on the cabinet bottom, and set the door on that shim. And set all the doors the same way with that same shim. Let them rest on the bottom, push the door in tight on the hinge side, and drill your pilot holes.
I would do this after the hinges are already installed on the cabinet doors, yes?

​​​​​​​Since your cabinet doors are 3/8" back set, if you are using new hinges your hinges also have to be made specifically for doors with 3/8" backset. Can't tell if yours are or not from the angle of that photo, but the ones in your link are correct.
The new hinges are exactly the same size, dimensions, and brand as the old hinges. So it's literally just swapping hinges, but I want to make sure where I install them will 1) look good and 2) be consistent for all 8 cabinet doors so when they're side by side across the way, the doors are lined up evenly. I wanted to get bigger/stronger hinges since the doors are heavy, but there's very few options for what I'm working with here. Fingers crossed that longer screws will hold the hinges in place and prevent the door from sagging.

Thank you!

#5
09-16-23, 11:55 AM
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I typically measure 4" from the outside corner of the cabinet door itself. Then mark a center line. Line up the hinge, predrill with vix bit, screw the hinge onto the cabinet door. Then on the BACK side of the door, you can measure the distance from the center of the hinge to the rabbeted edge. It will be about 3 1/2". So I would mark that same center line measurement on the face frame of the cabinet where the hinges will go. Then hold a spare hinge up, and predrill those holes with the vix bit.

(You will just be using the same measurement as your existing hinges... unless you are trying to intentionally move them away from the old holes.)

Then take the 1/8" shim, hold the door up to the face frame (the door will be swung open with the hinges on it) sit it on the shim, and screw it on.

Once all doors are on, go back and make adjustments as needed. Loosen the screws, adjust doors as needed, tighten screws back down. That's why the holes are slotted.

And like I said, the biggest problem with that type of hinge is the slotted screws sometimes get loose and the doors can move and get out of adjustment... so you may find that you need to put a 2nd set screw in once you have have dialed in.

#6
09-17-23, 07:59 PM
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I typically measure 4" from the outside corner of the cabinet door itself. Then mark a center line. Line up the hinge, predrill with vix bit, screw the hinge onto the cabinet door.
1) When you say outside corner, you mean from the very top of the cabinet itself, not the top of the inset?

2) I never heard of a vix bit. What's the difference between that and a regular drill bit?

​​​​​​​Then on the BACK side of the door, you can measure the distance from the center of the hinge to the rabbeted edge. It will be about 3 1/2". So I would mark that same center line measurement on the face frame of the cabinet where the hinges will go.
I'm a little lost here. The back side meaning the side we see when the cabinet door is closed?

#7
09-17-23, 08:08 PM
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I don't think I can make it any more clear than "outside corner of the cabinet DOOR itself."

A vix bit is "self centering drill bit for hinges and other hardware". It is spring loaded. A simple search would make clear what it is.

The back side of a cabinet door is the side you don't see when the door is closed.

#8
09-18-23, 06:56 PM
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Thank you. I had to re-read what you said a few times, but I get what you're saying now. Measure 4 inches from the outside corner and drill the hinges onto the door. Then measure from the rabbeted edge to the center of the hinge and use that same measurement on the cabinet frame for the other two holes on the hinge.

You recommended 4 inches from outside corner to the top of the hinge. That's actually about half an inch to 3/4 of an inch lower than where they were before. If I wanted to do 3.5 inches from the outside corner instead of 4 inches, that would be fine too, yes?

Thank you for your time and patience.

#9
09-18-23, 07:05 PM
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Yep. Like I said before, unless you have a good reason to move them, you should probably go with the same location they are at currently. But any measurement in the neighborhood of 3-4" will work fine. You just need them all to be the same / similar.

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#10
09-23-23, 11:58 AM
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XSleeper I'm looking into the vix drill bits. I'll be installing #8 screws. Can you confirm for me that the 7/64 size is the correct size to use to make the pilot hole for the #8 screw?

Here's the vix bits I'm looking at: LINK

Thank you!

#11
09-23-23, 03:54 PM
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Technically it is but you should start by trying the smallest bit. It should work fine, and you need to watch that you don't drill the hole too big and strip the threads in the wood.

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#12
09-26-23, 01:03 PM
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That makes sense, thank you so much!