Euro Style Hinges: Why Use Them? from WoodCentral
"Euro style hinges": you've heard of them; perhaps you've even used them. This woodworker was about to buy some for a project, and then he thought: why? – Editor
"I am building a vanity for the rental house I am working on. I have never used Euro style hinges and thought I might just to learn how. At Lowe's they were about $7 a hinge (I need four), but at Home Depot they (Liberty Brand) were about $7 a pair. Both places had old style hinges for about $1.20 each. Interestingly, Lowe's bins were marked as being Blum Brand, but the actual hinges were Richelieu. I would have been more comfortable buying Blum. Their packaging on the brand X (to me) hinges was printed in three languages but said nothing. No indication of the bit size, no info on whether they were adjustable. So the question is, What do I get from using Euro style hinges? Why would I pay $7 a pair (let alone $14 a pair) rather than $2.50?" – Barry I.
Some people responded with the features they like about Euro hinges. – Editor
"Most Euro hinges have one nice feature I like - they allow a bit of adjustment in and out, up and down, and left to right. You generally need either a 35mm or 40mm Forstner bit for installation. They're nice when you don't want to see the hinge hardware on the show side." – David Y.
And some responded with what they didn't like. – Editor
"Not putting Euro hinges down, but my philosophy is that anything that can be adjusted will have to be adjusted sooner or later (or both)." - Jesse C.
And then there was the attittude of "why don’t you just do it the old-fashioned way"? - Editor
"I think most woodworkers, especially professional cabinetmakers, have been conditioned/convinced that hanging a door on butt hinges is an impossible task. First of all, you have to make a square opening, then you have to make a square door, just the right size. Then to connect the two, you have to put the hinges in the right position. You'd have to be superman to do something like that. Or a cabinetmaker that knows what he's doing.
"Euro hinges make sense in a production situation, where you have the machine to bore and press them in. People make a big deal about the adjustability, then use that as an excuse for sloppy work. If the doors and cabinets aren't the right size and shape to begin with, it won't look good, no matter how much adjustment you have. Despite their widespread use, Euro hinges get sloppy over time and there's a lot of leverage when the door is open that can cause them to fail, especially when people expect a door to open beyond 120 degrees." - Bob L.
To which there was an answer that: the new way is faster, and that's what customers will pay for. - Editor
"What you are saying is that hanging a door with a Blum cup hinge takes the same amount of time as hanging a door with a mortised butt hinge. I can hang a full inset door with an even 3/32" gap all the way around the opening with Blum cup hinges in about three minutes. How long does it take you to hang a door with mortised butt hinges? Another thing you are saying is that the customer has nothing to do with the choice of hardware, which is also not true. If a gas station down the street sells gas for $3.48 and yours sells gas for $3.50, you are going to be out of business soon. It is the same way in the cabinet industry. Blum warrants there products for the lifetime of the customer. Why pay 10 times as much to open a door when the less expensive method hinge is warranted for life?
"Third, how do you hold the door shut with a mortised butt hinge? Some type of unsightly hardware, or maybe Krenov's handmade latches, or magnets hidden in the door and frame? Another time and expense. Do you really think today's IKEA generation is going to pay me $10,000 more for the same kitchen as the guy down the street, and I can tell them, 'Yes my price is higher, but I am using the same hinge as the Romans were when they built cabinets?'
"I can understand using a mortised butt hinge in a piece of nice furniture, and I used them on my entry door, nice stainless steel ones too, mortised into quartersawn white oak door jamb. But I don't see using them on a vanity that is going to be replaced in 20 years when the room is remodeled again." – Moses Y.
The hobbyist woodworkers had their say after that. - Editor
"European hinges are essential for some styles and could be essential for some competitive situations. But most of us are not in either situation. What about the case where a variety of hinge styles will do and we are amateur woodworkers who may never have installed a European hinge?" – Bill T.
"As for the learning curve, I can say that I've never messed up a door using the cup hinges. My first one worked fine after drilling one 35mm hole in a piece of scrap to make sure that I understood the back spacing properly. Of course, I've never totally screwed up a butt hinge or a piano hinge beyond recovery either, the major problem being snapping off tiny brass screws with the attendant mess. As for speed, I can do a much better job with the Euro hinge in three minutes than I can I can with the best quality Brusso hinge in an hour since I invested in a simple mechanical jig to position the cup and mounting holes. Without the jig it might take me twice as long, but I'd still be far more productive that I'd be with conventional hinges. Just a matter of what you get used to I guess." – John M
Large Dining Table Construction from WoodCentral
The original poster in this thread wanted advice on to prevent sag on a large dining table: the client would prefer that it have only four legs. - Editor
"I am building a large farmhouse style dining table. Yesterday we jointed and glued up the top. It is close to 300 lbs. and is made from 8/4 red oak. The width is 45" and the length is 11'. The aprons are 4" wide 5/4 red oak and will be mortised (and pegged) into standard 29" table legs that are 5" wide at the top. The distance between legs on the side tenons is 9' 10". My friend's wife would prefer just four legs, but I think we need another one or two down the middle of the table for added support. Any advice on how best to support this beast of a table so it won't sag over time?" – Larry
Some responders implied that sag wouldn't be a concern for the project. - Editor
"Sag? Not even with a roasted pig and two dancing maidens in the middle. One will never find that much floor acreage level, so some of a six-legged table's legs would never be on the floor anyway. Getting four legs on the floor will be challenge enough." – Bill T.
"Something that heavy tends to level itself, at least in terms of getting all four legs into solid contact with the floor. I made special provisions to get my 6'2" table to not wobble on an unlevel floor that turned out to be a waste of effort and hardware." – Dave B.
"Even at 84", 7 feet between legs, there is very little sag. Remember there is very little weight on 'shelf' except during a large meal." – Dale L.
"I'd be amazed if 8/4 oak with (or even without) a 4" apron sagged enough over 10' to be noticed. Maybe if dinner guests like to play marbles over brandy." – John
Others, however, thought the poster had a valid concern. – Editor
"Well, I'm with you, as for having concern. I would bet that 8/4 red oak will sag 1/4" - 3/8" under its own weight initially, at 10'. Then slowly sag more over time. You mentioned 29" legs, which is what most people would like the finished top to be. I try to keep 25" clear under the aprons, which doesn't leave you much height for that weight and span. I think I would consider adding a couple of other long sub-stretchers well back on under, which are tapered down on the ends, and fat in the middle. You could also build in some crown to all of the above if you feel the need.
"Another trick I have used to stiffen long members where I didn't have height for the support members, is to screw on a sprung flat metal plate to the backside of the stretcher. You can drill a lot of holes in a 1/8 or 3/16 x 2" steel bar, then put a few screws near the middle, holding it down a little. Then pull the ends up, pre-tensioning the steel. Don't use all your screw holes, so if you get a call-back later, you just take some screws out, and move them to new holes well away from the last holes, without having to drill the steel under there on your back."– Keith N.
"You could beef up the leg connection by making the rails six inches high at the ends and increase the width (vertical dimension) of the M&T joint. Make those tenons really beefy. I think you mentioned the legs were 5" at the top. You could use tenons three or four inches deep and 3/4" thick. Or more. You could still have the rails be 4" wide by using a radius at the ends." – Barry .
The original poster also got some offline advice, and came back on to share it. - Editor
"I have a friend down the street who has run a cabinetmaking shop for years. His advice is to put corner braces in which will take the pressure off the corner M&T joints. He also recommended three cross braces and also recommended I put corner braces on those." – Larry