Getting the Hang of Hanging Doors?

Getting the Hang of Hanging Doors?

I have a question about mounting cabinet doors. I normally make my cabinets with full overlay doors. My problem is mounting them. Is there an easy way to hold and mount the door so you have the same 3/8″ overlay all around? I mount the hinges to the door first but have difficulty holding the door to mount it to the stile and maintain the proper overlay. – Ron Bohland

Rob Johnstone: Installing cabinet doors can be a challenge. You did not mention whether you are using the 35mm cup hinges (aka European hinges) or some other type. If you have not used the cup hinges, I highly suggest it. They have good face frame options now (I am interpreting from your description that you are using face frame construction.) With cup hinges, you pre-drill the cup openings on the doors, and then transfer their placement onto the cabinet. You mount the two sections of the hinges (the cup and the plate), and then you just snap the doors in place. There is a fair bit of adjustment: up and down, in and out, that you can do after the doors are hanging. It solves the “who will hold the door up for you” problem, and they are durable. There is a reason that they are ubiquitous in the professional cabinetry business — they are a superior product in many ways.

Tim Inman: Here are a couple of approaches. If you’re just fitting one or two, I would use a piece of old-fashioned blackboard chalk and draw a line around the opening where you want the door to be. Fit to the lines. The chalk will wipe off cleanly when you’re done, and nobody will be the wiser. (Use a piece of sandpaper to “sharpen” the chalk to a nice chisel point to make your line as fine as it can be.) If you’re setting a lot of doors, then it might be worth your time to make up a little jig to hold the door while you do your work. Keeping the top and/or bottom edges of the doors in a nice straight line is important. You can do this by just clamping a scrap along the bottom edge of the cabinets. Set the doors on the ledge, which will set the vertical positioning, and then align “left-to right” as needed so you can set your hinges.

Chris Marshall: I agree with both Rob and Tim here. Euro-style hinges make it very easy to install overlay doors on face frames, and you buy the hinge to suit the amount of overlay you need. For other styles, especially non-mortising overlay hinges, you do find yourself wishing you had a few more hands to position and hold the door while drilling and fastening the leaf screws. I’d probably fashion a jig with a ledger on it to rest the door in place and hold it vertically. Or, I’d install the doors on the cabinet before hanging it and work with the cabinet lying on its back. Then, set another cabinet carcass next to it and rest the open door on that to help position the door/hinges on the face frame. After all that fuss, I’d switch to Euro hinges next time!

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