I thought I would just clarify a few little details about the wonder that is the cabinet hinge.
If you’re a kitchen fitter or carpenter/joiner, you can switch off now, but if you are a mere mortal, listen up because you might learn a thing or two about a fascinating subject.
If you’re still reading, I just lied. It probably won’t be fascinating – but at least it might be useful!
Anyway, here we go. You may recognise this picture as being the same (or similar) to the hinges that are inside your kitchen cabinets. For many they are a mystery – and seem like they might be the most difficult DIY thingy to fix or replace. So here a a few things that might help to demystify them.
First. What are they called? Well apart from cabinet hinge, they might be referred to as a concealed hinge, or more commonly, a Blum Hinge. Blum is actually a reference to the most famous brand of cabinet hinges (rather like a cleaner being referred to as a Hoover). They are all the same thing.
Next. The component parts. They come in two pieces. The hinge itself and the backplate. There are different types of backplate to match the hinge you are buying – if you know your stuff, you will recognise which backplate goes with which hinge, but on mykitchenstore, we have grouped the most commonly used to create a full hinge and backplate set in either a slide on cabinet hinge, or a clip on cabinet hinge. More of which later. The hinge part consists of a round ‘cup’ (item 2 in the diagram above) and a hinge arm (item 1). The cup will generally be a standard 35mm diameter and is the part that is fixed to the kitchen door. A corresponding 35mm hole is drilled into the door to accommodate the cup, which is then screwed into place with two tiny screws supplied with the hinges. If you are wondering how to do this yourself, the best way would be to use a 35mm hole boring bit (often refered to as a forstner bit, shown here to the right). These fit onto any standard drill. You will find a precision drill bit at this link on our site
The backplate is the other separate component (item 3 in the diagram). This is attached to the inside of the kitchen unit using the screws provided. Then, if you have a slide on hinge, the hinge ’slides’ (funnily enough) onto the backplate and is secured with screws. If you have a clip-on hinge then you can simply ’snap’ the arm onto the back plate. Simple as that.
If you are replacing existing hinges, fitting them really is a very simple process as all the positions are marked and the holes already pre-drilled. If you are replacing a kitchen door, if the door has not been pre-drilled by the manufacturer, then simply use the old door as a template to mark where the hole needs to be drilled and then use the hole boring bit. Take care not to drill down too far!
So that’s all relatively straight forward, what else do you need to know? Well the hinges come in a variety of types, which are differentiated by the angle and crank level of the hinge. Want that explained? read on….
Angles. You will see reference to angles attached to these hinges – and what that refers to is the maximum angle that the door will open to when the hinge is fully extended. In the vast majority of instances, you will not be concerned about opening the door much beyond 95 to 110 degrees, but you can purchase them at up to 170 degree angle.
Then there’s Crank. You can buy the hinges at certain Crank amounts. What this refers to is the level to which the door will overlap the edge of the cupboard when it is closed. For example, if you purchase a hinge with 0 (zero) crank, the edge of the door will completely overlap the edge of the cabinet when it is closed (and this is how the majority of kitchen units are designed, so that the door fully overlaps the frame of the kitchen cupboard). If you buy a hinge with 7 or 8 crank, when the cupboard door is closed, you will be able to see part of the edge of the cabinet. In other words, it only partly overlaps the edge of the cabinet. Then if you want what is called an ‘inset’ door, that is that the door sits just inside the edge of the cupbard when the door is closed, then dependant on the thickness of the edging of the cupboard, you will need to buy a hinge with 15 (for cabinets with wall thickness of 16mm) or 17 (for cabinets with wall thickness of 18mm) crank. Has that helped? Or just made you cranky? Hope not! Image below to help if it has though:
As mentioned before, we have made the process relatively simple for purchasing what is by far the most used variation of the cabinet hinge (or blum hinge). For most situations you would be looking for a 95 or 110 degree hinge with 0 crank. We have an easy-to-buy set of these in both economy (suitable for light doors) and premium options (more robust and suitable for heavier doors). We have them in both Clip On and Slide On variation and the links are below for you to get straight through to them:
And what if you don’t fit them absolutely accurately? Well you will be pleased to know there is a little margin for error. The hinges are designed to allow for adjustment both vertically and horizontally. A minor adjustment with your screwdriver and a little repositioning should resolve most minor door hanging issues.
So I hope this helps to clarify a little further for you the intracacies of kitchen unit hinges – I’m sure it’s not comprehensive, but it covers most of the bases. If you need further information, then you can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see if we can answer your specific questions. Don’t become unhinged – just ask!