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tips for european hinge installation

JayTran's picture

I'm about to install some Blum full overlay hinges and was wondering if anyone who has done this before had any helpful tips or advice.
Thanks, Jay

JMadson's picture

(post #88670, reply #1 of 18)

Are your doors predrilled? If not, do you have a drill press?

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Woodman41's picture

(post #88670, reply #2 of 18)

Get yourself one of the Rockler Jig-it systems for cup hinges. I am not a big Rockler fan, for a lot of reasons, but they absolutely nailed it with this jig, I have installed literally hundreds of doors using it and I can't imagine anything much simpler than this.

WoodRivWW's picture

(post #88670, reply #3 of 18)

You were smart to get Blum hinges. I got no name hinges from BORG and had to do some grinding and filing to get one of them to work.

That being said, if you've got the right size forstner bit and a drill press, I found the paper template that came with the hinges worked great for getting everything lined up. The adjustability of the euro style hinges is really helpful for getting doors to line up properly.

Good luck.

sapwood's picture

(post #88670, reply #4 of 18)

Do a mock-up on scrap material. If the test doesn't work quite right, do another. Repeat as necessary.

One more thing. Clamp the stock onto the drill press table. Don't trust yourself to hold it firmly enough.

JayTran's picture

(post #88670, reply #5 of 18)

Hello all, yes I do have a drill press and the proper drill bits. I really don't want to spend the money on a Rockler jig-it only because I don't know when I'll use it next. I didn't get a paper template with my hinges, I was hoping to.
I guess it's just take my time and be careful with the layout. I usually clamp whatever I'm drilling on the DP. Thanks for the suggestions everyone.
I just thought of another question, is there any standard spacing from the edge of the doors to the hinge. FYI the door I'm mounting is 50" tall by 14" wide and I'm using 3 hinges.

Edited 3/17/2009 7:01 pm by JayTran

KeithNewton's picture

(post #88670, reply #6 of 18)

If you are doing without face-frames, just scribe a line 1 7/16" back from the front edge of the side. This is the center of the screw line for the mounting plate. For full overlay, they should be the lowest ones you can get.

Clip the hinges onto them, then make a story stick to pick the height of each hinge to transfer the marks to the doors.

Drill the cup holes about 3/16" ~ 1/4" from the outside edge of the door. The depth should match the height of the body of the drill bit, at least all that I have seen. It is good to drill a scrap piece of mdf or something and try it to see if it works for what you are trying for.

You can take the hinges off, then screw them to the door, and clip them back on, but sometimes when using more than two hinges, I find it to be easier to use another hinge with a vix bit in the drill for a pilot hole by the cups, then just press the door onto the hinges already mounted in the cabinet. Then just open the door, and add the screws. On larger doors over 3 hinges this really helps, because it can be hard to mate the hinge to the mounting plates.

If you are using any mdf, I have found that it really helps to drive the screws in a pre-drilled pilot hole. Remove the screw, then soak the hole with thin cyanoacrylate. This will absorb into the fiber giving a real solid plug for the screw to bite into after the CA has dried.

Dave45's picture

(post #88670, reply #8 of 18)

Home Depot sells plastic marking templates for cup hinges. IIRC, they're made by a company called "Liberty", and sell for a couple of bucks.

They're very easy to use - mark the hinge centerlines on the back of the door, align the template to the mark, and mark the hole center. I mark mine with an awl which gives me an indent to guide the point on my Forsner bit. If you're drilling several doors, consider buying a carbide Forsner bit. HSS bits seem to dull pretty quickly in hard woods. It's also a good idea to run your drill press at a fairly slow speed.

If your doors have an edge profile, do a mockup before you go for it. A hinge cup showing thru the profile is a major "AWWW SHIDD!!

I generally like to put the top and bottom hinges ~4" from the door top and bottom. Center hinges are centered unless they interfere with a fixed shelf. If they will interfere, I cheat them for clearance.

JayTran's picture

(post #88670, reply #9 of 18)

Dave, thanks for the info about the home depot jig, I will check it out.

Mike_D's picture

(post #88670, reply #10 of 18)

One more thing. The recommendation to make a mockup is a really good one, especially as you've not used these hinges before. You'll learn things about the hinges and their application in a setting where you can easily make changes and adjustments if needed.

For example:

The base plate beside the cup extends only 1/8" towards the center of the door when using the 95 to 110 degree opening hinge.

The base plate beside the cup extends nearly 1/2" towards the center of the door when using the 170 degree hinge.

This difference between hinges can give you a nasty surprise if you haven't noted it. I haven't been able to find any reference to this difference in the Blum literature, but that doesn't mean that it isn't there.

Additionally, you have some small leeway in the placement of the cup relative to the edge. Depending on your design and the doors you build, you may find that using this leeway will give you a better fit than just blindly following the installation instructions. Again, you can best determine this on a mock up.

I never used to use mock ups - who has the time? But no more. Mockups have saved me a lot more time and material than they have ever took in doing them.

Good luck with your project - I think you are going to really like the adjustability and smoothness of operation of good quality euro hinges.

Mike D

JayTran's picture

(post #88670, reply #11 of 18)

Mike by mock up do you think a piece of scrap that simulates the door stile is good enough or do you mean a full blown full size mock up of the door? Thanks for the tips.

Mike_D's picture

(post #88670, reply #12 of 18)

Hi Jay,

For my bathroom cabinets where I was using poplar, the cabinets were simple and small, and I could afford to make one over from scratch, so I just mocked up using a mockup stile. I Learned a lot from that (mostly about where exactly I wanted to place the hinge cup), and it worked just fine.

For a the curly maple display cabinet that I made with large glass doors, before I cut my maple for the doors, I made up a full scale mockup of one of the doors using poplar, assembled it, and did all the preparation to hang the door.

From that I learned-

- that I had forgotten that using a cope and stick set means that your rails have to be long-er enough to accommodate the I had to lengthen the rails to keep the designed door width....and.....

- that my stiles were too narrow to accommodate my 170 degree hinge (larger plate) - I noted that widening the stiles required me to shorten the rails (but, not the same amount as the sticking allowance) to keep the designed door width.

- that I needed to move the hinge cup a little to the inside to get exactly the overhang that I wanted for the look that I was aiming for...(stile width)... and....

- that I needed to place the middle hinge NOT in the exact center of the door because that interfered with one of my shelf locations...

Finally, I built the 4 doors using curly maple, and they came out perfect.

Sooooo, It's all in how experienced you are, and how good a planer you are, and how much you remember from the last time you did this, and how bad it will be if you have to make the all the doors again if your planning wasn't perfect and you've already cut the pieces.

I hope that this soul bearing was helpful! :)

Occasionally not too bright, in Louisville,
Mike D

Eef's picture

(post #88670, reply #13 of 18)

hey mike,

thanks for baring and sharing that full mock-up experience.  in the early days i used to make story sticks.  so many times  my butt was saved by this process.  it's like giving oneself a "preview of coming distractions."

full scale drawings are also very useful this way.


JayTran's picture

(post #88670, reply #15 of 18)

Mike , yes it was helpful, sounds like it worked out well for you. Thanks again and for the soul baring.

Mike_D's picture

(post #88670, reply #17 of 18)

You are welcome!

I want to add that not ALL my projects are such dufuss fests, but when they are, the mockup rocks!

Mike D :)

PeterThomson's picture

(post #88670, reply #14 of 18)

Simulating the stile only is fine, if you can open the stile without rubbing, have the proper offsets, etc. you'll be in good shape.

There are lots of "euro-style" hinges on the market, seems like some have limited adjustability.  I've only used the Blum "Clip Top" hinges but have been happy with them, lots of adjustment.  Blum says 3 mm to 6 mm for offset of the cup hole from the edge of the stile, I set up for 5 mm and haven't had a problem.  Hope this helps.

JayTran's picture

(post #88670, reply #16 of 18)

Thanks Peter I'll keep that in mind.

polarsea1's picture

(post #88670, reply #7 of 18)

You need to drill the 35mm hole at a specific distance from the edge for a given amount of overlay. Blum has tables that are different for each type of hinge, ie: 107 degree, 170, etc.  Woodworkers Hardware kindly provides application data for each hinge, take a look at the link here for the 170 degree cliptop:

In the table the top row (gray) is bore distance from the edge of the door to the edge of the hole,  the next set of rows is for overlay - if you want 19mm (~3/4") you need to set the bore in at 8mm and use a 0 degree mounting plate.  In this case the only plate you can use for the full 19mm overlay is a 0 degree plate. The plate's height refers to the thickness of the plate, if you think about how the hinge mounts you can see that a thicker plate will move the door edge towards the middle.

Blum makes a niftly little jig that will pop right into your 35mm hole after you bore it and allows you to drill the 8mm dowel holes accurately:  

Hope this helps,




mikimball's picture

euro hinge gap (post #88670, reply #18 of 18)

Hi, I’m having a problem on my first time using euro hinges. It’s a face-frame installation, 1/2” overlay, 105 degree hinges.

My problem is that on the hinge side, when the door is closed, there’s a good 3/16” gap between the face frame and the back of the door. If I adjust the hinges to lessen the gap, the door binds when it’s opened.

Do people usually put a bevel on the hinge-side back edge of the door for clearance?

Or do you drill the big hinge hole so it’s closer to the hinge edge of the door (thus if the hinge is on the right. shifting the door to the left when closed and away from the frame when opened)? I’m already drilling the hole within 3/16” of the door edge, though, so there’s not much room there to play with. This approach also shifts the overlay so it’s not even on the 2 sides of the door, and my doors and the drawers above them would no longer line up vertically.

I've done enough head-scratching that my head is sore, so I decided to ask you guys!