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Properly Install Butt Hinges

November 5, 2018Olen Murriel

When it comes to the issue about where to install a hinge, there are very different opinions. There is a group of people who think its better if the hinge was installed first to the cabinet then the door later and another group who think its better installing it on the door right away. From a professional point of view, most people prefer to install the hinge to the cabinet first since you will be able to mortise the hinges’ recess even before you assemble your cabinet. However, it is essential to know that no matter where you decide to install it first you will get good results from both, so it is up to you to make the decision.

Measuring the widths

To start the process, you should measure the hinge width starting from the middle of the knuckle to the edge of the hinge. From the measurement you get, you are to remove 1/32-inch. That’s the distance which should be measured from the edge of the cabinet or door frame to know the width of the mortis. After that, you can make marks to the door’s edge or frame considering the width you should use a pencil. Then, using the long side of the hinge, position it against the marks where you wanted the hinge to be, then scribe the outline of the hinge.


Cut out the Outline

When you a through with the first step and the pencil marks are visible, score the marks slowly and carefully with a utility knife. Most people prefer using a combination square to act as a reference for the utility knife to make sure that the lines are even and straight. You should pay more attention when outlining the corners since they can be tough to mortise cleanly. This second step is all about getting the right outline since scoring the lines will lead to a more finished mortise.


Eliminating the Waste

The next step is getting rid of the waste there are two commonly used methods for eliminating the waste when you are done marking and scoring the lines. The first way is by using a plunge router you can cut straight through and remove the unwanted material and still cut the mortis. While you can use your free hands to do it, there is a mortise reference which you can guide you to avoid guesswork. The router comes with a collar which connects to its base holding it from stretching beyond the boundaries of the line you are to score. The other is using a more traditional approach which is using a bevel-edged chisel to remove the waste. However, you need to make sure that your chisel is sharpened and that it has no damage before beginning the work.

A more traditional method is to use a bevel-edged chisel to cut out the waste. Be sure that your chisel is sharp and undamaged before you begin the task. A dull chisel is a dangerous chisel.


Drill and attach the Hinge

When you are done with the mortise, you can now attach the hinge into the hollowed mortis. Place the tip of a nail in the middle of each screw hole then tap the other end of the pin with a hammer to create a little pilot hole to drill the hole of the screw. Once you are done, you can now insert a drill bit to a cordless drill and drill a pilot hole perfect for each screw. After that, place the mortise and add a screw to every hole using a screwdriver leaving the hinge secured to the wood. When you finish attaching the hinge to both the door and the frame you can inspect it by opening and closing the door to make sure that the two hinges are functioning correctly.




The process of Installing a butt hinge is usually straightforward. However, if you want to get the perfect clean look, you will have to add a bit of precision to the process. All you need is take your time and work the magic.

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