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A Close Look at European Hinges for Cabinet Making

We recently published an article that took a look at boring jigs and reviewed 5 of the best currently available on the market.

One issue that came up from a number of readers is the question of the European hinge system.

While we did recommend a couple of hinge boring kits that are equipped to deal with European hinges, (you can check the highest rating pick here), we thought it would be a good idea to cover the subject a little more closely in a separate article.

So here we are…


What is the European Hinge System?

The European style hinge (the Blum hinge being one of the most popular) is a modern, more efficient working hinge designed predominantly for cabinets.

The hinge system incorporates 2 separate parts; the hinge and the mounting plate.

On a face frame cabinet the plate fits on the edge of the frame, whereas on a frameless cabinet the plate is fitted on the inside surface.

For the hinge a bore hole needs to be created in the back of the door. That is where the hinge boring system is used, as it makes it very easy to create the hinge hole to the correct dimensions.


What to consider when installing a European style hinge

Cutting the hinge cup hole in the back of the cabinet door is the trickiest aspect of fitting a European hinge.

This is because the size and position of the hole is very important to the end functioning of the hinge.

If you measuring this up by hand and not using the right tools, you will have your work cut out for you. However, as we have already covered, using a hinge boring system makes the job significantly easier.

Most European hinge cups should fit into a single, 35mm-in-diameter sized hole – a hinge boring system designed for use with European hinges will have that cutting capacity. The template will be there for you.

Positioning is also simplified. The majority of branded European hinges will need to be centered on either 22.5mm or 20.5mm from the edge of the door.

A hinge jig will have the mechanism to align this up for you. The end result is well set cabinet doors that are easy to install.


How to use a Hinge Boring Kit


European Hinges – The Pros & Cons

European hinges do not belong in the Old World; they are widely used for cabinet installation all over the world.

Let’s look at some of the benefits of using European hinges on your woodworking projects.

  • After the door is closed the hinges are completely concealed – items in a overloaded cabinet will not get snagged in the mechanism.
  • European hinges are very easy to adjust after installation – you merely need turn a screw.
  • They are widely manufactured inexpensive to purchase
  • With the correct tools they are easy to install

It is not all plain sailing however. There are a few minor disadvantages to consider before choosing the European hinge.

  • Installation is difficult for the average user if you don’t have the right tools.
  • Even with the hinge boring jig, you will also need to be comfortable with a power drill or drill press.
  • They are unforgiving – correct measurements have to be adhered to for the hinges to work properly.

Image Credits: Rockler, Wikihow