butt hinges | door hinges

The position of the previous butt hinges on the door frame will determine exactly where the new ones should be fixed on the replacement door. Assuming that the old hinges worked satisfactorily and fit new ones of exactly the same size so that they will fill the recess neatly. If however, you have replaced the doorway lining of the door frame, or you are hanging the door in a new site, there will be no hinges to guide you. Note then that you need three 100mm butt hinges. The top one should be placed a distance of one and a half times its length from the top of the door. The bottom one should be one and a half times its length, plus 50 mm from the bottom edge. If both hinges were sited at equal distance from the edges, the bottom one would appear to be lower down than it actually is. The middle butt hinge should be halfway between the top and bottom ones. To cut a recess for a hinge, place the door on edge on the floor. Have it held steady, preferably using a vice. Determine the distance of the first hinge from the top or bottom of the door, and mark the spot on the door in pencil. At this point draw a line across the edge, try using a try-square so that it is truly square to the face of the door.

Draw a similar line, with the aid of the square, the length of the hinge away from the first. Now set a marking gauge to the width of one leaf of the hinge. Mark a line this distance away from the closing face of the door. The knuckle of the hinge, when closed, should be just clear of the door face. Next, set the gauge to the thickness of one leaf of the hinge, and mark this on the face of the door. Make a saw cut, using a small tendon or dovetail saw, along the top and bottom lines, down to the thickness line on the face. Chop out the recess with a chisel and hammer. Make a series of chisel cuts, 3mm apart, to the depth of the line on the door face and parallel to the saw lines on the edge. Clean out the waste with the chisel, working from the front edge. Position the hinge leaf in the recess, to check that it is a good lit, and that it lies flat. The door will not close properly otherwise. Make any adjustments needed. If the butt hinge is proud of the recess, shave off a little more timber with the chisel. If it is sunk too deep, pack it out with card. Drill pilot holes for the fixing screws, and screw the hinge into place, taking care to position it accurately. Some hinges are pre-packed complete with fixing screws. If yours are not, test the gauge of screw required by test-pushing a screw into the hole. Use 25mm screws. Fix the other butt hinges in the same way, and then hang the door. Recesses for a hinge in the frame are cut in much the same way. The work will be more difficult because of the awkward working position, so take extra care to ensure accuracy.

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