Maintenance and Repair of Hinges

OF all the general types of hinges, the butt hinge, used for room doors, cabinets, cupboards and similar furniture, is perhaps the most commonly known. Steel butt hinges employed for room doors, have to support a good deal of weight, plus the leverage exerted when the door is opened or closed. This type of hinge comprises two plates and the knuckle, through which latter the pin goes. The plates are sunk into the edge of the door and into the frame of the door so as to be flush with the surfaces, or slightly below, with the knuckle centralized on the crevice between door and frame. Examine a door that has been correctly hung and verify these points. It will be seen that the door does not fit closely to the frame, but that there is a regular clearance of about -j-in. On the top and vertical sides. In good quality joinery the wide edges of the door are bevelled back a little from the inside to the outside for further clearance. Hinges of room doors are commonly fitted with a space of about 6in. Above the top one and twice this amount below the bottom hinge, but this depends on clearing any joints in the door system.

Fitting Butt Hinges

Two hinges are customary for light doors, with three for heavier ones such as entrance doors. In fitting up a new door the worker will need two marking gauges, and two thin wedges. Prop the door against a bench or table, with the hinge edge uppermost. Open one hinge and lay it in position on the door edge while the place is marked with pencil to give the length. The top edge of the hinge should be 6in. Down from the top of the door.

Close the hinge, and applying a rule to the top end of the hinge, measure the width from the centre of the hinge pin to the outer edge of the wing or flange. Deduct ½ in. from this distance, whatever it is; the result will be the width of the recess to be chiselled in the edge of the door. Set the marking gauge to this, and scribe along the door edge, resting the stock of the gauge against what will be the inside face of the door. Gauge for both hinges in this way and carefully adjust the gauge (or, better, set a second gauge) to the thickness of one wing or flange. This gives the depth of the recess to be cut, and this depth should be scribed by gauge along the inside face of the door for both hinges. Square off the lines to denote the exact length of the recess, from the marks pencilled earlier.

Fixing Hinges to Door

Using a fine tenon saw, cut down along the squared lines, until the depth line is reached. The point of the saw must be used, and it will not be possible to go down full depth at the back. Two other similar cuts can be made, in between, so as to facilitate removal of surplus wood by chisel. Use a sharp firmer chisel or a paring chisel, and outline the back margin by accurate cuts, taking care not to go down too deep; also complete the cuts at the side where the tenon saw could not go down full depth. Next, the chisel is used at the inside face of the door to incise the line here and eventually to cut out the waste wood and so form the recess. The reader, unless he takes great pains, is likely to take out too much wood. When the recess is correctly cut, fit the hinge, and using a bradawl, bore the holes for the screws. Insert the screws and turn them until they butt firmly in the hinge.

Door Frame

Take the first marking gauge and outline the width of the hinge on the inside edge of the door frame, at the approximate position (top of hinge 6in. From top of frame, plus top clearance, – in.). Get an assistant to hold up the door in position against the frame, with the hinges opened out and the plates close against the door jamb. Use wedges (under the bottom of the door) to raise the door so as to obtain accurate top clearance. Alternatively, the method may be usefully adopted when removing or fitting hinges. The butts must come back to the scribed lines made by the first marking gauge. Use a fine awl or a steel scriber to mark the position for the top and bottom of each wing or flange, and to confirm the marks scribed by the first gauge.

Remove the door, and with the second marking gauge, scribe the line for the depth of the recess. Cut out the latter, replace the door with wedges beneath, an assistant standing by to hold all steady; bore for one screw first, in one hinge, and insert the screw; do the same with the second hinge, one screw only for the present. Slip out the wedges, and test the door gently. It will probably be quite satisfactory, and the wedges can be replaced while the remainder of the screws are inserted and turned home. Should a mistake have been made (perhaps in positioning the screw hole) it can be corrected. A wrong hole can be plugged with a small piece of hardwood, driven in tight and cut off level with a chisel.

It is assumed that the dimensions of the new door have been checked so as to ensure correct clearance on the top and vertical sides. After the door has been hung, stops will have to be fixed on the frame, not right up to the face of the door, but approximately g-in. From it.

Rising Butt Hinges

These are like ordinary butt hinges, but the plates are separable; one has a pointed pin fixed in the knuckle, while the other has an open eye which fits over the pin. The pin plate is fixed to the door frame, and the eye plate to the door. These hinges are not reversible, and the purchaser must specify right-hand or left-hand when ordering. The mating edges of the knuckle are formed in a spiral, so that the door rises on the fixed wings or flanges of the hinges in the door frame.

The procedure for fitting and fixing is as for ordinary butt hinges, but the door frame cannot be marked direct from the door in this case. Fix the eye plates to the door, then measure the distance from the top of the door down to the top of the hinge. Add for clearance, which in this case the amateur might increase a trifle. As the door in the open position is somewhat higher than in the closed position, it is customary for the joiner to bevel back the door slightly at the top and towards the hinge stile, to give clearance towards the end of the closing movement. However, since the object of fitting rising butt hinges is to enable the door to clear a thickish carpet and yet shut down draught-proof at the finish, the craftsman’s method ought to be followed rather than allow too great a clearance.

Cross Garnets and Tee-Hinges

These differ little, as shown in the illustration*************** . As both hinges are employed extensively for outbuildings, gates, etc. they are usually japanned or galvanized to prevent corrosion. In ledged doors the hinges should be fixed over the ledges, so that there is an adequate depth of wood below the screw; secure the hinges by screws to the door or gate first, letting the centre line of the knuckle coincide with the dividing line between door and frame. Support the door from below with blocks or wedges, and mark where the wings or flanges of the hinges come on the frame or fence post. While an assistant holds the door, bore one or two holes through those in the small flange of each hinge. Insert the screws and test the door. If the test is satisfactory, insert the remainder of the screws.

Outside doors generally have an inch or more of clearance at the foot, so that thick wedges or blocks must be used to raise the door for hanging. When fitting hinges to an old door, there is the latch and possibly other fastening to be considered, so in some cases these must be taken off and refitted.

Defective Hanging of Room Doors

When a door jams or sticks, the first task is to diagnose the cause. The frame may have gone askew, and be no longer square. A more common cause is that the hinges have become loose on door or frame. Sometimes in outer doors the screws are found to have rusted and become loose . Loose hinges may be remedied by using longer screws of the same gauge, or larger gauge if the hinge holes will allow. Ensure that every screw is tight and securely turned into the countersunk bores of the hinges.

If the door should stick because the frame of the door has warped, stand back from the door and examine it closely in the shut position. Perhaps the crack on the hinge side is not parallel, and the door is hanging outwards towards the lock stile; in such cases the top corner at the lock side will bind on the frame, and the bottom corner on that side will bind on the floor or threshold. Try tightening up the top hinges in the door and frame; if this does not cure the trouble, slightly deepen the recess in the frame for the top hinge, and also use a slip of cardboard as packing behind the corresponding plate of the lower hinge. A very trifling alteration may do the trick.

Should an examination show that the door is high at the top on the lock side, and that the bottom corner on the hinge side is binding on the floor, exactly the reverse of the method above outlined must be used; slightly deepening the recess for the bottom hinge, and packing out the top one.

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