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Knife Hinge Installation - Straight Knife Hinge and Offset Knife Hinge

There are three types of knife hinges. On this page we will only be covering the straight and offset or L-type knife hinges and their installation methods. Knife hinges are strong, fairly hidden and usually used in smaller cabinets. The straight knife hinge is generally used when the door overlays the sides of the cabinet and is inset into the top and bottom. The offset knife hinge is typically used with full inset doors. This is explained further in both of the installations below. If you are having trouble with technical terms please visit our hinge glossary to find out their definitions.

Straight Knife Hinge Installation

1.Begin by preparing to mortise hinge recesses in the base of the cabinet and the base of the door. If installing hinges on top and bottom repeat this with mortise on top of cabinet and top of cabinet door as well.The picture below illustrates approximately where these will need to be located.

You will want to posistion the hinges on the cabinet and/or the door base. Accuracy is key when installing knife hinges. In the photo on the right, there is a small spacer next to the knife hinge. This will allow you to position your knife hinges correctly, without measuring, and to have consistent reveal on both sides. Use this spacer on each corner of the cabinet when perimeter is marked. Now that your knife hinges are in place, mark the perimeter with a pencil or knife. Then gently cut out the mortise within the perimeter of your mark with a chisel and hammer. The mortise should only be as deep as the hinge leaf.

2. Once all knife hinges are mortised for the door and cabinet bases and/or tops, it is a good time to slip the hinges into place, fit the doors with the cabinet and check that everything is in place. Do all the hinges slide to the end of the mortises? Are the door edges aligned with the cabinet edges? Is your gap (reveal) even at the top and bottom. Should be fine, but if not adjust accordingly.

Now it is time to install the knife hinges. Take cabinet apart again and give yourself some room to work. Mark the location of the screw holes on your doors and cabinet. You may want to drill pilot holes, but this isnt necessary with all installations. Then simply put the knife hinges into place, swing open the doors, install the screws and you're finished!

 

Offset (L-type) Knife Hinge Installation

1.Begin by preparing to mortise hinge recesses in the base of the cabinet and the base of the door. If installing hinges on top and bottom repeat this with mortise on top of cabinet and top of cabinet door as well.The picture below illustrates approximately where these will need to be located.

You will want to posistion the hinges on the cabinet and/or the door base. Accuracy is key when installing knife hinges. In the photo on the right, there is a small spacer next to the knife hinge. This will allow you to position your knife hinges correctly, without measuring, and to have consistent reveal on both sides. Use this spacer on each corner of the cabinet when perimeter is marked. Now that your knife hinges are in place, mark the perimeter with a pencil or knife. Then gently cut out the mortise within the perimeter of your mark with a chisel and hammer. The mortise should only be as deep as the hinge leaf.

2. Once all knife hinges are mortised for the door and cabinet bases and/or tops, it is a good time to slip the hinges into place, fit the doors with the cabinet and check that everything is in place. Do all the hinges slide to the end of the mortises? Are the door edges aligned with the cabinet edges? Is your gap (reveal) even at the top and bottom. Should be fine, but if not adjust accordingly.

Now it is time to install the knife hinges. Take cabinet apart again and give yourself some room to work. Mark the location of the screw holes on your doors and cabinet. You may want to drill pilot holes, but this isnt necessary with all installations. Then simply put the knife hinges into place, swing open the doors, install the screws and you're finished!