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Dictionary of Hinge Terminology

Articulated Doors - Usually refers to doors used on Entertainment Centers where the door needs to open wide enough to allow the television screen to be viewed from all angles. An articulated door is a door hinged in two places. The first joint is where the door attaches to the cabinet. The second joint is placed so the door can swing 90 degrees back around the edge of the cabinet.

Ball Tip - A decorative exposed tip of a hinge pin that is shaped like a ball.

Ball-Bearing hinge - A hinge equipped with ball bearings between the hinge knuckles to reduce friction.

Barrel - That portion of a hinge that is enlarged to receive the pin and act as the pivot point. It includes one or more knuckles from each individual leaf.

Base Material - The type of metal underneath the plating or finish of a piece of hardware. Examples: steel, brass, bronze, stainless steel.

Bevel of Door - The angle of the edge of the door in relation to the inside and outside surfaces of the stile. Thin doors are not usually beveled. The commonly used bevel for heavier doors is 1/8" in 2". (A beveled edge on a thick door is necessary for a close fit when the door is closed because of the arched swing of the door.)

Butt Hinge - A hinge mortised into both the door and frame. A butt hinge abuts the surfaces of a door and door frame.

Casement or Casement Window - A window in which the frame is built in such a way that the sash can open out like a door when installed in a window unit.

Casing - The framing around a door or window.

Center Hung Pivot - A special type of hanging device for heavy-duty doors that usually swing both ways (double acting).

Center-to-Center - Measurement from the center of one member to the center of another.

Clearance - A space intentionally provided between building parts, either to facilitate operation or installation, to insure proper separation, to accommodate dimensional variations or for other reasons.

Clip On Hinge - A concealed hinge that allows the two parts of the hinge to be attached by snapping them together. A feature of some European hinges.

Concealed Hinge - A hinge so constructed that no parts are exposed when the door is closed.

Continuous Hinge - A hinge designed to extend for the length of the moving part to which it is applied. Also called "piano hinge."

Crank - This is a measurement of left/right offset built into the hinge arm. There are three hinge crankings: 00, 08, and 15. Overlay is reduced 8mm with an 08 cranking hinge, 15mm with a 15 cranking hinge utilizing a 00 mounting plate. Using this scenario, 00 would be considered neutral or flat with a full overlay.

Cup - The door portion of a concealed hinge (such as the Blum hinges) that requires a hole to be drilled in the back of the door. The cup portion of the hinge is inserted into this hole.

Degree Of Opening - The angle a door will open. Some hinges will allow the doors to open farther allowing for better access to the contents of the cabinet.

270-Degree Hinge - A hinge that allows the door a full movement of 270 degrees. It allows the door to open all the way to the outside side of the cabinet wall. This can only be achieved on a frameless full overlay cabinet design.

Door Wing - In a five-knuckle hinge, it is the hinge leaf that is mounted to the door. It has two knuckles.

Double-Acting Spring Hinge - A device for hanging a door, permitting the door to swing in either direction and return to a closed position.

Double-Acting Door - A door equipped with hardware that permits it to swing to either side of the plane of its frame.

End Play - The amount of axial movement between the leaves.

European Style Cabinets - Frameless cabinets that use a concealed hinge.

European Hinges - A two part concealed hinge which mounts to the door in a bored hole and to the cabinet with a mounting plate.

Exposed Hinges - Hinges that show on the outside of the cabinet. Hinges that are not concealed or hidden.

Fast Pin Butt Hinge - A hinge in which the pin is fastened permanently in place, preventing separation of the two leaves.

Face Frame - a narrow piece of wood (usually about 2" wide) which is attached to the front of a cabinet. This wood frames the cabinet opening where the doors go.

Finial Tipped - An exposed tip of the pin of a butt hinge that has a fancy turned shape

Floor Closer - (also known as a Spring Pivot) - A door closing device that is installed in a recess in the floor below the door in order to regulate and control the opening and closing of the door.

Flush - A solid door that sits within the cabinet opening so that the front surface of the door is even with the front of the cabinet side panel.

Frameless Cabinet - A cabinet with no face frame, basically a 4 sided box with one of the sides acting as the cabinet door. Sometimes called a European style cabinet.

Free Swinging Hinge - A hinge that moves freely from open to closed. There is no spring or closing action to the hinge.

Friction Hinge - A hinge designed to swing a door and hold it at any desired position by means of friction control incorporated in the knuckles of the hinge.

Full Inset - Usually applies to cabinet doors. A full inset door is one which is located within the cabinet opening and the front face of the door is flush with the front of the cabinet or cabinet face frame.

Full Mortise - Hinge with one leaf mortised in the edge of the door and the other leaf mortised in the doorjamb.

Full Surface - Hinge with one leaf secured to surface of door, the other leaf secured to surface of doorjamb.

Full Overlay - Usually applies to cabinet doors. A full overlay door will completely (or almost completely) cover the front edge of the cabinet. For kitchen cabinets, full overlay doors are typically used at both ends of a run of cabinets. Half overlay doors are used for cabinets in the middle of a run where the doors share a common partition wall.

Fully Concealed Hinge - A hinge that does not show at all from the outside of the cabinet.

Half-Mortise - Hinge with one leaf mortised in the edge of the door and the other leaf secured to the surface of doorjamb.

Half Overlay - For frameless cabinets which share a common single partition wall (for example in the middle of a run of cabinets where the doors share a common single partition wall) the hinge allows the door to cover up half of the partition wall. Not to be confused with 1/2-inch overlay which allows a door to cover up the cabinet or face frame by 1/2 inch.

Half-Surface - Hinge with one leaf mortised in the doorjamb and the other leaf secured to surface of the door.

Hand - The term used to designate the direction a door swings.

Handed Hardware - Locks, closers, some hinges and other hardware, limited to use with doors that swing in a given direction.

Hinge - Two jointed plates hinged together and attached to a door and its frame. Serves to support or "hang" the door and allows the door to swing or move.

Hinge Backset - Distance from back end of hinge to edge of inside door surface.

Hinge Jamb - Vertical member of door frame to which the hinges are applied.

Hinge Stile (of a door) - The door stile to which the hinges are applied.

Hospital Tip - A hinge barrel whose ends are beveled towards each other.

Inset Hinge - A door that sits flush within the cabinet opening. The front face of the door is flush with the front of the cabinet or face frame.

3/8 inch Inset Hinge - This is a door that has a 3/8" x 3/8" rabbet cut all the way around the door on the back edge. This cut allows half the thickness of the door to go back into the cabinet and leaves the front half of the door overlaying the cabinet or face frame. It is also sometimes called a lipped door.

Jamb - The vertical member forming the side of a door, window or wall opening frame. The hinge jamb is the jamb at which the hinges or pivots are installed. The strike jamb is the jamb in which a strike may be installed and away from which the door or window swings. A blank jamb is one that has not been prepared to receive hardware.

Jamb Depth - The width of a jamb, measured perpendicular to the door or wall face at the edge of the opening.

Joint Length - The measurement along the hinge pin, measured from tip to tip.

Knife Hinge - A type of pivot hinge that resembles two blades of a knife. Two hinges (one on the top edge and one on the bottom edge) are used per door.

Knuckle - The enlarged part of a hinge into which the pin is inserted.

Knuckle Length - The typical dimension of the knuckle measured parallel to the pin.

Leaf (of a hinge or butt) - One of the two movable plates which, when fastened together by the hinge pin, form a complete hinge.

Leaf Width - The dimension from the center of the pin to the outer edge of the leaf.

Length - The length of the leaves measured parallel to the pin.

Lipped Door - This is a door that has a rabbet cut all the way around the door on the back edge. This cut allows part of the door to go back into the cabinet and leaves the remaining part overlaying the cabinet or face frame.

Loose Joint Hinge - A hinge having only two knuckles, to one of which the pin is fastened permanently, the other containing the pinhole, whereby the two parts of the hinge can easily be separated. These hinges are handed.

Loose Pin Hinge - A hinge having a removable pin to permit the two leaves of the hinge to be separated.

Mortise - An opening recess or cutout made to receive a lock or other hardware. Also the act of making such an opening.

No-Mortise Hinge - A type of hinge that is only one leaf thick. It allows a narrow gap between the door and cabinet without mortising.

Non-Removable Pins (NRP) - Enhanced security for door hinges. A setscrew is threaded into the barrel of the hinge and intercepts a groove in the hinge pin. Doors that open out should have non-removable pins to help keep intruders from removing the pins the then the doors.

Offset Pivot - A special hanging device for heavy-duty doors, used on doors swinging one way only.

Olive Knuckle Hinge - A hinge with an oval or olive shaped single knuckle.

On Center - Measurement from the center of one member to the center of another. For example, measurements taken between screw holes are taken "on center" or "center to center".

Open Width - The overall dimension of the leaves measured perpendicular, or across, the pin.

Outside Diameter (OD) of the knuckle is approximately two times the material thickness plus the pin diameter.

Overlay Hinge - An overlay hinge is used on cabinets where the door is larger than the opening.

Paint Clearance - The dimension between the outer face of the knuckle and the opposing edge of the leaf cutout over the entire range of rotation. Paint clearance is a dimension and not a feature you add to a hinge. If you need a hinge that will be painted, you may need to ask for more paint clearance than is provided on our standard products. You should specify the minimum paint clearance you require.

Paumelle Hinge - A style of hinge using a single, pivot-type knuckle. Generally modern or streamlined design.

Pin - Rod running the length of the hinge. The pin holds the leaves of the hinge together.

Pin Hinge - A hinge that pivots on a single point. Offers a very low profile, as only the pivoting knuckle is visible from the outside of the cabinet.

Pitch - The dimension from a point on the knuckle to the same point on an adjacent knuckle on the same leaf.

Pivot Hinge - A hinge that pivots at a single point. Also, a concealed hinge for inset doors that uses a bushing placed into the horizontal cabinet members above and below the door, with a pin coming down from the hinge into the bushing.

Pivot-Reinforced Hinge - Butt hinge combined and interlocked with a pivot to increase shock load resistance.

Plain-Bearing - A standard hinge without ball, oil-impregnated or anti-friction bearings.

Rabbet - A term used to define that portion of a doorframe into which the door fits. Also a term used to describe the abutting edges of a pair of doors or windows so shaped as to provide a tight fit. One half of the edge projects beyond the other half, usually 1/2".

Residential Hinge - A hinge that is typically used in tract home construction for lightweight doors. Residential hinges are made of thinner material than Architectural hinges. They also do not come in the variety of types, sizes and finishes that Architectural hinges are available in.

Return - A molding turned back to the wall on which it is located.

Reveal (of a door frame) - The part of a back bend that projects out from the finished wall. Also, the dimension from the inside face of the door to the face of the frame at the side opposite from the direction of the door swing.

Reveal (of a cabinet door when using European style hinges) - The reveal is the gap distance between the edge of the cabinet door and the edge of another door in the case of back-to-back doors, or the gap distance between the edge of the door and the face frame in the case of inset doors.

Reverse Bevel - A term used to designate the hand of a door when the door swings to the outside/key swing.

Reverse Bevel Hinge - A hinge used on a cabinet door where the edge of the door is angled back toward the opening of the cabinet. This type of door usually does not use cabinet knobs as the reverse bevel acts as a finger grip when opening the doors.

Self-Closing Hinge - A type of hinge used on cabinets which closes the cabinet door the last couple of inches. This acts to keep the door closed.

Semi-Concealed Hinge - A type of cabinet hinge where part of the hinge is fastened to the face frame and part of it is hidden behind the door.

Shutter Hinge - A hinge designed to swing shutters.

Side Panel Wing - In a five-knuckle hinge, it is the hinge leaf that is mounted to the cabinet side panel. It has three knuckles.

Side Play - The amount of movement of the leaves perpendicular to the pin.

Sill - The stone or wood member across the bottom of a door or window opening. Also the bottom member on which a building frame rests (sill plate).

Single-Rabbet Frame - A doorframe having only one rabbet.

Single-Acting Door - A door mounted to swing to only one side of the plane of its frame.

Slip On Hinge - A concealed type hinge where the two parts of the hinge are fastened together by slipping one half on the other and then tightening a screw.

Snap Closing Hinge - This type of hinge will have a design feature to help pull the door in and keep it shut when the door is brought within a few inches of being closed. Sometimes called self-closing.

Spring Pivot - A door closing device that is installed in a recess in the floor below the door in order to regulate and control the opening and closing of the door.

Soffit - The under surface of the stop at the frame head. That portion of a doorframe between the rabbets on a double-rabbeted frame or between the rabbet and the outer edge of the frame on the stop side of a single-rabbeted frame. Sometimes referred to as the "stop width."

Soss Hinge - A type of concealed hinge that is used on full inset doors. The Soss hinge must be mortised into the door and the cabinet.

Specifications - A written document that accompanies the working drawings, which sets forth standards for, the materials used in the construction of buildings. It also covers all conditions relating to that construction; labor, bidding, purchasing, payment, etc.

Spring Hinge - A hinge containing one or more springs to move the door into a closed position. It may be either singe-or double acting.

Stile - The vertical members of a door, window or screen. On a door the stile is where the lock and hinges are applied.

Strap Hinge - A surface hinge of which both leaves are of considerable length.

Surface Mounted Hinge - One having both leaves secured to the surface of the door and frame. A surface mounted hinge can be either exposed or concealed.

Swaging - A slight offset of the hinge leaves at the barrel, which permits the leaves to come closer together.

Swing - The direction of opening of a swinging door.

Swing Clear Hinge - An interior door hinge that allows the door to open completely clear of the door opening so that large equipment may pass through the opening of the door. Typically used for wheel chair access.

T-Hinge - A surface hinge with the short member attached to the jamb and the long member attached to the door.

Template Hardware - Any item of hardware that is made to template. Item is exactly matching the master template drawing as to spacing of all holes and dimensions.

Three Eights (3/8") Inset - A cabinet door which is partially inset in the opening and partial overlays the opening (the overlay is also called the lip). The inset dimension is 3/8". Other inset dimensions that are still in existence but not used in new construction are 1/2", 5/8" and 3/4". The lip dimension is always 3/8".

Transom or Transom Window - A small window over a door.

(270) Two Hundred Seventy Degree Hinge - A cabinet hinge that allows the door to open 270 degrees (the door folds back against the cabinet wall). This only works for an overlay door where the cabinet door is a full overlay door.

Wrap Around Hinge - A type of cabinet hinge that offers extra attachment strength by wrapping around and attaching to the back edge of the door and/or the face frame. The amount of bends the hinge makes decides whether it is a full wrap or a partial wrap around hinge.

Zero Clearance Hinge - A hinge that allows unobstructed access for pullout shelves or drawer when a door is open to 90 degrees or more. This means that the door will not protrude into the area of the cabinet opening when open. This is only possible in a full overlay door layout.
We are closed on Monday for the Labor Day Holiday celebrating the working class and the great achievements the working men and women of America have accomplished together. We are back on Tuesday shipping full steam ahead. Orders not placed by Friday at around 1pm will not go in the mail until Tuesday. The post offices are closed Monday anyway, so it won't be more of a delay than absolutely necessary on our end. Have a great weekend!

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D. Lawless Hardware is located in the small Midwestern town of Olney, Illinois. Surrounded North, East, South and West by Interstate highways, all an hour's drive away (that's 50-60 miles out here in the sticks for you city folks who drive an hour to work), I like to joke that we are "centrally located in the middle of nowhere". We like it here and we think you would too. Olney has great schools, a junior college, a hospital, 2 industrial parks, 3 recreational parks, a good-sized lake for fishing, boating, and an abundant water supply, a small local all-weather airport, and lots of fresh air and room to breath it. Like all small towns, we appreciate all our local industries, but are always actively seeking growth. So, if you or your company is considering new site locations, please check us out. You can click on the image above for information.

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