Installing Butt Hinges on Cabinet Doors

Butt Hinges are a very old style used on most antique furniture. Hinges are made up of 2 plates, called leaves, which are united together by a knuckle joint. When selecting butt hinges it is worth purchasing extruded brass hinges as they have tighter fitting precision joints which provide reliable action and better fit. Alternative stamped hinges are produced by shaping stamped metal around the hinge pin to form the knuckle. This produces sloppier hinge action and less precise fit.

Two Styles of Butt Hinges

are available with or without decorative tips.
  • Simple Un-tipped Butt Hinges are true work horses. They are very functional and draw little attention to themselves.
  • Ball Tip or Decorative Tip Hinges have a little more style and are also very functional.

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    Swaged Hinges

    Installation requires

  • Hinge leaves are mortised into cabinet carcass and cabinet door.
  • Mortises should be the same depth on both carcass and door so that equal tension is placed on hinge leaves.
  • Placement of un-tipped hinge must allow hinge to function normally. For a less exposed appearance joint placement should be ever so slightly forwarded of cabinet frame.
  • Placement of decorative tip hinges requires a more forward hinge placement. Entire hinge joint must be exposed to allow decorative tip to swing clear.

  • Swaging

  • Swaged: the hinge leaf has a slight offset near the hinge joint. This enables hinge leaves to come together snuggly.
  • Not swaged: the hinge leaves are straight allowing a less precise fit.
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