Cabinet Doors and Hinges

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Blog entry by Scott1958 posted 08-03-2017 01:19 PM 649 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi Guys, a relative novice at woodworking, I recently took on a cabinet project for my workshop from the special Small Shops issue of Woodsmith. It is a basic wall cabinet using 3/4 plywood and hardwood of your choice for door frames and face frame. I used maple. Doors are inset and they were my first ever mortise and tenons. I must say that despite a couple mistakes along the way I was very pleased with the mostly finished project until it came time to install the doors. The first boot camp blunder was gluing the face frame to the carcass before installing the doors. Now I am stuck installing doors to a completed carcass. Fortunately, a test fit shows the my square and dimensions on both the doors and face frame are pretty good so I decided to risk attaching the 2 1/2” non mortise, bronze hinges from Rockler. I drove all the way to Salem, NH for these today and got back 3 hours later excited to finishing the door install. I drilled pilot holes in the maple face frame and started screw the bronze screws in. The first one stripped immediately and I thought I can replace the screw so I backed it out and it was bent. I also thought maybe I need to widen the pilot holes and/or use a different driver. I tried both. The second screw then stripped and broke off. At this point I was tired and a bit demoralized. I don’t know if these hinges are just cheap shit or if I am doing something wrong. This is my first real cabinet so any advice or guidance is appreciated. Including the best way to install the doors after the face frame is attached to the carcass. Thanks Scott

3 comments so far

View 000's profile


2859 posts in 1871 days

#1 posted 08-03-2017 01:49 PM

After you drill your pilot holes use a steel screw first to cut the threads in, take it out, and then use your bronze screws.

View Rich's profile


6393 posts in 1561 days

#2 posted 08-03-2017 04:48 PM

+1 on cutting threads with steel screw. Also, a product called Screw Wax really helps, even with steel screws. I use it on every one I drive, and haven’t had any breakage. Avoid the Fastcap version. It leaves oily stains on the wood.

You can also use a block of beeswax, or even a bar of soap. Anything is better than nothing.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View DS's profile


3619 posts in 3392 days

#3 posted 08-03-2017 04:55 PM

You are getting good advice from some experienced woodworkers. +1 to both.
I’ve even used birthday candles to lubricate a screw – hey it was to hand and it worked.

Also, when driving soft metal screws like brass or bronze, don’t use a power driver unless you have a really good clutch on it that you can turn way down.
Far better to have a well-fitting hand screwdriver and some patience.
(Plus it builds out your forearms – just thinking positive)

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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