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#5 Fitted wardrobe hinges

Before I started this wardrobe I would have said there are few topics in the World less interesting than hinges. Having finished the wardrobe, I can confirm that this is correct. However, they’re an integral part of a wardrobe so getting it wrong could turn an otherwise handsome creation into a pile of crap.


#1 | Choosing hinges

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I went for concealed hinges because they’re hidden, allow for adjustment after installation and can include a soft close function. They also allow for doors to be mounted and removed v. quickly and easily. There’s no doubt they cost more than a standard flush hinge (I spent £75 on 18 hinges) but I think they’re well worth it. ‘Blum’ is probably the best-known concealed hinge brand so that’s who I went with. CharlieDIYTE has put together this video about choosing Blum hinges and how to fit them which is well worth a watch.

For our wardrobe doors, I wanted a 95 degree opening angle and knew that I’d have to get the special ‘thick door’ hinges as our doors are 24mm thick. Soft close was also important.

As for how the doors open relative to the frame, this dictates whether you go for overlay or inset hinges. It’s tricky to explain but basically, inset hinges are for when the door sits within the frame ie: the front of the frame is flush with the front of the door. Overlay hinges, on the other hand, are for when the door ‘overlays’ the frame ie: the doors sits in front of the frame.

Top hinge is inset, bottom hinge is overlay

Once you know all this stuff you can use the Blum catalogue to pick out the hinges that suit you and work out how many you’ll need. For me, I used a combination of the soft close thick door inset hinge (71B9750) and soft close thick door overlay hinge (71B9550) which I bought as a bundle with mounting plates included at Trade Hinges. I used 4 hinges on each of the big doors and 2 on each of the wee ones.

#2 | Practice run

Before you start tearing holes into your doors it’s a good idea to do a mock set-up. This will allow you to make sure your measurements are correct and will highlight any problems that might crop up. For example, it’s only when I did a mock-up that I realised the inset hinge mounting plate would need to sit deeper than the framework. That’s why on the images above and below you’ll see two sections of framework joined by a bracket. This was a fairly big issue that I’ll cover later.

Hinge practice

To create your practice set-ups, make a couple of mock doors with MDF off-cuts and grab some framework off-cuts too. After consulting your Blum catalogue for positioning details, drill 35mm holes into the MDF with a hinge drill bit and screw in your hinge. Fix the mounting plate at the corresponding position on the framework. At this point you’ll find yourself with a hilariously small and totally useless mock door. However, it could well save you some big headaches down the line.

#3 | Preparing the door for hinges

After the practice run, you should now be able to drill the hinge holes into your door with confidence. Remember to avoid drilling where the panel pins are or you’ll damage the drill bit. Once your holes are drilled, create pilot holes and screw in the hinges in place.

Seriously messy job

#4 | Mounting the mounting plates

Again, based on your practice, fix the mounting plates to your framework. There is an amount of adjustment possible after you’ve screwed the mounting plates in place so there’s no need to break down if they’re a nanometre too low/high. As ever, remember to drill pilot holes into the framework before screwing the mounting plates in place.

The big mistake I mentioned earlier was that I didn’t check the positioning of the mounting plates before buying the CLS framework. This meant that thanks to the law of sod, when it came to screwing the mounting plates for the inset hinges into the framework, the ideal screw positioning would be right on the edge of the framework and so the mounting plates couldn’t be mounted securely. This meant I had to make wood blocks that sat perfectly flush with the framework to support the mounting plates which took ages so please don’t do the same. This can be avoided by going for the CLS that is 89mm wide rather than the 63mm wide stuff I went for.

If only I’d gone for the wider CLS…

And now, the moment of truth – you should be able to offer the door up to the mounting plates and click the hinges into place. That first door close and open is a similar feeling to your first… Nandos – bloody wonderful. Although it’s worth caveating that the first close/open will probably catch against the frame and this is where concealed hinges come into their own as there are 3 planes of movement that the hinges/mounting plate can be adjusted in. So tweak away, and soon you’ll have a functioning door which you’ll be redundantly proud of.

At this point you’ll have a fully- functioning wardrobe that just needs a bit of sprucing up

Moulding and knobs covered in the next post

Equipment

  • 35mm hinge drill bit
  • Combi drill
  • Impact drill driver or screwdriver with bits
  • Measuring tape
  • Metal ruler
  • Pencil
  • Gimlet

Materials

  • Concealed hinges & mounting plates
  • MDF and framework offcuts

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