Had a scary thought: do I understand concealed hinge overlay?

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Forum topic by _bp posted 08-18-2009 02:27 AM 7236 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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18 posts in 3501 days

08-18-2009 02:27 AM

This is my first post here everyone, so hello.

This post will be two parts: part one is the fluff, part two is the actual question.

Part 1
Woodworking is quite new to me. I just bought a house, like to make things and am cheap, so woodworking seemed like a pretty natural part of my evolution.

I am on my second project. The first was the obligatory cutting board. This one is kitchen cabinets. The skills involved don’t intimidate me much, but the scale and expense is no joke. I spent about three weeks designing the cabinets in sketchup, to the most anal detail. Used the cutlist plugin to print out my cut list and parts list and I am now well on my way. A sidenote: That cutlist plugin is amazing. 450 parts spread over a 15 page spreadsheet is a bit more than I would have been able to go at freestyle I think.

I am finishing up the boxes at the moment, will start milling the lumber for face frames and doors this weekend, so I started thinking about the metal bits. I designed the cabinets so there will be a 1/4 reveal between all drawers, doors and edges. With a couple of exceptions in corners and rows, and with 1 1/2 inch face frames, I planned for 1 3/8 overlay hinges would give me a 1/8 reveal on the hinge side. That means a 1/4 inch reveal once the boxes are pushed together. Actually, the boxes that don’t but against another will have 1 5/8 inch face frames (this also leaves me a little bit for scribing.

Now onto my question about hinges.

Part II
I am assuming that the overlay listed on a face-frame concealed hinge in the measurement to the end of the door and not to the outside of the hinge right? Does that make sense? The hole for the hinge gets drilled an 1/8 of an inch, or whatever is in the directions, in from the edge of the door. Is the overlay measured from the outside edge of the hole or the outside of the hole plus the 1/8 inch or whatever the directions say, which would be the edge of the door?

I should probably get this sorted out before I go and order 50 hinges and cut up a bunch of wood.

6 replies so far

View GFYS's profile


711 posts in 3705 days

#1 posted 08-18-2009 04:07 AM

overlay is to the edge of the door/drawer

There is usually some adjustment possible. As I recall as much as 1/4 inch. on some hinges.
The grass hinges I use are adjustable 6 directions. in,out,up,down, left,right

View grumpycarp's profile


257 posts in 3980 days

#2 posted 08-18-2009 07:12 AM

You make no mention of the hinge you are using but from the verbiage I think we’re all assuming you’re using 35mm cup hinges. (european hinges)

Overlay is the amount that the door “overlays” the FF (of carcase). Depending on the manufacturer or dealer website this can get a little confusing. (when checking vendor websites my first search found one that described a hinge suitable for use in frameless construction though the cut sheet clearly showed a face frame. Website authors aren’t necesarily woodworkers, IMNSHO most often not) Multiple mounting plates are available and depending on which is used you will get different overlay/setback. 1/2” and 3/4” overlays are quite common, 1/2” being used often on face frame style cabinets, 3/4” being used most often on flush “european style” cabs.

For instance, if you’re using 3/4” carcase material and you use a 3/4” overlay hinge, and IF you drill the cup hole in the appropriate location AND assuming you size the door to the outside dimension of said carcase you will end up with a “full overlay door” that is the same size as the carcase, i.e. flush to the outside of the carcase.

There are a lot of possible permiutations of the hinge/mounting plate/location variable, allowing for a huge range of outcome. There are almost as many exceptions to the above stated “rule” as there are adherents, but it might serve as an initial guide.

The variables are due a multiplicity of options, including hinge mounting brackets available in several different combinations of backset/throw/etc., angle of operation (swing/throw), and the ever popular soft close option. The selection can seem daunting. Add to the fact that different mfg. websites and\or providers of product use different jargon to describe their wares and you have a giant opportunity for misunderstanding on the part of the consumer.

I would suggest doing your research, finding what you think is the most appropriate hinge for your application and buying one or two and experiment. Make a short mock up of your carcase and/or face frame and door. They needn’t be full size in length and width but they should be something that can be milled and worked safely. For instance, you wouldn’t have to make a full sized face frame and door just a full sized section of face frame and door. If you intend to have a 1 1/2 face frame then mill a a 1 1\2 by 6” by the thickness you intend, and a matching chunk of mock door the appropriate thickness but only 3 or 4 inches wide. This will allow you to test your set up and see the interplay between the parts.

As a carpenter I briefly took exception to your statement that you “bought a house, made a cutting board, and now felt qualified to tackle a kitchen full of cabinets”. But that was my ego. Cabinets are just boxes, and in fact all of building is simple geometry, but a lot of folks claim they “hate math” and the devil/heaven is in the details. Cabinet making is in the details. I’m sure most if not all visitors and members of this site could do it, given the time, space, desire, and tooling. If you feel up to it then by all means go for it. Take care of the details and they will take care of you.

And look for a sale on clamps . . .

Best of luck and warmest regards.

View _bp's profile


18 posts in 3501 days

#3 posted 08-18-2009 02:30 PM

Thanks for the responses guys. I think you confirmed my initial suspicions.

GC, sorry if I offended. My personality tends to be pretty sarcastic, so if I sounded cockey or overly confident that I can pull this off, trust me I didn’t mean to. My habit tends to be to research first. I pretty much don’t make a cut unless I spent at least two hours reading about how to make it first.

I realistically probably spent 50 hours in sketchup designing these things, luckily, because I ended up making several major revisions because of design flaws. So far I think the prep work is paying off. Out of the probably 300 or more cuts I have made so far, I have made three miscuts, and they were all less than 1/8 off.

I also tend to learn by digging myself a hole, that I have to find a way back out of.

I haven’t decided on a brand of hinges. I am likely going to order all my hardware from Customer Service Hardware, as they have the best prices I have found. They offer hettich and ferrrai hinges.

View daveintexas's profile


365 posts in 4110 days

#4 posted 08-19-2009 04:19 AM

Welcome to LJ-
Customer Service hardware is a good company, I get lots of stuff from them.
The Ferrai hinges are ok, nothing great. I have never tried the hettich.
For the money Blum hinges work great. I use them first, then Grass.
Check on ebay- lots of time there are some really good prices on hinges.

Good luck on your project.


View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4128 days

#5 posted 08-19-2009 04:56 AM

combinations of hinge, offset between hinge and door, inset between door and gable, 1mm plate to 30mm plate, 1/2” gable, 5/8” gable and 3/4 inch gable, 95 degree swing through 170 degree swing, and anything inbetween, self closing, fatty over lays and “over the edge thick” doors that between hettick, grass, ferrari and blum… becomes over whelming…....self closing and free floating

Lee Valley …...........most of the euro hinges are on display and you can see them function as per thier application

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 4126 days

#6 posted 08-19-2009 05:54 AM

Don’t drill your doors until you have the hinges and make a 35mm test in scrap. Hinges have an offset, in mm, from the back of the cup to the edge of the door (this is what you are referring to 1/8”). This is essentially the distance of the 35mm hole to the edge. Hinges have different offsets depending on the manufacturer. This offset has nothing to do with the overlay.

A couple of years ago I needed 40 doors for a kitchen build and outsourced them to speed up the process. I also paid to have them drilled for the hinge cup. I ordered the face frame hinges from another company. Unfortunately, the drilled offset from the door company was greater than the hinges I ordered which caused the hinge arm to hit the edge of the door, not letting it open all the way. I had to purchase all new hinges, which delayed the project slightly. I now drill all my doors myself whether I make or outsource them.

To answer your original question, a 1/2” overlay is designed for overlaying the face frame with the door by 1/2” on both sides. For it to work out correctly, for a single door cabinet, measure your opening and add 1” to the width. A cabinet with a 22” opening will need a 23” wide door if using a 1/2” overlay hinge. It just depends how much, or how little of the face frame you want to have exposed and buy the appropriate overlay. I have seen some use 1 1/4” overlay hinges to get a frameless look to a face frame cabinet.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

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