Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Door hinges or the case of the mad dollhouser

Right I hold my hands up to being slightly barmy when it comes to this hobby.  My saving grace is that in real life I am not quite so potty. (Not everyone agrees)

I don't like the way that the door kits we buy look when they are inside a house.

They come with a complete frame around them which does a couple of useful things.  It allows the door to be pinned top and bottom so it can open and close.  They act as a door stop so the door doesn't just swing to and fro on both sides of the door opening.  They add stability to the structure as they are a complete frame around the doors.  Why don't I like them?

Firstly they prevent you being able to take the doors out when you paint, stain or varnish them and there is no easy or successful way of getting into the door jamb properly.  With the door out (see earlier post) painting is easy and you get a successful finish.

Secondly, look at the doors in your home...  they do not have a 'shelf' across the bottom.  The 'outside' doors do, as this prevents dirt, draughts, rain and snow (!) entering your house but your interior doors do not have some sort of step across them.

If you saw them off (see photo below) you now don't have any way of opening the door as one pin at the top isn't sufficient to keep it in place.  The simple answer is to saw off the step and then just glue the door in a fixed position in place.  Why do we want them to open?

If we insist on them opening (and I do) they need hinging in some way.  Theoretically you could make a small hole in the floor of your house to drop the bottom pin in (you can still see the pin in place in this photo) but I can't devise a way of getting that hole in just the right place.  Suggestions welcome.  Don't just tell me to measure carefully.  Tried that



after the cut
Instead I am going to add hinges.

I found two of them in my box of 'bits' but they came with 8 stupid screws that clearly were not going to work with door hinges.

round heads on the screws
There is no way this hinge will close with these in it.

flat and they sit in the rebate

I did have two other screws that fit in the rebate nicely, so logically they exist somewhere.  I have ordered some hinges and screws so am wondering what I might get.


You then have to make rebates in the door and the frame for your hinge plates to sit in.  You can't just add them on to the surface of the side of the door and the frame for two reasons.  If they did go in it would leave a big gap (the thickness of the hinge) down the door jamb.  The other reason is they won't go in the small space that's there any way.

right and wrong
You can just see the rebate in the edge of the door if you look carefully - this is correct.  The rebate on the door frame is not!  If like me you are rubbish at 3D visualising, please go and stand in front of a door in your home that opens the way you want yours to in your project and mark up with a pencil where the rebates will go.

side not top

I now have two rebates one on the top - wrong! and one in the side, right!


To make all these I marked out the length of the hinge plate and made two vertical slits with a knife across that mark cutting down into the wood.  I then used the knife like you would if you sharpened a pencil with it - just whittling away a bit at a time until I had cut out what I wanted.

I'll try to remember to show you the finished assembled objects as soon as I get my hinges and can do all the doors.

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