Hinge Choices for Face Frame Cabinets with Full Overlay Doors

A cabinetmaker seeks advice on a simple and versatile hinge system for full overlay doors on face-frame cabinets. December 27, 2008

Up until now, I have done all face frame cabinets using 1 3/4'' rails and stiles with a 1/2'' overlay. I want to start doing a full overlay on face frame cabinets. I prefer to use a two-piece clip top hinge which will give me up to 3/4'' overlay. I build all of my face frames in one piece whenever possible, so that might create a problem when two doors are hinged on one stile. I don't want to use different overlay hinges if possible. I want to use one hinge for everything. Does anyone have a good system with the least amount of complications? I want to maintain about 1/4'' reveal everywhere.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor F:
Use 1 1/4" stiles and rails with a 1/2" overlay clip top hinge. Often I'll use a 2" top rail on uppers and have a 1 3/4" overhang on the top of the upper doors, to give it that frameless look. 2" bottom rail on uppers for that built-in light rail. 1" bottom rail on lowers. I still go with a 1 1/4" stile on finished ends. I tell the customer who's looking at frameless style cabinetry that, if you're going with real wood for a face frame, why not see some of it? You're paying for it. After the kitchen is installed, they're always very happy with it. Over the years they will enjoy their better made cabinetry versus having tape peel off.

From contributor J:
When I do full overlay, I use 1 3/4" stiles/rails and the same hinges that I use for 1/2" overlay. I just change the plate to get 3/4" overlay. That gives you the 1/4" reveal you're looking for between the doors.

From the original questioner:
What about when you have a short cabinet connected to a taller cabinet? I think you will see too much face frame on the outside edge of the tall cabinet below the shorter cabinet. I guess the only way you could get around that would be to make the cabinets in two pieces, and put a full overlay on each one? It seems to get tricky when making multiple cabinets out of one frame.

From contributor D:
The easiest way is to use face frame hinges... I know, the clip-ons are nice, but I tried it for years and finally realized what a fool I had been. The face frame hinges have three way adjustment, and you don't have to futz with blocking out or having sides flush with frames, or using an adapter plate, and there are actually more overlay options (1/4" up to 1 5/8"). Make the switch and make money.

From contributor I:
Something going wrong? If you are doing full overlay cabinets, if you hang the door, there should be no more than a 1/4 reveal on the edges of the doors (hinge side and the bottom and between the drawer front and doors). The idea is to see only doors and drawer fronts, so how do you use 1/2 overlay hinges on material 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 wide? This would leave 1" to 3/4" reveal on the sides of the cabs. When we do full overlay, I use 1 1/2" stile and rails with 1 1/4" overlay hinge. We use Blum's hinge compact 33. Not sure what full overlay means there, but here it means very little cab showing. What you described could be considered some sort of modified overlay...?

From the original questioner:
I understand in typical situations using 1 1/4'' overlay on a 1 1/2'' frame will give you 1/4'' reveal. I want to know what people do about hinging on a middle stile where you have two doors hinged on the same stile. You would either have to use a wider rail or a hinge with 5/8'' overlay (if you are using 1 1/2'' stiles). I build my cabinets in one piece whenever possible, so this issue will come up quite often.

From contributor F:
1 1/4" middle stile with clip top hinges with face frame plates with 1/2" overlay. No problem, stick with 1 1/4" sizes as much as you can, and use the good hinges. Another shop uses 3/4" stiles on finished ends with the same hinge.

From contributor I:
I didn't quite understand that on your first post. I have done what you are talking about on three door cabinets and it works fine. It leaves a quarter inch gap. My doors never rubbed with my stile hinges. Now with clip hinges, not sure. Just take some scrap wood and make a sample. It will tell you what you want to know. Who would build a cab with 3/4" stiles? You just ought to build frameless then.

From contributor G:
Sounds like you know your options. Wider stiles with double doors or different OL hinges. Six of one, half dozen of the other. The decision is yours. We're good with wider stiles but I'm not saying you should. The important thing is to pick one way and stick with it.