Does Your Business Hinge on Profit? An Overview of Butt Hinges

Hinges. Do you sell them? Do you service them? Do you replace them? Many locksmiths service the leading edge of the door from top to bottom.

When do you determine if a ball bearing hinge is better than a standard hinge. The weight of the door and how frequently the door is used will determine the type of bearing required. Plain bearing hinges are designed for low frequency use of a door of standard weight.

Concealed or ball bearing hinges are designed for use on standard weight doors in medium frequency service. The use of ball-bearing hinges is most common in commercial and industrial settings. The ball-bearing hinge is usually permanently lubricated and is designed for use on heavy exterior doors. Although it is more expensive, any interior or exterior door in a heavy use application can benefit from the use of ball-bearing hinges.


Most hinges are non-handed and can be reversed. With a loose-pin hinge be sure it is installed with the pin inserted from the top of the hinge. If the pin is left upside-down, it may fall out during normal usage causing the door to come partially off the hinges. For some special application hinges they are specified as left-hand or right-hand and cannot be reversed.


The height, width, thickness and weight of the door will determine the correct type, size and style of hinge, and the number of hinges required to properly support the door. The accompanying chart is just one example of some of the basic information needed to help you decide the proper hinge for the job. For complete information on choosing the proper hinge for the job go to your favorite hinge manufacturers catalog or website.


When hinges are installed in a wood door they can be aligned and mortised by hand. This can works fine if you're only doing one door. For the more experienced professional a hinge alignment guide is available to do the job. Manufactured in fixed or adjustable versions, the hinge routing template allows you to attach it to the door edge and quickly rout out the mortise cavities for the hinges.

Available for various types of residential and commercial grade hinges are service tools are used to straighten bent or misaligned hinges. By attaching the tool to the hinge knuckles. Realignment is most often required for the top hinge since that is the point of greatest stress. Occasionally a middle hinge will need adjustment, rarely a bottom hinge.

With the Hinge Doctor, as the door is slightly opened, the tool binds and forces the hinge back into its original position. With the Hinge Tweaker, force is applied through the built-in handle. With either tool, small incremental adjustments are advised. Adjust slightly then recheck operation of the door. The convenience is that you can adjust hinges while they are still on the door and frame.

IMPORTANT: Before making any adjustments, make certain the screws securing the hinge to the door and frame a tight. If any are loose, tighten them. If the hinges are mounted onto a wood door and frame and the holes are enlarged, use a bamboo chopstick or wood dowel to fill the hole and then install the screw.

Keep in mind tweaking the hinge is a quick fix and may not solve the problem entirely. If a hinge is broken or severely bent, replacement is probably the best solution.


Many hinge pins can be removed by tapping them out. When a door is closed and locked, removing the hinge pins may compromise the security of an out-swinging door. With the pin out, the door can be pried open (sheared) on the hinge side and simply removed from its opening.

To prevent removing the hinge pin, some hinges have a Non-Removable Pin (NRP). This pin is either permanently fixed at the factory or may have a setscrew that is reachable only when the hinge is in the open position. The setscrew is tightened down against the hinge pin after installation so that the pin can't be removed when the door is closed.

Another way to add security to an out-swinging door is to add security pins to a standard hinge. These pins replace one screw in one hinge leaf and have an extended head that protrudes into the matching screw hole on the opposite leaf.

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