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Betterfly Hinge

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If you are under 35, have never tried to hang a door, or have any sort of a life, stop reading now.

OK, so you're a boring fart who has hung doors. Perfect. Read on.

I have hung many doors (mostly internal), and it is always a pain in the arse, when using conventional hinges. Here's the process I go through:

1) Hold the hinges up to the doorframe, and draw around them.

2) Cut the rebate for each hinge. There's a special tool you can buy for this, but it's hideously expensive and nobody has one. So, you use a hammer and a (probably slightly blunt) chisel, and try to carve out each rebate to the correct depth (equal to the thickness of the leaf of the hinge) and size. Probably you make a bit of a hash of it, and it's not of uniform depth and has slightly wobbly, untidy edges.

3) You hold the hinge up again, into the rebate, and mark the screw holes.

4) You drill pilot holes in the frame for the three (or four) screws. Because the rebate isn't very even, and because drill bits tend to wander, and because you didn't bother to centre-punch the holes first, the drill probably wanders a millimetre or so, meaning that the holes aren't quite in the right places, but close enough.

5) You now screw the hinge to the frame. But, because the rebate isn't very perfect, you have to slip in some old bits of cardboard to get a good flat fit (or else you tighten the screws into the uneven rebate and bend the hinge). Where one of the pilot holes is too far out, you widen it with the drill, pack it with some matchsticks, and then proceed.

6) You now remember that you have to rebate the hinges into the door as well.

7) You remove one hinge from the doorframe, and use it to mark the rebates on the door itself. You try to get it in the right position (to line up with the frame), by either measuring accurately or by holding the door up to the frame to get the correct height for the hinges, allowing the necessary clearance at the bottom edge of the door.

8) You likewise hack out the rebates and drill the pilot holes in the door edge.

9) You re-fit the first hinge to the frame

10) You now try to hold the door in position (open), clear of the ground, while you screw the hinges to the door. Again, some holes aren't quite right, and one of the hinges is a quarter inch too high, so you spend another half hour putting that right.

11) Repeat step 10 as necessary.

12) The door is hung.

All of this will take a professional maybe 20-30minutes. A good DIYer will take 45-90 minutes to get it right.

This is all wrong!!!!!

=======The BetterFly Hinge=======

OK, we're going to make a new type of hinge.

To explain it, imagine a normal door hinge on the table in front of you, opened out. It looks like a butterfly, but with only one rectangular wing on each side (the hingey bit is the body, right?).

First, we cut away some metal from each wing. We leave (on each wing) two circles, overlapping slightly in the middle. So now, each "wing" looks a bit like a filled-in figure 8. The complete hinge looks like this:

8|8

where "|" is the actual hinge, and the "8"s are the two leaves. (Obviously, the "8"s also overlap the central body a little bit.)

OK so far?

Now, we turn over the edges around each wing, to give a slight (maybe 1mm) "lip" all the way around. This can be done as part of the stamping process when the hinge is being made. The "lip" is also quite thin and quite sharp. It faces outward, when the hinge is closed.

Yes?

We also now punch and countersink a single screw-hole in the middle of each of the four circles (two holes for each leaf - yes, only two). We also raise a small "lip" around the edge of these holes, the same as the "lip" around the outside edges.

We now have a Betterfly Hinge.

=====Installation=======

Here we go.

1) Open out one Betterfly Hinge, and hold it up to the frame in the correct position. The "lips" around the edge of the 8-shaped leaf (and around the two holes) are pressed against the frame.

2) Tap with a hammer. The "lips" bite into the frame.

3) Remove the hinge.

4) The lips have marked the outline of the rebate, and also the position for the two screws.

5) Throw chisel away. Instead, get a spade-bit for your drill, one inch in diameter (a "spade bit" is shaped like a handle-less spade, but also has a spike protruding from the middle of the leading edge).

6) Set the point of the spade bit in the middle of the small ring (made by the hinge) which marks the screw position.

7) Drill briefly. The spade bit will cut the circular rebate, and the central spike of the spade bit will drill the pilot hole for the screw at the same time. If you're using long screws or have a hardwood frame, this pilot hole can be deepened using a normal drill.

8) Repeat for the other circular part of the hinge rebate.

9) Repeat for the other hinge.

10) Fit both hinges to the frame. The rebates will be perfect, and the screw holes will be in exactly the right places. What's better, the "lip" on the hinge leaf will now bite into the wood (below the level of the rebate) as you tighten the screws, giving additional grip (hence, only two screws needed).

11) Offer up the door, wedging it off the ground to give the correct clearance, with the door in the closed position.

12) Put a bolster chisel or similar between the frame and the "opening" edge of the door, and lever the door to push it hard onto the hinges.

13) Remove door. The "lips" on the door-halves of each hinge have now cut into the door edge, marking the exact positions of each hinge on the door.

14) Drill the door, as for the frame.

15) Offer up the door, screw the door-side of the hinges to the frame. Again, the "lips" will bite in to give extra grip.

Job done, perfectly.

=========SUMMARY=========

The advantages of the Betterfly Hinge are that:
a) It's self-marking on both the frame and door

b) The rebates and pilot holes can be cut simultaneously with a spade-bit, rather than chiselling and hoping for the best

====PHEW======

And yes, I know I've written more steps for the Betterfly Hinge than for the normal hinge. But it's still a lot easier.

And yes, I know everyone will tell me I'm doing it all wrong.

MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 09 2010

Here's a version with three holes, specially for WcW http://s923.photobu.../Betterfly%20Hinge/
[MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 10 2010]

[link]






       I like it! (weirdly, my new Digital TV box doesn't pick up the Max-B Shopping Channel)
hippo, Sep 09 2010
  

       I like things which incorporate their own tools, so a generalised bun for you, MB.   

       A few issues requre refinement:   

       1) The DIYer still has to locate the spade bit accurately in the centre of a marked ring. The error resulting from inaccurate drilling now extends to the rebate as well as the hole.   

       2) The sharp edges will cut into the wood when the hinge is installed, creating weak lines from which cracks will propogate.   

       3) Reducing the number of screws to 2 would require the use of larger screws (for the same strength) with increased chances of splitting the wood.   

       I've hung a few doors using this procedure:   

       First and foremost, learn to sharpen chisels!   

       1) Use double sided tape or contact adhesive to stick the hinges to the door in the desired locations.   

       2) Use the hinge as a template to drill pilot holes, then use your SHARP chisel to cut round the hinge.   

       3) Remove the hinge and cut out the rebate. If you need a hammer, your chisel's blunt.   

       4) Screw the hinges to the door.   

       5) Prop the door on packers to get the right height and introduce it to the frame in the open position.   

       6) Tape/glue the hinges to the frame and repeat the drill & rebate process.   

       7) Screw hinges to frame and switch to 'smug mode'.
Twizz, Sep 09 2010
  

       [marked-for-future-reference] I've got DIY duties coming up next year - need to remember this.   

       Anyone got any tips on running network cables through a house?
zen_tom, Sep 09 2010
  

       I'm going retro! Also, keen to have the facility to connect otherwise dumb appliances to home network (sofa, fridge, lamp etc) with minimum efforts. Anyway, back to the hinges!
zen_tom, Sep 09 2010
  

       Like it, but add a punch out section to each hole with a centered spike. Once the alignment step (2) is done, simply pry out the spike and you've got an exact alignment for the spade bit.
MechE, Sep 09 2010
  

       //If you are under 35, have never tried to hang a door, or have any sort of a life, stop reading now.//   

       I sneak in under the bar in each of these categories! {Well, the first two, anyway}
Jinbish, Sep 09 2010
  

       [zen] I did my Cat5 cabling last weekend, but, as I've already got lots of cables tacked to the outside of my house (TV aerial and phone, mostly), I ran the Cat5 cable outside too, and drilled 6mm holes in the window frames to bring it inside. Not very neat, but it works. I now have an RJ45 crimping tool, about 20 RJ45 plugs and about 30m of cable left over.
hippo, Sep 09 2010
  

       // A few issues requre refinement:   

       1) The DIYer still has to locate the spade bit accurately in the centre of a marked ring. The error resulting from inaccurate drilling now extends to the rebate as well as the hole. //   

       Good point. (But don't forget, the "ring" in question here is only the diameter of the final screw hole, not the larger ring at the border of the rebate). MechE's solution is better.   

         

       // 2) The sharp edges will cut into the wood when the hinge is installed, creating weak lines from which cracks will propogate.//   

       Part of the reason for having the sharp edges (as well as marking) is to give extra bite! I don't think a 1mm-deep narrow cut in the wood will act as a crack-starter.   

       // 3) Reducing the number of screws to 2 would require the use of larger screws (for the same strength) with increased chances of splitting the wood. //   

       Aha, but that's why we have the sharp edges! Their bite grips the wood against sliding (not against pull, admittedly). If you're nervous, you can have two holes in each "circle" (4 per hinge-leaf).   

       Most of my internal doors are either missing one screw here or there, or else one screw is driven into matchsticks/thin air because of the errors which arise with conventional hinges.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 09 2010
  

       Wood has very limited issues with crack propogation, and cutting into it shallowly won't tend to produce them.
MechE, Sep 09 2010
  

       //Anyone got any tips on running network cables through a house?//   

       I've never done any real, proper DIY (damn landlords) - but don't forget the possibility of running cable under the floorboards...
Jinbish, Sep 09 2010
  

       Thanks, Mech.   

       Yes, wood has some of the best crack-stopping mechanisms of any material.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 09 2010
  

       mortising for hinges is a bitch. I'm tempted to propose that the frame side of the hinge be mounted on the surface of the frame with the additional mortise taken out of the door at the factory. I'd also be worried about the strength of your design. When one piece of hardware comes loose the whole unit begins to pivot around the center of the other piece. Good practice requires at least three points (non linear) for a robust mounting against pivoting stresses. Round mounts would need to have the same diagonal reach (distance from hardware to load bearing edge) as their rectangular equivalents and would not be taking best advantage of the material properties of the wood grain.
WcW, Sep 10 2010
  

       Wires can be routed behind baseboards and other decorative mouldings that can be set in the corners of adjacent walls.
rcarty, Sep 10 2010
  

       //propose that the frame side of the hinge be mounted on the surface of the frame with the additional mortise taken out of the door at the factory.//   

       That's not a bad idea! I guess there's no reason why conventional hinges couldn't be mounted that way.   

       //worried about the strength of your design.// I don't think that's an issue. The hinge leaves are always thicker than necessary, simply because the thickness of metal is needed in the central hingey part, and the leaves are continuous with that central part. Also, we have the "bite" of the lips into the wood, giving excellent resistance to shear (ie, sliding) forces against the screws. And, as noted, you can have two screws per "circle" (4 per leaf) if needs be, to resist forces orthogonal to the leaf.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 10 2010
  

       Will there be a Moth range for smaller doors? +
xenzag, Sep 10 2010
  

       I have hung my share (and probably yours, too) of both inside and outside doors, and yes, they are a pain in the ass. I prefer a router for the "rebate" but the process is pretty much as you describe. Your hinge seems to this baker to be an elegant improvement that should be appreciated by DIY'ers. Bun [+].
Grogster, Sep 10 2010
  

       I've sketched a version with three holes, for those who think they're needed. This has three overlapping circles on each wing, but works in the same way (self-marking; rebated with a spade bit - in this case thricely). Linky.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 10 2010
  

       I like this better, you are still going to get a more robust mounting if the holes are in an arc (triangle). This would look like the profile of three fingered brass knuckles which (imho) would make a better trade name. Call it the Mobco Brass Knuckle Hinge and sell it to Restoration Hardware (tm).
WcW, Sep 10 2010
  

       Yes, I see your point now. And yes, it would be possible to offset the three (or two) "lobes" by a reasonable amount (but more of a pain to draw).
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 10 2010
  

       Added a drawing of a version with offset holes. (same link)
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 10 2010
  

       [+] knuckleduster hinge.
FlyingToaster, Sep 10 2010
  

       //Anyone got any tips on running network cables through a house?//   

       The RJ-45 connector was named for the size bullet hole it will fit through.
lurch, Sep 10 2010
  

       Hmmm. Knuckelduster hinge sounds good. I am imagining millions of DIYers and tradesmen saying "..and pick me up six pairs of number-3 knuckleduster hinges."
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 10 2010
  

       Instead of using a sharp rim, use a serrated one. It will bite in better, and resist rotation.
Custardguts, Sep 10 2010
  

       Good point!   

       (But about rotation - even with a continuous lip, the hinge can only rotate if it pulls out sufficiently that only one of the two [or three] circular lobes remains embedded.)
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 11 2010
  

       //it would be possible to offset the three (or two) "lobes" by a reasonable amount//   

       3: If your screws form a line (and having 2 lobes will form a line), then day-to-day use will loosen them along that line... ie: fasten the thing to the door or frame as a plane (requires at least 3 screws), not as a line.
FlyingToaster, Sep 11 2010
  

       Agreed (see drawing for three out-of-line holes). However, I would reiterate that I seldom have large animals swinging from my doors. Many of those in my house have only two of their three screws. The doors are quite heavy (solid wood, though not glazed, which would be heavier), and have been happily opening and closing for between 10 and 130 years.   

       So, yes, point taken and valid although no, I don't think two holes in practice is usually an issue.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 11 2010
  

       [+] "Pros" have some extendable contraption used with a router: I like this better.
FlyingToaster, Sep 11 2010
  

       The thing about the router route is that (a) it's best done with a specialist tool, which is expensive and which a DIYer will not often need and/or (b) you spend more time setting up the router and tool than you do using it.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 11 2010
  

       Yep, that works. You can also use cooked pasta (lasagne is particularly effective), which is easily trimmed away, and which dries nice and hard.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 11 2010
  

       What strikes me about this idea is how pretty the hinges would be. They could be cast with a lot of detail. +
nomocrow, Sep 11 2010
  

       Thanks! (I think they'd probably be made by stamping, but could still be ornated.)
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 11 2010
  

       For the longer hinges (piano) it's going to look like a string of pearls with many small holes to drill. Still, since those holes need drilling for the screws, a great idea that expands all the way to holding the foldy bits onto overweight instruments!
saedi, Sep 12 2010
  

       Piano hinges aren't generally rebated but yes, the idea of a "lip" that marks the screw holes would still apply and be useful, as would the grippiness of the lip.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 12 2010
  

       Fantastic idea! I would buy these hinges. And if I ever need to hang a door (which I might in a few days) and these aren't on the market yet, I might try making them.   

       While it should add grip, the lip around the edge is not needed for marking if you're using a spade bit, right?   

       // 3: If your screws form a line (and having 2 lobes will form a line), then day-to-day use will loosen them along that line... ie: fasten the thing to the door or frame as a plane (requires at least 3 screws), not as a line. //   

       Not when that torque is relieved by there being a hinge right next to them.
notexactly, Aug 28 2016
  

       For the more intricate, Sierpinski betterfly hinges that come with a reducing set of spade bits and magnifying glass.
wjt, Aug 29 2016
  

       That would be ideal for attaching the lid on your Schrödinger cat box.
8th of 7, Aug 29 2016
  
      
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