Choosing the right hinge for your furniture; Butt hinge vs. European hinge

As a manufacturer with extensive custom capabilities, D&E Industries is often engaged with our clients about specific details on constructing products. Most recently, hinges have been a topic of conversation with a bit of a debate between a commonly recognizable Butt hinge in comparison to the European hinge. While the Butt hinge holds a dominant position in ornate residential cabinetry, the European hinge is always the winner for commercial applications where durability and a concealed aesthetic are the desired result. The debate breaks down along the following lines: Disadvantages of the Butt hinge:
  • To conceal the Butt hinge the edge of the door must have a deep mortise to hide the barrel of the hinge and create a smooth mounting surface for the door. This mortise exposes the wood and structurally weakens the edge of the door
  • Most Butt hinges are non-adjustable. There is no accommodation to adjust the door vertically or horizontally making it impossible for tolerances in cabinetry and in-line doors
  • Structurally, the hinge is left to rely on three short screws placed very close to the edge of the door substrate where the mortise has been applied
  • They do not allow for door replacement as the substrate of the door and cabinet body are weakened by the removal of the screws. This may be mitigated by the expense of screw hole inserts
The European hinge is designed for a concealed application and is substantially stronger, more durable, flexible and engineered for cabinet style doors with an uninterrupted exterior aesthetic. Advantages of the European hinge:
  • They rely on three points of contact on the door; two nylon 10mm treed inserts with screws and a 35mm diameter hole into which the hinge cup is seated. This spreads the stress and load while securing the hinge to the door without weakening the substrate. The cabinet side is designed to distribute load along a backing plate mounted with two screws on the body
  • Offers three axes of adjustment to properly align and/or position doors
    • A – Vertical adjustment, Y-axis
    • B – Horizontal adjustment, X-axis.
    • C  – Door face adjustment, Z-axis.
  • Designed with an offset in the arm to prevent ‘swing out’ from the cabinet body. This prevents doors from interfering with each other when hung in a row; case goods or lockers
  • Constructed in two pieces consisting of an arm with cup and a backing plate, the hinge does not require removal of screws to separate. It is important to note that two options for separation are available; clip-on connection and mechanical connection. The mechanical is the more desired for commercial use to prevent unintended separation
  • Doors are easily replaced if needed without damage to the door or cabinet body
For additional information on the construction of Office furniture and lockers for fitness and leisure environments refer the D&E Industries’ website at For further information about custom solutions for your Office, Club, and Student environments please connect directly with D&E at 800-313-3446.

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