How to Build Modular, Contemporary Built-ins

Installing Hardware and Finishing Step 1

The doors are attached with European-style, self-closing, concealed hinges. Use a drill press with a 1-3/8-inch-diameter Forstner bit to bore holes 2 inches from the top and bottom of the door. Typically the holes should be 1/2 inch deep and 3/32 inch from the door edge, but check the hinge manufacturer's instruction sheet.

Step 2

Place each hinge in its hole. Check that the hinge arms are 90 degrees to the door edge. The manufacturer's instructions will tell you the drill bit size (usually 3/32-inch) you need to drill holes to fasten the hinge. The instructions will also tell you where to locate screws to fasten the hinge to the inside of the cabinet.

Step 3

Drill holes in the doors for pull or knob screws. Remove the hinges. Apply finish to the inside and fronts of the cabinets. Also finish the outside of any sides that will be exposed and both sides of the walls.

Place Handles at Convenient Heights

You'll probably want to place your handles or knobs about 2 inches from the door edge. For convenience and good looks in a three-tier configuration, place the handle or knob about 3 inches from the top of the door for the lowest tier, center it for the middle tier and place it about 3 inches from the bottom of the top-tier doors.

European-Style Hinges: Make Sure You Get What You Need

The streamlined look of doors that fully overlap the face of a cabinet built without face frames first became popular in Europe. European-style hinges were designed for this type of cabinet.

All European-style hinges close into a cup fitted into a hole on the inside of the door, so they are completely hidden when the door is closed. Usually, the hole is 1-3/8 inches in diameter; European-made versions usually state this size as 35 millimeters. They are self-closing, so there's no need for a latch. They are all adjustable up and down and side to side after installation. More expensive ones can also be adjusted in and out.

Some European-style hinges have a separate piece that mounts inside the cabinet; others are one piece. Check the hinges before you buy them; some hinges sold as European style are designed to fit on the front or side of a face frame and won't work on frameless cabinets.

Forstner Bit: A Special Bit for Flat-Bottomed Holes

Forstner bits are designed to drill large holes with a cleanly cut circumference and a flat bottom -- just what you need to drill cup holes for European-style hinges. The bits have a short pointed spur in the center to allow you to exactly locate the center of the hole and to keep the bit on track as it starts cutting.

What If... You Don't Have a Drill Press?

Hinge cup holes must be drilled to exact depth and be square to the surface. You can do this with a template and guide set designed for locating and drilling hinge cup holes. A general-purpose drill guide will help you drill cup holes and will be useful for other drilling tasks.

Continued on page 6:  Installing the Cabinet


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