What Is a Butt Hinge?

If you’re building your own cabinets or replacing existing hinges, there are endless hinge types to choose from. Although they vary in size and application, there are two main categories: traditional hinges and European hinges. A butt hinge is the most common traditional hinge style—it’s likely that the front door to your home is hung with a butt hinge. It is a sturdy, classic type of hinge that is easy to find at your local hardware store and simple to install. 

What is a butt hinge?

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A butt hinge is a type of surface mount hinge that sits on top of the surface of the door material and does not need to be mortised or recessed to install. They are made of two mounting plates (also called leaves) and a barrel held together by a hinge pin. One of the plates mounts to the side of the cabinet box or door jamb and the other to the side of the door. When the door is closed, only the barrel is visible between the door and frame.

When to use a butt hinge

A butt hinge is a simple, durable, and reliable hinge option suitable for almost any type of door installation like cabinet doors, entry doors, and outside gates. They are also easy to install with no special tools. Here’s when to use a butt hinge over another hinge type:

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Different types of butt hinge

Although butt hinges are most commonly used as a standard door hinge, there are types of butt hinges that offer special features and functions such as self-closing or removable barrel pins. They also come in different finishes like stainless steel, brass, or colored metals and with optional decorative details like a ball tip.

If a butt hinge isn’t the right hinge for your project, there are many other hinge types that can help you get the job done. You can find specialty hinges like pivot hinges (for a door that swings both ways) or a completely concealed barrel hinge (for delicate projects like a handmade jewelry box). There’s a hinge for every type of door imaginable.

MT Copeland offers video-based online classes that give you a foundation in construction fundamentals with real-world applications, like building cabinets. Classes include professionally produced videos taught by practicing craftspeople, and supplementary downloads like quizzes, blueprints, and other materials to help you master the skills. 

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