How to Take Apart a Hinge

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A typical home contains many hinges, and these are occasionally disassembled for maintenance, improved access, or repair.


The most common types of hinges are door hinges, cabinet hinges and piano hinges. While not all hinges can be taken apart, you can easily disassemble door and cabinet hinges. Removal of cabinet hinges will simplify painting and refinishing, while disassembling a door hinge can aid in moving large items through a doorway..


Piano and other pressed hinges are the small hinges found on small items such as jewelry boxes, and, because the hinge pins are press-fit into place, are not designed to disassemble.

Things You'll Need

  • Hammer
  • Nail punch
  • Screwdrivers
  • Assistant (for heavier doors)
  • Identify the type of hinge you wish to disassemble.

    A door hinge consists of a pin mounted through the center of interconnected flanges. The pin will have a knob at the top.

    A cabinet hinge will be partially recessed into the cabinet woodwork, and will have a set screw holding it together.

    Piano and press fit hinges are found in many applications. The center pin is flared at each end to hold it in place. These hinges can not be taken apart.

    See Resources for examples of each hinge type. Proceed to step two for a cabinet hinge, or step four for a door hinge.

  • Loosen the screw on each hinge. You can remove it if needed, but this is typically not required.

  • Pull on the door in the direction away from the cabinet. The hinge should slide apart with minimal effort.

  • Place your nail punch at the bottom of the door hinge, and tap with a hammer to drive the hinge pin upward. If the door has been in place for a long time, or has paint on the hinge, this may require a slightly harder hammer blow. Loosen all hinge pins prior to removing any of them.

  • Instruct your assistant to hold the door in place. Remove all the pins by hammering either the nail punch from the bottom of the hinge, or a screwdriver under the head of the pin.

  • Support the weight of the door, and slide it sideways to disassemble the hinge. Remove the door so that one hinge never supports its entire weight, as this might bend the hinge.

Tips & Warnings

  • These are only broad categories of hinges. You may well find cabinet hinges with pressed pins that can not be disassembled.
  • Lubricate hinges with a dry lubricant before reassembly
  • If your door hinge has the pin on the exterior (where anyone could remove it), there is likely a screw holding the pin in place that can only be accessed with the door open. Remove this screw first..

References

  • "Housemending; Home Repair for the Rest of Us;" Dale McCormick; 1987
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