Graphical Construction Glossary >> Doors. >> Door Locks >> Blum Cabinet Hinges

Blum Cabinet Hinges
Spring loaded hinges, that are designed for cabinet doors to frameless cabinets or full access cabinets. Also known as European Hinges or Euro Cup Hinges.

These cabinet door hinges are to me the essence of European design. Julius Blum founded his company in 1952 at the town of Höchst, Vorarlberg in Austria. It has now spread around the world becoming the leader in cabinet hardware products . To my mind these spring loaded hinges drove a whole new way of thinking about building cabinets.

blum cabinet hinges
Blum Cabinet Hinges : A modern concealed European cabinet hinge. 110 degree opening angle.
Image provided by Blum Australia Pty. Ltd.
Note! I have, along with most of my contemporaries always used the phrase "Blum Hinges" in much the same way as in the early days of ball point pens we all called them "Biros". Blum were the the first to popularise this type of hinge, and unlike Biro which seems to have been swamped by the opposition, Blum continues to go from strength to strength and innovation to innovation.

Cabinet design took a huge leap forward when board manufacturers started making cheap pre-finished melamine faced board at 16mm and 19mm thickness's and at the same time Blum developed hinges and other hardware to work effectively with the new boards.

  1. The problem at that time was that the MDF panels used for the doors were fairly heavy but at the same time the material did not take screws as firmly as solid timber.
  2. The brilliance of these designs is the use of the hinge cup, which secures the hinge to the door so that the weight is not all taken by screws, and also it gives room for the hinge mechanism.
  3. This allows the fixing of the hinge to be at the back of the door to give what is known as a Concealed Hinges.
  4. The hole to recieve the hinge is made with Forstner Bits which allows the drilling of very precise and neat holes for the hinge cups.

From the point of view of the end users the new cabinets had many advantages over the traditional ones that came before.

  • They just looked modern. That is in the same way that flush doors replaced panelled doors to the main house, so the flush and smooth faced laminate panels with all their options of colour and texture replaced framed cabinet doors.
  • The hinges were concealed. No sign of the hinge can be seen when the door is closed.
  • The hinges are spring loaded to close the door at a certain point so that there in no need for the irritating cupboard catches that we used to have to put up with.
  • Modern cabinets are easy to clean. Easy to wipe down the faces of the doors. In the event of a spring clean of the insides then the doors can be easily lifted off and placed at one side to make the whole job easier. Working on plumbing and electrical fittings inside cabinets is also made a lot easier by this facility.
  • The ability of the new hinges to allow simple flat panel doors to fit over the face of the cabinet means that the carcase of the cabinet can be made out of a basic white board that is very cheap. The outside panels and the doors only need to be made out of the more expensive boards with special colour or texture options.
155 degree blum cabinet hinge
Blum Cabinet Hinges : A 155 degree opening hinge that allows the opening of drawers inside the cabinet.
Image provided by Blum Australia Pty. Ltd.

The cabinetmakers also found that using flat panels and the new hardware simplified their job. In fact it has created a new breed of cabinetmaker who has little knowledge of traditional joinery work.

  • Initially they had to make the investment in machinery such as panel saws and edge banders to use the new boards but the outlay meant huge labour savings in the long run.
  • The doors could be made quickly and the hinges are simple to fix. Just one hole for each hinge drilled with a small machine like a drill press using a flat 35mm Forstner bit and the rest is just screws and a screwdriver gun.
  • The doors may be pre-fitted at the cabinet shop, then quickly taken off before the cabinets are delivered to site.
  • The cabinets are easy to fix and then the doors and drawers can be fitted quickly.
  • Final adjustments to the fit of the doors are easy with the adjusting screws that are built into the hinges themselves.
angled cabinet and glass door
Blum Cabinet Hinges : On the left there is an image of a hinge to suit an angled cabinet. On the right is one that can handle glass doors.
Image provided by Blum Australia Pty. Ltd.

All of the above points contribute to the modern European style cabinets being nicer looking with a huge amount of choices for the home owner. They are more convenient and easier to use with more space and storage options than ever before. At the same time they are cheaper and more cost effective that old style framed cabinets.

Regarding the cost. Our options as far as household cabinets go are increasing daily. We can now wander around our hardware stores and even shop on line for flat pack cabinet systems. The new hardware, including Blum cabinet hinges, has made it possible for manufacturers to produce good quality cabinets of all types that can be delivered to a home in flat packs. They can then be assembled and fixed on site by anyone who can handle a few basic tools.

All of this is due in no small part the the efforts of the Blum group of companies keeping cabinet hardware ahead of the developments in the cabinet making industry as a whole. More Blum hinges and details on the next page.

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"What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience?
Adam Smith 1723-1790

"When we build, let us think that we build for ever."John Ruskin 1819-1900

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