A reader's Woodwork question: Hinge bound doors?

Jeff   from   Canada   had this Hinge bound doors question.

I am trying to fix a set of double french doors with a transom (installed by others). The doors will not stay closed....The doors are "hinge sprung" . What do i do to correct this problem?
Thank You Jeff

Bill's answer

This happens all the time, you have only to be a small bit out and the door is "hinge" sprung as you say. We use the term "hinge bound".
That is the door is binding at the hinge. It is a pain to fix as the adjustments needed are usually so small.
I've seen doors that only do it in the wet season, the humidity swells them just enough to do the trick.
If you have to move your screws a touch, maybe plug the hole with a sliver of softwood and the pre drill a fine starter hole. Otherwise the screws want to run back into the same holes.

hinge bound on the door stop
Hinge bound doors - Hinges bound on the door stop
Hinges not set deep enough
Hinge bound doors - Hinges not set deep enough
  • There should be an even gap between the door stop and the inner face of the door. I like seeing say 3mm gap all around the face of a door and say 2mm at the door stop or rebate.
  • I also like to slightly bevel the edge of the door inwards a touch to give extra clearance.
  • The closing edge should also be beveled in slightly to give clearance to the inside edge.
  • You can usually see whether it is just one hinge, or the door itself that is binding.
  • If you can't find where the door is binding, open the door and hold a sheet of paper in various places in the joint.
  • Sooner or later when the door is closed on the paper it gets trapped. You can't pull it out. That's where your problem is.
  • There should be an even gap between the door stop and the inner face of the door.
  • If it is tight, with a solid rebate, you have to move the door out slightly, that is take the door off and maybe plug the screw holes then fix it further out.
  • If you have enough room, move the hinge(s) in on the door itself, otherwise move the hinge(s) out on the door jamb and fill the gap created.
  • If the frame has nailed on door stops, lift off the stops and move it slightly out.
  • One or both of the hinge leaves may not set in enough. If so check them in a bit more.
  • Maybe the screw heads are put in on an angle, or they are the too thick a gauge, they should fit neatly into the hinge and not stick out. It only needs a little bit to cause a problem.
  • Another option is that the edge of the door is not square, or even beveled in the wrong way.

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