Door hinges: new vs old

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Old 06-16-18, 03:31 PM
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Door hinges: new vs old

I built a frame for an old door, squared up the door and cut the hinge mortices on the door and frame. Everything lines up just great, the hinges are all flush with the wood or 1/64" or so flush. I've assembled it on my workbench and for some reason the gap at the top hinge is more than the 1/8" all around I was going for. I made sure that hinge is not sticking above the wood at all and the old 1900s hinges that I'm using all seem to have a similar gap. So my questions are:

1. Is there a way to adjust the gap on these old cast iron hinges? I tried clamping them but they are beefy and it doesn't seem like it will work
2. Would it be better to buy new hinges or are these old hinges fine?
3. Is it pointless to try to pre-adjust things before the door frame is fixed to the framing since it's just going to move around too much?

I've never done this job before, so are there any other considerations I'm overlooking?
 
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Old 06-16-18, 09:50 PM
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This guy adjusts the hinges by bending the hinge on the door, but these look like sheet metal hinges and I think mine are cast iron and heavier. Mine don't see to want to bend. Maybe I'm going at how to lessen the gap on the hinge side of the door all the wrong way, I'm new at this so if anyone has suggestions I'd appreciate them.

https://www.finehomebuilding.com/200...-tuning-hinges

I found one door manufacturer suggesting the gap on the hinge side should be 1/16" and the gap on the latch side 1/8". Right now two of my hinges seem to hold the 1/8" gap but the top one is 1/4" and that leaves no room on the latch side of the door. I'm not sure how to fix this. All I can figure is it's the hinge but maybe it's something else I'm not considering. Ideas?
 
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Old 06-17-18, 03:07 PM
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Any of you door hanging hinge experts out have suggestions for me?

I looked over my hinges and have come to two possible solutions. When I pull the pin from my cast iron hinges and remove the gap, the three sets have differently staggered tabs. They won't bend so that's not an option and there also seems to be some amount of slop in these old hinges. Either I could cut the mortise in the jams so the pin side is buried deeper in the wood reduce the gap, but this seems like the wrong thing to do, I'd prefer the hinges be more flush. (unless an expert tells me that's just what you do to make things fit) Or I can buy some better hinges with ball bearings and less slop. I'm leaning towards new hinges but I now have hard to find 4.5"x4.5" square hinge mortises with different hole spacing from modern hinge holes. I guess redrilling holes is the least problematic. Any suggestion where I can go for hinges? The big box places don't stock this size.
 
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Old 06-17-18, 03:36 PM
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Number one, is the hinge side jamb *perfectly* straight? You would have to use a 78" long level to check this. If the jamb is even slightly bowed, it would produce a larger gap between the door and jamb at the top and cause the door to hit as it closes on the latch side. Using a 4' or shorter level is not accurate and will result in some margin of error.

Secondly, as you take the hinges off, lay them on a bench and close them, they will have a gap between them. Doesn't matter what any book or web page says the gap around a door "should be", if you are dealing with old hinges, it is what it is. You could try putting them in a vise to squeeze them(since they could be stretched from years of use) but if that elongates the barrels you are not solving the problem. You can mortise the hinges slightly deeper to compensate if you want, as 1/16" per side "should" result in closing that gap by 1/8". Perhaps the solution is some of both... ensure the hinge jamb is *perfectly* straight, and mortise the hinge or hinges slightly deeper.

Finally, Amazon has various suppliers with 4.5 x 4.5 commercial ball bearing hinges which should be tighter with less slop, but you will not likely have an unlimited choice of finishes. Also keep in mind that most do not have removable hinge pins... you would likely need to make sure the ones you order have removable hinge pins. Here is one example. I believe these are offered in 4 finishes. Go to Amazon and search for "4-1/2" x 4-1/2" Ball Bearing Square Hinge - Removable Pin". Note that some of the results will be hinges with non-removable pins. Caveat emptor... let the buyer beware.
 
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Old 06-17-18, 07:38 PM
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Well, the frame is not installed at this point, so there's going to be some bowing until it's all shimmed and screwed into the opening. I'm trying to get everything as close to complete so there are no surprises when I remove the old door and frame. The frame is made from commercially made jam material with 5 year warranty that are finger joined every foot and the bottom 6 inches is fiberboard, so this material is quite straight. Given the hinges all have slightly different gaps and they are old and cast iron, the only solution for these is to mortise them into the jam a little deeper--I tried to bend then and they won't budge. I'd prefer to adjust the gap of the hinge if possible and keep them flush to the wood. I like the idea of a new bearing-type hinge with removable pins, it would be annoying to install the NRP types, I'll give those hinges some thought

The hinges I have already drilled holes for have this hole arrangement and this design of hinge. I'm thinking this might be the way to go so I don't have to redrill. The brass should be soft enough to bend if needed I would think.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...LCY1BULW&psc=1
 
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Old 06-18-18, 11:44 PM
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The new bearing hinges and slightly deeper mortise on the jams did the trick. It seems like since the top hinge takes most of the tension of the 3 hinges that a simple builder fudge might be to bury the top hinge a little deeper in the jam mortise since that would compensate for the added deflection at the top hinge...just a thought.
 
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