Piano Hinges | Continuous Hinges

Piano hinges are special types of hinges used where a pivotal movement is necessary. What makes them different from all other hinges is that they run across the full length of the shutter that rotates. That is why these hinges are also called as continuous hinges.

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If you check a local hardware store or even online stores you'll find piano hinges are available in 8 feet length with both leaves rotating in about 270 degrees. You can use these hinges where strength is a major requirement. Here are some places where people use these types of hinges for stability and smooth action.

  • Pet house doors (doghouses/hen houses)
  • Piano lids shutters
  • Study tables with storage
  • Portable dining table
  • Kitchen cabinet shutters
  • Portable boat seats
  • Farm and shed doors (heavy duty hinges are used)
  • Replacing broken plastic hinges with these

If you are looking for these hinges for your next hardware or woodworking project then here are some important aspects to consider before you make a final decision and buy them.

1) Before you buy these hinges the most important point to consider is it's location or where you'll be fitting them. The location of the hinges matters because of following reasons.

  • Is the hinge going to be exposed to external climate?
  • Is the hinge going to be visible?
  • Is the unit where the hinge is being fixed will be abused by rough use (by kids)

Answering these questions will make your choice a lot faster and easier because these points decide a lot of factors about hinges like their material, dimensions and how much money you want to spend on the quantity.

2) pay close attention to material of your hinge because picking up the wring one will affect it's longevity. If you want the hinge to keep on giving smooth operation for years to come then consider all the points mentioned above and go for it. Here are some commonly found materials for continuous hinges.

  • Stainless Steel - Two commonly used types of SS are 304/316. The 316 is better corrosive resistant as compared to 304 stainless steel.
  • Aluminum - There are two types of aluminum used for manufacturing piano hinges, 5052/ 3003. Amongst these two types the 3003 can hold on to less strength as compared to 5052 aluminum, stainless steel or even steel, but is more likely to resist corrosion. If your hinge fitting is going to exposed to external climatic conditions then aluminum 3003 can be a good choice.
  • Electro galvanized
  • Brass or brass finished
  • Nickel pre-plated finish.

All these materials have their own advantages and features when it comes to external finish, corrosion resistance, durability, strength carrying capacity and even price. Pick your material carefully for your hinge, especially if youíre going to buy in bulk.

Material plays another major role while picking up your continuous hinge. Let's say you want to fix your hinge for a kitchen cabinet but the dimensions available in the hardware shops requires you to cut the hinges and then install it. In such cases material will play a major role because you'll need to cut the hinges with a grinder with a metal cutting blade without sacrificing it's pivotal movement as well as strength.

3) While buying your piano hinges make sure to check two things.

  • Do the hinges you are buying have holes present on the leaves? Hinges without holes are also available for some materials. If you do not have the skills or tools to make holes in your home then better buy hinges with holes. Making holes requires special skills and hardware tools to make them work.
  • Does your purchase come with screws? This is very important and many buyers simply assume that you'll receive screws when you buy hinges. If you have purchase hinges with holes then make 100% sure to buy screws of the correct size and numbers. If you are not 100% sure if your purchase comes with screws, then ask. Not every manufacturer will provide screws as a part of standard purchase; you'll need to buy them separately.

4) Apart from checking your hinges for holes, there are certain other paramagnets that will play an important role in easy operation of your furniture unit once you fix it. Here are some important dimensions of the hinges that you must look for on the product catalog.



Piano hinge


As a sample here are some of the dimensions you'll find mentioned about the piano hinges.

  • Material - Stainless steel 304
  • With holes
  • Finished
  • Leaf thickness = 0.06"
  • Open width = 1-1/2"
  • Pin diameter = 1/8"
  • Knuckle length = 1/2"
  • Total length = 8'
  • Angle of rotation = 270 degrees

All these dimensions have their own importance in a woodworking project. The place where you want to install your hinges must accommodate these dimensions and still allow a smooth movement so that your furniture unit keeps on giving you good service for years to come. 

Many times you'll need to cut the original piece to fit into the position you are looking for. if that is the case, make sure your are into position to make these changes yourself, using proper tools and safety guidelines.

5) When you buy hinges online from places like amazon.com, make sure that you receive them secured and packed properly and are not damaged during shipping. Many times it's possible that that the surface of the hinge leaf is bent during transit and you canít make it fix on the horizontal surface. That is why while buying from online stores check their product return policy. 

Another important point to consider is if you can cut the hinge into pieces without disturbing it's rotation and strength. This is a very important point because manufacturers produce these hinges in bulk of a fixed dimensions and standard market norms. 

However your design requirements are going to be different and of varied styles which will make you force to cut the hardware material like hinges as per your requirements. That is why before you buy them in bulk make 100% sure that you'll be able to modify them by cutting and still get the best operation when they are installed.

Some popular brands and manufacturers of piano hinges are

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