What type of hinge will keep this cabinet door from falling off?
February 21, 2014 8:57 AM   Subscribe

What kind of hinge should I be looking for, for a cabinet door that will open vertically, like an oven door?

I built a cabinet (bottom part cat bathroom*, upper part storage) and I ordered doors for it, not really thinking about how doors balance. I expected them to open on the sides, like a regular cabinet door, but on consideration I think that might distribute the weight wrong. The doors are shaped like this rather than what you'd normally see.

So I would like them to have hinges on the bottom, so they would open in the way a typical oven door opens.

But I don't think you can use a regular hinge for that, and there's the issue of gravity, when you open the thing, if it doesn't naturally 'stop' at a certain point, it will pull on the screws attaching it and eventually wear out and become unstable.

What type of hinges should I look for, and where should I find them? The hinges should look 'nice' -- it's a big piece of 'furniture' and it's in our main bathroom, so I want it to look somewhat respectable. I don't mean they need to be in the shape of swans or anything, but I want to avoid something overly utilitarian.

With regard to weight, I'm not sure, but aside from the positioning they're fairly standard cabinet door size. They were made by an online company that does just this thing. They're Shaker style, maple around the edges, MDF or some such in the middle.

*The cat bathroom part has curtains, not doors. Cat bathroom issues are fully engineered at this point.
posted by A Terrible Llama to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
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For smallish doors, I'd consider what's known as a piano hinge, basically a hinge the length of the cabinet. Otherwise, maybe over-powered standard cabinet hinges that restrict how far down the door can go?
posted by tilde at 9:00 AM on February 21, 2014

Perhaps a secretary desk hinge? Or a butler's tray hinge?
posted by bcwinters at 9:06 AM on February 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

The most robust design would use regular hinges with an open-down lid support (scroll down).

Example photo for clarification.
posted by Behemoth at 9:12 AM on February 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Would one of the curved friction lid supports work ? You'll still use a standard hinge on the door bottom, and use the friction lid to control speed/friction of descent.

(note: depends on how heavy the doors are -- friction lids only work up to a point .. )
posted by k5.user at 9:21 AM on February 21, 2014

The most robust design would use regular hinges with an open-down lid support (scroll down).

Would a regular hinge keep it closed in the vertical position on its own though? My worry with that is that they're designed to stay closed when a door opens from the side with just a little pull needed to open -- worried in my design that pull would come from gravity, so I'd also need a little hook at the top to keep it shut.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 10:36 AM on February 21, 2014

>I'd also need a little hook at the top to keep it shut.

You could also use a magnet on the inside of the door as a hands-free alternative. Even vertically-opening doors often have these, so I expect you'd be able to find them in a hardware shop.
posted by tchemgrrl at 11:24 AM on February 21, 2014

A magnet would work, or a mechanical catch. These bullet catches look nice, or here's something simpler to install. You should be able to find something at your regular hardware store, no need to order.

Depending on the weight of your doors, you might be okay with just some regular self-closing hinges. I often find the springs are stronger than they need to be for a horizontal application, so they might work in vertical too.

Definitely get one of those open-down lid supports, or at least a chain or two.
posted by echo target at 11:55 AM on February 21, 2014

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