Adjusting the Hinges
To hang the door, first split the top hinge. If the existing
hinge-screw holes don’t line up with the new hinges, use
the top hinge leaf to drill pilot holes for all three hinges,
then attach the leaf to the top mortise on the jamb. Lift the
door onto the top leaf and drive in the hinge pin, then swing
the door open and hold it still with one foot while driving a
hinge screw into the middle and bottom hinges (Figure
6. To hang the door, split the top hinge and
attach one leaf to the door and the other to the
jamb, then lift the door onto the hinge and drive
the pin. To ensure proper alignment, first attach
the middle and lower hinges to the door, then screw
them to the jamb.
Attaching the lower hinges to the jamb while they’re
on the door ensures that they’ll be aligned
If a door is scribed carefully and beveled correctly, it
will usually fit the first time up. If it doesn’t fit
just right, small hinge adjustments will probably correct the
problem. But I always adjust the hinges before installing the
lock strike, because the position of the strike might
The secret to adjusting hinges is to imagine the door and
the jamb as a rectangle within a rectangle (). If the
rectangles aren’t parallel, one of them — the door
— has to be rotated.
Spreading hinges. When
the head gap is too tight or the top of the door rubs the head
jamb, the gap at the top of the lock stile is usually too big.
The quickest remedy is to bend and spread the top hinge, which
rotates the door down.
To bend and spread the top hinge, open the door enough to
slip the head of a nail set between the leaves of the hinge,
then pull the door closed and gently squeeze the hinge (Figure
8. To rotate the door away from the hinge
jamb, spread the top or bottom hinge by gently
closing the door while holding a nail set between
the leaves of the hinge (top). To pull the door
toward the hinge jamb, bend the knuckles of the
hinge one at a time toward the jamb using a
crescent wrench (bottom).
Don’t pull too hard or the hinge screws might rip out.
Bend the hinge a little at a time and check the fit each
If the head gap is too big at the lock side, bend and spread
the bottom hinge to rotate the door upward.