What’s a continuous hinge?

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A continuous hinge, also known as a piano hinge, is a long hinge used in furniture and cabinet making. It spans the entire length of the hinged area and is typically made of light metal with pre-drilled holes. It was originally designed for piano lids and is available in extended lengths, with a small knuckle section for a slim joint space. Heavy-duty versions and plastic options are also available.

A continuous hinge is a long hinge with a large range of motion typically used in furniture and cabinet making. Also known as a piano hinge, the continuous hinge is typically used as a single unit, spanning the entire length of the hinged area of ​​a door or lid. Hinges are supplied in long lengths which can be cut to size and are typically pre-drilled with equally spaced holes along each wing. In most cases, the continuous hinge is constructed from light metal with a fairly light knuckle and pivot section compared to the wings, with heavy examples available when required. The hinges are also available in a selection of plastic materials suitable for fixing with epoxy rather than screws or rivets.

The continuous hinge was initially developed to provide the hinge joint in piano lids, hence its alternate name. To achieve a strong yet unobtrusive joint in this application, the hinge was designed to be lightweight with a small center pin and knuckles which allowed the piano lid to close with very little hinge gap or open fully without marring the appearance of the cabinet. To ensure that the hinge provided sufficient strength for the often heavy lids, it was designed to span the entire length of the lid, secured at regular intervals with wood screws. The hinge was eventually adopted by furniture and furniture manufacturers for a wide variety of low profile applications.

Generally available in extended lengths, sometimes also coming on a roll, the continuous hinge is made of light-weight, plated steel with large lugs in relation to a relatively small pin and knuckle section. In most cases, the hinge pin is little more than a core of heavy gauge wire running along its entire length. When a zipper is needed, the required length is measured and cut with a hacksaw. The hinge is usually pre-drilled with a series of evenly spaced holes along each wing. The holes are usually spaced close together so, during installation, the number of screws or rivets used can be adjusted to suit the application.

The small knuckle section of the continuous hinge allows for excellent range of motion and slim joint spaces. However, they are also available in a heavy-duty version should the need arise. A selection of lightweight plastic or acrylic continuous hinges is also available in a variety of colours. These hinges are often not pre-drilled for fastening with screws or rivets, but rather designed for use with acrylic adhesives.

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