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Installing Fiche Hinges

Fiche hinges are common on Continental European furniture. We supply French made hinges in a variety of sizes to suit most applications. These hinges consist of two rolled steel tubes capped on opposing ends by decorative tips. One tube carries a fixed pin, the other slips over this pin. The tubes are formed with tangential flaps, the flap on the lower tube projects from one side and on the upper tube the other side.

We have found three techniques that can be used to install these hinges. Firstly the correct method and then two simpler methods.

Traditional Method for Lipped Doors

Traditionally Fiche hinges are used on rabbeted or lipped doors. The flaps are mortised into deep thin mortises and held in place with pins or screws. Cutting these mortises is no easy matter. Chisels exist that are intended to help but the ones I have seen are too thick for smaller cabinet hinges. One method that can make this installation a little easier is to cut pockets into which the flaps seat, after the flap has been screwed into place a wooden plate can be fitted to add some strength and finish (see below).

Fiche hinge used on rabbeted or lipped doorsThis method is easier than the traditional method

Better Method for Inset Doors

Fiche hinges work well on flush (inset) doors

Fiche hinges adapt well to use on flush (inset) doors. The better method for installation is as illustrated. A pocket is cut in the door and the casework to accommodate their respective leaves. Leaves on fiche hinges tend to be fairly wide and depending on the thickness of your door and casework you may need to cut back the leaves and re-drill the screw holes. As with any mortise hinge the depth of the pockets are equal to the result of the following formula.

Hinge barrel diameter minus desired door gap ÷ 2.

The thin leaves of the hinges will sit down a little in their mortises, this space provides clearance for the screw heads.

Quick No-Mortise Method for Inset Doors

This method does not require a mortise

If speed and convenience are of the essence it is possible to use Fiche hinges as no-mortise hinges. In order to make this possible you will need to exchange the top leaf of a right hand hinge with the top leaf of a left hand hinge and similarly interchange the bottom leaves. This exchange places the leaves on the same plane and allows the hinge to slip into the gap between door and frame. Depending on the thickness of wood you are working with the leaves might need cutting back. Either countersink the screw holes or use round headed screws and provide depressions for the heads to seat into when the door closes.

Relevant Products
European Iron Fiche Cabinet Hinges
French Cast Brass Fiche Hinges