How to Fix Broken Kabinart Hinges
Lots of folks had their plastic pieces break in Hettich hinges. Kabinart used them as a hinge supplier for a while, and when the hinges failed, Hettich left Kabinart (and Kabinart's customers) hanging out to dry. Here's how to fix the problem with the Blum hinges that Kabinart offers to it's otherwise out-of-luck customers.
How to Fix Broken Kabinart Hinges
I first wrote about the problem of broken Kabinart hinges here. I have mentioned a couple of times lately that I'm in the process of writing a tutorial about how to fix broken Kabinart hinges. A local kitchen finally popped up that had the hinges in it, and I was able to document the process while I swapped them out. Today, I'm done. Here it is. Step by step. Enjoy…
Do you have the infamous Hettich hinges?
If your doors don't stay closed and your hinges have broken pieces of plastic inside of them, then you've most likely got the hinges. Your first step is to call Kabinart and arrange for replacement hinges to be sent out. You can try the dealer you purchased them from, but I'm hearing from around the country that some dealers are being… difficult. That or the recession cleaned them out and their gone altogether. Save yourself some headache and call Kabinart directly at (615) 833-1961. You need to know when the kitchen was initially purchased. It would be helpful, but doesn't seem necessary as far as I can tell, to know the dealer who sold them.
Figure out how many pairs of hinges you need (actually, you should do this beforehand) and pay the fifty cents a hinge (new ones are normally several dollars apiece) and wait. It should only take a couple of days for the hinges to arrive.
Take out the old Hettich hinges.
This part is pretty easy. Here is a broken hinge. Take the two screws out of either side and pop the hinge out. You can throw everything away. You'll be left with a big hole, and smaller holes to either side filled with plastic plugs. Like this:
Prepare the New Hinges
Here's what you'll get from Kabinart. Before you can use it, you've got to remove the screws and plugs. I've done it for one of them here. Chuck them, as you won't need them either.
The Holes Don't Line Up
This has been the biggest ruckus of swapping out the new hinges for the old ones. The pattern Hettich used was not one anybody else used. Kabinart's advice is to go ahead and screw the hinge in like this. The tip of the new screw will go in between where the wood and plastic plug meet.
I talked with my Kabinart rep, and he said rather than just screw it down, a pilot hole worked better. He said a 1/32" drill bit would suffice, and things would go together without a hitch. I didn't have a bit that small, so I used a slightly bigger one.
I forgot to take a picture of the door before I installed the hinge, so I took the hinge back off and found that both holes have splits. I would recommend what I eventually used, a 7/64" (2.5mm) drill. The second set of holes I drilled in this door did not split when I used the bigger bit, and I think there was still plenty of meat for the screw threads to grab on to.
When you drill the holes, be sure you don't go right through the door. I've used Scotch Tape before to let me know when to stop; this time I just used a Sharpie to mark the bit and stopped drilling when I reached that mark.
Screw the New Hinge In
Now all you've got to do is screw the new hinge into the door with the philips woods screws Kabinart sends along with the new hinges.
That's pretty much it. This one looks a little crooked, but the next one went in fine. I expect the rest will be ok as well. Since these are very adjustable hinges, I'm not too worried.
Let me know if this helped. I'm anxious to hear.