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I'm scheming to reface my kitchen cabinets with sustainable lumber (looking for FSC certified or salvage) and trying to figure out what my options are. Our existing hinges aren't much different from these:

How can I replace a kitchen cabinet hinge with no visible screws?

Which means I really only need to bore the doors for hinges if I get plywood or doors that aren't yet bored.

So is it crazy for a relatively handy person with no woodshop to try to bore those holes at home? Is there a special drill bit for the project?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Yes you can do this.

You need a hinge cutter:

enter image description here

For best effect, use with a drill press if at all possible. You can accurately set the depth of cut and keep it perpendicular to the panel.

As long as the material you are using for the door is thick enough at the location where you need to place the hinge.

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For best effect, use with a drill press if at all possible. You can accurately set the depth of cut and keep it perpendicular to the panel. That tool is specialized to the operation and would be the best, a Forstner bit of the proper size can also be used. – Fiasco Labs Oct 23 '12 at 14:51
@FiascoLabs - Thanks for the reminder, I'll update the answer. – ChrisF Oct 23 '12 at 14:53
Looking up forstner bits ... Seems like the most efficient approach is going to be finding a woodshop. – Amanda Oct 23 '12 at 16:22

You can get specialized cutters for that sort of thing, but you can do it without, all you need is a drill, hammer, and chisel. You drill 4 holes in the corners of the hole you want, at the depth you want, then chisel out the material in between. A workbench would be handy for this but you could do it on floor if you like.

That is a load of work though, so a cutter would be a better choice. Alternatively buy something like a lay on sprung hinge that requires no inset hole:

enter image description here

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Upvoting for DIY ... you're right: sounds like a lot of work. – Amanda Oct 23 '12 at 16:22

You can do this. A drill press is much easier, but not required. If you copy my experience, you can make a little hardwood jig that is drilled-through with that Forstner bit of ChrisF. Then you can clamp the jig to the proper position in the door edge with proper offset and all.

Lay your work on a SOLID bench, or even the floor, and then bore the hole. The bit pictured by ChrisF is nice, because when the back of the bit-face is flush, you have drilled to the proper depth of the door back, and you won't go through either.

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