My cabinet door became damaged as my sister put all her weight on it to pull herself up :-)

Repairing the door is very tricky as these cabinet doors are on the kitchen island and the particle board panels they attach to are very thin (only 6/8 of an inch thick) and in addition, any repair on the outside part will ruin the look of the island. The hinges on the door side are in good order, and the paneling that needs repair is the one on the island piece.

Our handy man attempted a repair putting epoxy glue or something like that and this lasted only a year and has fallen apart once more (pictures show the white glue-like substance attached to the paneling and the hinges).

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Would the technique of toothpicks and carpenter glue work on cabinetry that isn't real wood but particle board?

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  • FYI: 6/8 of an inch = 3/4 of an inch.
    – Tester101
    Apr 23, 2013 at 18:35
  • 1
    It's also 12/16 if you want to go that way. Apr 23, 2013 at 18:56
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    At worst you can relocate the hinges by a few inches. Apr 26, 2013 at 9:30
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    @RedGrittyBrick: Relocating hinges is usually very hard - the part on the door is hidden inside a cylinder hole that needs to be routed and is very hard to do without a router.
    – sharptooth
    Apr 26, 2013 at 12:28
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    @sharptooth: In rightpondia, if you have an ordinary electric drill, a ruler and a pencil, for the equivalent of $10 you can buy a hole-cutter for the purpose. example. Apr 26, 2013 at 15:43

2 Answers 2


Plan A) I'd try to remove the glue, fill the holes†, let it set and then re-drill the holes

Plan B) Use repair plates designed for this job Example

Plan C) If all fails I'd spend $10 on one of these, put it in my old electric drill's chuck and relocate the hinges.

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† Using maybe something like an "Interior Wood Filler that holds screws and nails".

  • Plan A looks promising. I guess epoxy-based compounds would work.
    – sharptooth
    Apr 29, 2013 at 9:42

This is certainly fixable, although not a trivial thing to do.

Option one is trying to use the same holes. You can use plastic concrete anchors that are used to drive screws into concrete. You'll have to drive the anchor into the hole and cut off the remaining part. Then you can drive a wood screw into there and that will secure the hinge. I tried this once. I guess you'll have much better results if you apply glue to the anchor surface and let it dry before proceeding so that the anchor is better held in the panel. The key is you use an expandable anchor - one that expands when a screw is being driven in.

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Now suppose that it doesn't work because the particle panel has incurred much damage and you can't repeat the original assembly. So the solution is to attach the hinges in slightly different way. Here's a drawing for a single hinge (description follows)

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Here 1 is the inner surface of the cabinet, 7 is your hinge - the hinge will go unchanged.

2 is a steel plate - you can get those in a local hardware store, they are typically used to connect the drywall framing parts together, they are typically 2-3 millimeters thick and can have a variety of sizes, you need something like 50 by 50 millimeters or larger so that it fully covers the damaged area and you can drive wood screws 3 and 6 into the cabinet panel to reliably secure the plate. I only show two screws here, but you'd better drive four - one near each corner of the plate - or more.

Then come 4 and 5. Each of them is a plain old threaded screw or bolt in pair with a matching nut. You'll have to pass them through the holes in the hinge that were previously used to attach the hinge (to now wrecked panel) and through holes drilled in the plate and drive a nut from the cabinet surface side. The nuts will likely fit into the holes of the panel, otherwise you'll have to cut some for them.

If the door now closes - great, that was the easy scenario. However you may find that because the plate has some width the door will no longer close. If adjusting the adjustment screws on the hinge (of both doors) doesn't help fix that you'll have to mortise the plate into the panel to compensate for the plate thickness which is not an easy thing to do but can be done using a router (most recommended), a chisel (less recommended, still doable), or a Dremel-like tool (not really recommended).

  • Expanding anchors won't work in particle board at all well. Worse, they are not designed to go into a thin board, which that island wall is.
    – user558
    Apr 26, 2013 at 18:50
  • @woodchips: That's not a big problem. The anchor has to be force-hammered and then it will compact and will hold the screw quite well. So yes, you're right that it won't work the same way as if it would work in concrete, but it will work in another way.
    – sharptooth
    Apr 29, 2013 at 6:17

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