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cabinet doors falling off hinges

My husband and I bought our house in October, and we decided that the dated kitchen needed an updating. The hardware was (in our opinion) aging the kitchen so we removed the outside mounted H-Hinges and ancient cast iron looking handles, wood puttied the holes, sanded them, painted them, and then re- hung the cabinet doors. The issue is that the wood that the cabinet doors are made of is so soft, when we were putting the screws through, the opposite side would bow out. So we bought shorter screws, and now the doors are falling off. Also- now the holes for the hinges are too large to screw in to. We have no money left, as we also remodeled our family room (if we did we would just buy new doors). Do you have any advice on how to fix this?

A. Spruce
Re: cabinet doors falling off hinges

There are several methods for repairing stripped screw holes. The easiest one is with wooden toothpicks and wood glue. Dip a toothpick into the glue then jamb it into the stripped out hole. Continue until you can't jamb any more toothpicks into the hold. Cut the toothpicks off flush with the surface of the door with a utility knife and allow the glue to fully dry. When it's time to remount the door, predrill the screw hole before installing the screw.

Another method is to drill the hole out to accept a piece of dowel or golf tee. Glue the peg into the hole and cut it off flush with the surface of the door. Predrill the screw holes at mounting time.

Whatever you do to repair the holes, I would recommend going back to the longer screw, but before you install it, grind the tip off a little bit so that it can't pucker the other side. With a predrilled hole you won't need the tip anyway. When you predrill, put a piece of tape around the bit at the correct depth so you don't drill all the way through, yet are deep enough to get the screw to seat well. Size the bit to the shank width of the screw, that is to say the diameter of the screw at the base of the threads, this will give the screw plenty of bite into the wood without being too tight or too loose.

Re: cabinet doors falling off hinges

I agree with Aspruce save for one thing- when I drill pilot holes for woodscrews in soft woods I like to use a bit just slightly smaller than the minor diameter of the screw. That way the entire screw adds to the holding power, which won't happen using an equal-sized drill. Plus few drilled holes are the size of the drill; most will end up slightly larger due to wear on the drill motor, the bit wobbling, or an unsteady hand. By smaller I usually mean 1/64 or 1/32 inch; not a lot smaller- just enough for the shank to fit tighter. And be very careful to not over-tighten them- any strippage and you should begin again.

The rule of thumb for fastener torque is to tighten till it strips, then tighten it a half turn less the next time. Just kidding of course!


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