An entertainment center is a piece of cabinetry that houses a television screen and all the accompanying audio and video equipment. It can be built-in or free standing (for example an armoire). For our purposes we are interested in how the doors hinge. This is important because when open, the door must be able to be swung completely out of the way to provide viewing access to the video screen from all angles. The different methods of accomplishing this are discussed below.
Full inset doors are usually installed with small butt hinges that are mortised into the door and edge of the cabinet opening. Doors installed in this manner will open at the most only 180 degrees (less if there is an obstruction between the hinge and the edge of the cabinet). To change your full inset doors so that they open out of the way, you can install Pivot Door Slides or change your doors to articulated doors (see information below).
Cabinet showing full inset doors. Full inset doors will usually open to about 180 degrees if they are not obstructed by molding or hardware.
Pivot Door Slides – A pivot door slide is a sort of combination slide and hinge. It allows the door to open 90 degrees (from the closed position) and then slide or push back in along the inside edge of the cabinet (known as the “pocket”). A cabinet which uses pivot door slides cannot have typical shelving installed inside the cabinet. Instead any electronics (such as stereo, dvd player, vhs, etc) must be held in a box type shelf. This box is open in the front and back and is narrower than the width of the cabinet by 2″ or 2-1/2″ on each side. This 2″ (or 2-1/2″) pocket is the area that the cabinet doors slide into. Pivot door slides work on the following types of doors: Inset Doors (see above), Face Frame Overlay Doors (these are doors which lay on top of the cabinet face frame) , and Non-Face Frame Overlay Doors (these are doors on cabinets which do not have a face frame and the doors lay on top of the cabinet opening). Click here to see our Pivot Door Slides.
The entertainment center on the left has Pivot Door Slides. The entertainment center on the right has “Full Inset” doors.
Full Overlay – When the cabinet door is larger than the cabinet opening then it is an overlay door. When the cabinet door covers the entire front of the cabinet (or is just slightly smaller than the entire front of the cabinet) then it is called a “full overlay” door. When you have a full overlay door on a cabinet without a face frame, you can use our ”270 Degree Hinges“. These hinges allow the door to open a full 270 degrees which allows them to swing all the way around the front of the cabinet and lay flat against the sides of the cabinet. The reason that this works is that the hinge pin of the 270 Degree Hinge lays outside the plane formed by the cabinet sides. If you have an overlay door on a cabinet with a face frame then you can use our 270 Degree Overlay hinge.
Articulated – Another method of getting the cabinet door to swing all the way around the front of the cabinet and lay flat against the side is to “double joint” the door. Each door will be hinged in two sections. The first joint will allow the door to open to about 90 degrees. The second joint will allow the door to hinge around the front corner of the cabinet. Usually a locking mechanism (like a slide bolt installed on the inside of the door at the top and bottom of the door) is used at the second joint. This keeps this joint rigid and allows your door to operate like a normal door until you want to swing it completely out of the way. Click on Full Wrap Hinges or Partial Wrap Hinges to see our hinges that work well for Articulated Cabinet Doors.