Introduction: Repairing Stripped Cabinet Hinges

After searching the web, I couldn't find a simple solution to repairing the stripped screws on our crappy particle board cabinets in the kitchen.

Many forums said to use a wood dowel with a hole drilled in, but then you have the potential risk of splitting if you get the grain wrong. Alternatively, many other forums said to use specifically flat toothpicks and wood glue, but that sounded like a huge pain in the butt...and messy on installed cabinets.

I considered Tee nuts, but they were too wide. Then I found the perfect solution...

Step 1: What You'll Need

What you will need:

  • Drill
  • Drill Bits
  • Hex keys, bits or drivers
  • Threaded inserts for wood (I used 6-32 inserts)
  • Screws to match the threaded inserts (I used 6-32x3/8 so the screws wouldn't penetrate the doors)
  • Wood glue
  • Angled bit holder (optional)

Step 2: Prep and Drill the Hole

The first thing to do is to get the door and hinges out of the way. On my cabinets, the door actually fell off because a chunk of particle board fell off. (Due to the design of the doors, a prefab door would stick out like a sore thumb. I will repair that in a separate Instructable.)

Once the door/ hinge is out of the way, carefully drill out the hole where the screw used to be. To make sure it stays centered, start with 1/8 inch and work your way up. Compare the drill bit width to the size of the insert to find which bit size to stop at. Pick a bit slightly smaller than the insert width for a tight fit. The wedge shape of the insert makes it easier to install in a snug hole. For these 6-32 inserts that I had, I stopped with a 7/32 bit.

If you have a small cabinet, your drill may not fit. This is where the angle adapter comes in. I found the Dewalt version at Home Depot, which is also where I got the Milwaukee drill bit set. The adapter was $15 and the drill bits were $20.

Step 3: Threaded Wood Inserts

Place the threaded insert onto the tip of your hex key or driver before applying a drop or two of glue so you don't get glue all over your hand. If you get some on you, it isn't a big deal; wood glue is water soluble while wet, so just wash your hands.

You may not need the glue, but since particle board isn't very resilient, I used the glue to give it more bond to the easily crumbled material.

Step 4: Screw the Insert Into the Hole

Screw the insert into the hole that you drilled until the top of it is flush or slightly countersunk. You may have some excess wood glue coming out. Just wipe it off with a damp paper towel.

Step 5: Finishing

You should allow 24 hours to allow the glue to dry before putting the door back on. Since my door needs to be repaired on mine, I just installed the hinges so I don't lose them in the mean time.

This repair should for years. Since the threaded insert is wider than screws, it should be able to disperse more of the stress of the cabinet doors.

Comments

author
markgrogan (author)2017-08-26

It would definitely save you a lot of money fixing those hinges on your own as opposed to calling in a professional. However, if you do not have the necessary tools, then that little investment would be necessary to be sacrificed to ensure a stable and safe cabinetry setup.

author
JTK317 (author)2017-08-19

I use chopsticks for small screws that have stripped their hole in wood. Free and easy.

author
BeachsideHank (author)2017-08-15

Before drilling and installing the insert, apply a "C" clamp straddling the hole, this will prevent splitting of the hole when installing the device. I've put in hundreds of them, and they are even reusable too, I save them from old shop fixtures I've made for other projects and they work as good as new. ☺

author
gm280 (author)2017-08-15

I am sure that works. But you also risk a true particle board cabinet splitting when installing one of those metal inserts if not really careful. Particle board is merely press wood fragments and will not hold up to much of anything. And don't get particle board wet. It is gone then. I like the wood dowel insert my self and here is why. You drill the striped screw hole out to allow a properly size wood dowel to be inserted. Then glue the wood dowel in, cut it off flush and once dried, drill your new hole for the hardware again in the new wooden dowel. And it will hold for a long time. The dowel then carries the thread stress and not the cabinet. But your idea will work if you proceed carefully as well.

author
jchavis2 (author)gm2802017-08-15

That's what the glue was for. Theoretically, the concept is the same. This was just a little easier because I don't need to be as careful drilling it out.

author
Swansong (author)2017-08-15

That's super frustrating, I'm glad you could fix it :)

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