What is a Piano Hinge?

Uses of piano hinge in woodworking.

One important invention of humans that you would seldom think of as important is the hinge. Since hinges do not take the limelight, you rarely notice them unless your door gets jammed, and you need to replace its damaged hinges. Until then, your door hinges stay unnoticed and unassuming. Hinges, of course, are valuable because they allow two pieces of timber or materials to get hinged together, allowing for closing and opening, such as in the case of doors and cabinets. 

Hinges come in different varieties and sizes. Moreover, they come in handy for various applications and needs. Examples of hinges include butt, butterfly, flush, tee, concealed, and piano hinges. In this post, we will discuss the piano hinge in detail.

Understanding a Piano Hinge

A piano hinge is a hinge type that is known for its length. It is long, compared to other hinges, and its size may range from six inches wide to six feet long or even longer. You will often find this type of hinge supporting the piano lid. As such, these hinges get referred to as piano hinges. Technically, however, these hinges are known as continuous hinges

Piano hinges come with a simple design. They are straight, flat, and symmetric. The piano hinges are long because they are often used to support the whole length of any rotational device that they support. Yet, you can also get a customized piano hinge.

When Should You Use the Piano Hinges?

Well, you will often see piano hinges in pianos, and for this reason, they are known as piano hinges. The piano hinges are perfect for hinging the lid of pianos. They can connect the lid to the piano’s housing unit, which contains the keyboards and other components of the piano. Yet, piano hinges are not only used in piano, for you will find these hinges even in other applications like doors and other industrial equipment and machines. 

The design of the piano hinges allows for a uniform weight and stress distribution. They are likewise easy to align and install and can withstand wear and tear. You can also cut them into small lengths to fit the application and your needs. 

One great advantage of using the piano hinges is that you can use them as a concealed hinge. So, if you don’t want your guests to see the hinges of your cabinet, you can rely on the piano hinges to do the job. Moreover, you can also use piano hinges as exposed hinges for framing and furniture chest lid’s hinges. You can install them immediately by mortising the piano hinges to the frame or lid.    

Pros and Cons of Using the Piano Hinges

Well, if you are a little confused about whether to use the piano hinge in your project, it will help to check the following apparent advantages and disadvantages of using the piano hinges:

Advantages of Piano Hinges

You Can Customize the Length of the Piano Hinge 

The thing is about the piano hinges is that you can cut the piano hinges to the needed lengths. Other hinges have fixed lengths and sizes. Thus, you can customize their sizes. The piano hinges, however, are highly customizable. You can cut them according to the sizes that you need. Thus, whether your door is tall or short, you can cut the piano hinges according to your door’s dimensions. 

You customize the piano hinges’ forms, holes, bends, slots, cuts, length, and many other parts. They likewise come in various finishes and materials like stainless steel, aluminum, steel, or extruded aluminum. Thus, you got plenty of options with piano hinges, and you can choose the appropriate make for your need.

Even Load Distribution 

Because of its even load distribution, many door assemblers prefer piano hinges. With even load distribution, your door will not readily bog down or fall off. 

Screw or Weld the Piano Hinges

Another succinct advantage of the piano hinge is its ease of installation. You can screw it or weld it. You can buy the piano hinges sans screw holes. Hence, you can weld them easily for special applications. 

Durable and Strong

Another factor that makes the piano hinge ideal for use is its durability and strength. Since the weight of the door or anything attached to it is evenly distributed, you can expect it to bear the load’s weight evenly. As such, the piano hinge offers better durability and strength. 

If you’re looking for strength and durability, it will be best to choose the piano hinge. You can use it for various applications like instrument panels, lockers, toolboxes, sheet metal, security doors, and many other commercial and industrial applications and still expect high durability and strength from this hinge. 

Even in the aerospace industry, the use of the piano hinge is widespread. You will see, for example, piano hinges in aircraft interiors, capsules, cockpits, space stations, and shuttles. The piano hinges secure the movable panels for added strength and durability. The use of the piano hinges is ideal for use in the abovementioned applications.  

Offer Seamless Appearance

Piano hinges are also easy to install, and they offer a seamless appearance that is very attractive to look at. This seamless appearance allows for better security and a higher level of privacy because it eliminates the usual gaps that you can see in some types of hinges, like butt hinges. Lastly, they also offer a quiet operation. 

Disadvantages of a Piano Hinge

Susceptible to Degradation

The piano hinge is metal-based, meaning it is of metallic materials. Thus, it is susceptible to rusting and corrosion. Corrosion will happen if you expose the piano hinges to moisture. Thus, it will be best to use the piano hinges in places with less moisture. If you want to prevent corrosion, it will be best to lubricate the piano hinges. 

It is Attached Using Smaller Screws

You will find that the piano hinges come with smaller screws compared to the screws used in other types of hinges. Thus, the piano hinges are prone to ripping from the door assembly. 

You Need a Helping Hand to Install the Piano Hinges

The piano hinges, as mentioned above, are relatively easy to install. Yet, given their length, you might be needing a helping hand to install them. You will need someone to hold the long piano hinges while you screw the hinges to the door. 

Piano Hinges Can Bend Easily 

The piano hinges are narrow and long. They also tend to bend with ease, and they are pliable. So, it will be best to be very careful when handling them. Nevertheless, you can also turn them back into their original form with ease.


Frequently Asked Questions about Piano Hinges

Aside from being cognizant of the pros and cons of using piano hinges, it will also help if you know the frequently asked questions about piano hinges:

What is a Continuous Hinge?

The piano hinge is also called the continuous hinge. This hinge is very popular and is heavy-duty. As mentioned above, it is resistant to wear and distributes stress and weight better. It is easy to install likewise. It is a straight and continuous hinge with two even sides that are long. 

Moreover, the piano hinge is highly customizable. You can cut it into appropriate lengths and punch holes according to your needs. You can also form and finish the hinge according to your needs. 

Some manufacturers also offer customized piano hinges for commercial and industrial usage. Thus, you can have the piano sheets customized for sheet metal work, barn doors, warehouse doors, blast doors, electrical doors, and toolboxes.

Why Was the Piano Hinge Named as Such?

If you’re new to woodworking, you may ask why the piano hinge is named in a such fashion. But as mentioned above, it is often used in pianos, so it came to be known as a piano hinge. If you look at the piano lids, you will notice that they are bulky and oversized. Hence, they needed a sturdy and durable hinge to support their weight. 

The piano hinges, of course, allow the users of pianos to lift the lid safely, sans damaging the keys and the piano. Since the piano hinge exhibits a continuous form, it is also referred to as a continuous hinge. So, both the continuous hinge and piano hinge are interchangeable terms and refer to only the same type of hinge. 

The piano hinge, however, is not solely used for holding the piano lid. It has many applications and is used for many purposes.


Conclusion

When it comes to choosing hinges for your projects, you need to carefully select the hinge type that you will use. The piano hinges may be the largest type of hinges available in the market today. They offer good support throughout the edge of the wood or hinge material and are perfect for heavy objects. Knowing the pros and cons of using the piano hinge allows you to decide whether the piano hinge is the perfect hinge for your projects. 

If you’re building from scratch, you got enough flexibility to choose the hinge type that you would use before you get started. You can choose the hinge appropriate for your projects by carefully understanding the pros and cons of every type of hinge. If you choose the right one at the onset, you get spared from making minor or major changes to your project afterward. 

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