How to Drill Cabinet Hinge Holes

Are you ready to upgrade your kitchen cabinets or embark on a cabinet installation project? Drilling hinge holes is a crucial step in ensuring that your cabinet doors function properly and align perfectly. Whether you’re installing new hinges or replacing existing ones, drilling precise hinge holes is essential for a seamless and professional finish.

How to Drill Cabinet Hinge Holes

In this article, we will guide you through the process of how to drill cabinet hinge holes, from gathering the necessary tools to measuring and marking the hole placement, choosing the appropriate drill bit, and executing the drilling process. We will also provide helpful tips to ensure accuracy and prevent common mistakes. So, grab your tools, and let’s get started on drilling cabinet hinge holes like a pro!

Where Do You Drill Holes in Cabinet Hinges?

When drilling holes in cabinet hinges, you need to ensure that the hole is properly aligned with the other hardware. This means that you must locate and measure the correct position of the hole before drilling it.

To determine where to drill your holes, first take a look at the cabinet hinge itself. The majority of hinges will have two or three holes in them, which will be used to attach the hinge to the cabinet. Using a ruler or measuring tape, measure the distance between each of these holes from both sides and center. Make sure that you mark this distance on your drill bit so that you know exactly where to drill it.

Once you have marked the correct locations on your drill bit, you can begin drilling. Make sure that you use a drill bit that is large enough to accommodate the screws used for attaching the hinge. You should also be careful not to over-drill the hole as this could damage the hinge and weaken the attachment.

Once all of your holes are correctly drilled, you are ready to attach the hinge to the cabinet. You can now enjoy your newly installed cabinet hinges and the durability that they offer!

Should You Drill Cabinet Holes Before Painting?

When it comes to drilling cabinet hinge holes, the question of whether or not you should drill before painting is a common one.

Drilling Cabinet Hinge Holes

The answer depends on your specific situation and desired results. If you’re using painted cabinets, then it makes sense to paint the doors and drill the holes after they have been painted. This way, any scratches caused by the drilling process will be covered up by the paint.

On the other hand, if you’re using a natural wood veneer or stained wood for your cabinets, then it may be better to drill before applying a finish coat. This ensures that any imperfections from drilling will be sealed beneath the stain or varnish, which helps protect them from moisture and wear.

In either case, it’s important to use a drill bit designed for drilling into wood when making the holes. A standard metal drill bit could damage or even splinter the wood, which can lead to an uneven surface or a weakened joint. As such, you should always read the instructions that come with your drill bits before using them on your cabinets.

10 Methods How to Drill Cabinet Hinge Holes

1.  Use a Drill Bit That Is the Same Size as the Hinge Screws

If you use a drill bit that is the same size as the hinge screws, you will not have to worry about the screws being too big or too small for the holes. This method is also less likely to strip the screws. Be sure to measure the screws with a ruler or caliper to determine their size. Though it is important to use the right size drill bit, it isn’t always necessary.

2.  Use a Forstner Bit

A Forstner bit is a type of drill bit that is designed for drilling clean, flat-bottomed holes. This type of bit will give you more control when drilling, and it is less likely to wander off course.

Use a Forstner Bit

Begin by measuring the distance between the edges of the door and the holes you need to drill. If possible, use a template to ensure that the holes are evenly spaced. Then, place your Forstner bit in your drill and set it to the appropriate depth for the hinges you are using.

3.  Use a Center Punch

A center punch is a tool that is used to create an indentation in the material that you are drilling. This indentation will help to keep the drill bit from wandering off course. To mark the holes for drilling, tap the center punch with a hammer until you have created an indentation. Be sure to keep the marks aligned and even, as this will determine the accuracy of your hole placement. Once you have marked all of the holes, it is time to move on to the next step.

4.  Use a Drill Press

A drill press is a machine that is designed for drilling holes. It will give you more control over the drilling process and help to ensure that the holes are drilled evenly. When using a drill press, you should always use the correct size bit and make sure that the bit is properly secured in the chuck.

When drilling with a drill press, you should also use a backing board to help keep the bit from slipping and to prevent any chipping or splintering of the wood.

5.  Use a Jig

A jig is a device that helps to guide the drill bit and keep it from wandering off course. There are many different types of jigs available, so be sure to choose one that is designed for cabinet hinge holes. Most jigs are adjustable, so you can use them on different sizes of door or drawer fronts. Place the jig over the surface of the door or drawer front and then tighten the screws to hold it in place. Use a level to be sure the jig is straight, then drill as instructed by the manufacturer.

Use a Level to Be Sure the Jig is Straight

6.  Use Masking Tape

Masking tape can be used to mark where you want to drill the holes. This method is especially helpful if you are not using a jig. Place a piece of masking tape along the hinge’s mounting plate and mark where you want to drill the holes with a pencil.

Make sure that you mark the drill locations precisely for accuracy. Once you have finished marking, carefully remove the masking tape and place it onto the cabinet door or face frame. This will ensure that the holes line up correctly.

7.  Clamp the Wood in Place

Clamping the wood in place will help to prevent it from moving while you are drilling. This is especially important when drilling large or deep holes. You can use a vise, clamps, or both to secure the wood in place. Make sure that you are clamping it securely and tightly.

If you are working on a piece of furniture that has drawers, clamp it in place so that the drawer will be flush with the surface when it’s finished.

8.  Drill Slowly and steadily increase speed as needed

Drilling slowly at first will help to prevent the drill bit from overheating and breaking. You can then increase the speed as needed once the hole has been started. It is important to keep the drill bit straight and perpendicular to the surface of the cabinet as you are drilling. If it becomes off-center, your hole can become too big and may not fit the hinge properly.

9.  Use Lubricant

Using lubricant on the drill bit will help to reduce friction and heat build-up. This will help to extend the life of your drill bit and make drilling easier overall. Use a lightweight machine oil like 3-in-1 or sewing machine lubricant to keep your drill bits running smoothly and efficiently. Additionally, lubricating the drill bit with oil can also help to reduce noise.

10.  Clean the Holes and Apply Finish

Once all of your holes are correctly drilled, be sure to clean them out with a vacuum or brush. This will ensure a smooth finish and help you get a good seal around the hinge. If necessary, apply a wood sealant or other finish to the edges of the hinge holes.

Clean Them Out With a Vacuum

This will help protect them from moisture and wear, prolonging the life of your cabinet hinges. If you’re applying a stain to your cabinets, make sure that the finish around the holes is dry before you apply any kind of color.


Drilling holes for hinges on cabinet doors can be a tedious task. But with patience, the right tools, and following our step-by-step guide, completing this activity can be done easily. There is always the option to hire a professional who is experienced in installing cabinet hinges but if you feel up to the challenge, then get ready to add that extra bit of ‘Do It Yourself’ ingenuity to your next home improvement project!

With these tips in mind, we are sure that your cabinets will look great after all the hard work you have done! So don’t delay any longer and start tackling this project today – if you need assistance at any step along the way, just refer back to our guide on How To Drill Cabinet Hinge Holes and you’ll be glad you did.

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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