Lube Me Up, Scotty
However, I would like to share some tips on lubricating squeaky hinges. I recommend the following gear:
So as to not to damage anything, I use different techniques for 2- and 3-hinge doors, and different techniques for modern and vintage hinge styles. Doors with only two hinges need to be shimmed prior to removing any hardware.:
First, I’ll show you how to knock the pins out of modern hinges. If the door only has two hinges, you’ll need to shim it first (explained later). This is easy. Keep the door shut when removing the pins from modern hinges.
1. Locate the hole at the bottom of the hinge. Position the punch in the hole and tap upward with the hammer. Don’t hit it too hard – light taps should suffice.
2. I’m only able to get the pin to come out about 1 inch before my punch won’t fit any further in the hinge. Sometimes you can pull the pin out the rest of the way with your fingers at this point. If not, no worries – just use a sturdy framing nail to tap it out the rest of the way.
3. Once the pin is out, lubricate it thoroughly with the oil and tap it back into the hinge with the hammer. I recommend placing a paper towel on the floor underneath the pin so that dust and oil don’t fall and stain your floor.
And you’re done. Modern hinges are easy.
Now, on to vintage hinges. As many older doors only use 2 hinges, I’ll show you how to shim a door so that you don’t bend a hinge or crack the door or doorframe. Keep the door open when working with vintage-style hinges:
1. Lay towels/facecloths underneath the door so that you don’t scratch the floor. Wedge shims or flexible pieces of wood (wood shingles and even slim books work great, too) underneath the door so that they are wedged snugly between the bottom of the door and the floor. Don’t go too nuts with the shims – you should still be able to wiggle them a little bit.
2. Unscrew the lower hinge from the door and doorframe. (You can try removing the screws from just the door or just the doorframe and then trying to pull out the hinge while you wiggle the loose side). Do not remove both hinges at once unless you’re planning on removing the door for some reason.
3. Often, older hinges are so tightly embedded in the door or doorframe that you can’t slip the hinge out with just your fingers. In this case, use your punch to slowly and gently pry the hinge out of its seat so that you don’t crack the door or door frame. If you do crack something, fix it with wood glue.
4. Once you’ve gotten the hinge out, the pin should come out easily with your fingers. If it’s really tight, try wiggling it open and closed with your fingers to loosen it. Avoid using pliers to pull the pin out because you will scratch the finish and you will hate yourself forever for it. You can also loosen a stubborn pin by applying a little oil to the spaces in the hinge so that it drips down to the pin. WD-40 will also work, but WD-40 can cause damage to some finishes, so I wouldn’t recommend it unless you run out of other options.
Once the pin is free, oil it, reassemble the hinge, and screw the hinge back into place. Avoid using a power drill or power screw driver to drive the screws (this can damage the wood and can cause the hinge to no longer be level). Repeat the process for the other hinge.
One last note: do not attempt to remove a hinge pin by prying it out with a screw driver. You may bend the pin, and you will most certainly scratch the finish. The shame you will feel for doing this will eat at you until you die.