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A tee hinge is a type of hardware used to hang doors, fences, and cabinet doors. It features a design that is a combination between a standard butt hinge and the strap hinges using on gates. One leaf of the hinge features a square or rectangular shape, while the other leaf is typically quite long and narrow. The longer leaf on a tee hinge is visible when the door or cabinet is closed, and may be highly decorative. Tee hinges may also be referred to as single or half-strap hinges.
The half of a tee hinge that resembles the traditional butt hinge is attached to a fence post, cabinet casing, or door frame. It may be installed on the surface of the structure, or mortised into a pocket so it sits flush with the surface. A set of teeth or knuckles on the edge of this leaf intersect with a corresponding set of knuckles on the strap leaf, with a pin inserted through the knuckles to fasten the two leafs together. The strap itself gets attached to the front surface of the door or gate, where it is usually surface-mounted rather than mortised.
Despite the relatively simplicity of this device, buyers must consider many different factors when purchasing a tee hinge to ensure it will work with the application at hand. Each of these hinges is designed to work with a specific door thickness, and cannot be used on doors that are too thick or too thin. Most manufacturers rate hinges as light, medium, or heavy duty based on the size and weight they are capable of supporting. For example, a light duty tee hinge is designed to support a cabinet door that sees little use, while a heavy duty hinge is needed for a large gate that is used daily. Buyers should also consider whether they want the hinge to be spring loaded, which allows it to close the door automatically, or not.
The classic tee hinge comes in forged iron, and traditionally has a black finish. Modern designs are more varied, and buyers can find these hinges in virtually any finish from steel to brass or bronze. For outdoor applications or those exposed to frequent moisture, a stainless steel or galvanized tee hinge will hold up better against corrosion than one made from iron or steel.
Tee hinges are available in both basic and decorative varieties. The smaller of the two leafs may be round, square, or rectangular. The longer of the two can feature a number of different profiles and patterns. Buyers should take care when choosing these hinges to ensure the pattern will be oriented right-side-up based on where it will be installed.