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Simple jig for hinges

comments (2) March 27th, 2013 in blogs

MPekovich Michael Pekovich, art director
thumbs up 22 users recommend

The jig is dirt simple. Just a piece of plywood for a base and a fence to secure it. I clamp it to the case or door and use a bearing guided bit to rout the mortise.
To make the jig, mark the hinge width along one edge of a roughly 6 inch by 8 inch piece of 1/2 inch plywood.
Cut a notch the width of the hinge and about 1 3/4 inches deep. I made the end cuts with a crosscut sled on the tablesaw. Then I wasted away most of the material in between the cuts on the bandsaw. Finally, I headed back to the tablesaw and slid the plywood back and forth as I moved the crosscut sled past the blade.
Now cut a shallow groove for the fence. This ensures that the fence glues up square to the notch and is positioned the correct distance away from the end of the notch.
The hinges Im using have a ball tip so I aligned the fence to the width of the leaf. If it didnt have  ball tip, Id align it to the center of the hinge barrel.
Glue the fence in place and the jig is done. Its taken me longer to write this blog than it did to make the jig.
To use the jig, set the bit depth using the hinge itself.
Clamp the jig to the work piece and rout away.
Leave the jig in place and use it as a guide when squaring up the corners of the mortise (Thats a Doug Stowe trick, awesome!)
Voila! Ive been working way too hard at this.
The jig is dirt simple. Just a piece of plywood for a base and a fence to secure it. I clamp it to the case or door and use a bearing guided bit to rout the mortise. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

The jig is dirt simple. Just a piece of plywood for a base and a fence to secure it. I clamp it to the case or door and use a bearing guided bit to rout the mortise.


I always learn a lot when I teach a woodworking class. At the moment, I'm making an arts and crafts cabinet with a great group of guys. We're just getting to the door and my thoughts turned to hinge mortises. In my own work, I'm typically faced with hanging a single door, two at the most, in a given project. So I've never gotten around to making a routing jig to simplify the process. In a classroom situation, however, a little bit of set up pays big dividends. 

Using a jig by Doug Stowe in a recent Fine Woodworking article as inspiration, I built a few of my own. Not only will the class get through their mortises quickly and accurately, I've got a great jig to use in my own shop from now on.


posted in: blogs, jig


Comments (2)

keithver keithver writes: I'm building my own version of your tool chest (thanks for the inspiration). We don't get much in the way of hardware here in South Africa. Please can you tell me where you got the half mortise and lid locks for the project. I'll have to get them sent over. Thanks
Posted: 8:01 am on September 19th

whyknot whyknot writes: The jig that I constructed used 1/4 inch Masonite and a fence screwed and doweled to the template. MCLS stocks a hinge motice router bit that is ideal for the task.

When changing a house full of prehung flush doors with more stylish panel doors, fabricate a story stick from 1X3 pine. Since prehung doors have hinge locations that are precisely located from door to door, it is a simple matter to transfer the top edge of each hinge location to stick. Saw a vee notch into the stick with the hinge location perpendicular to the edge. If you are left handed use the bottom edge of the hinge. Install a stop that registers off the top of the door. Using the stick, transfer the hinge location with an Xacto knife on to the door with a single cut. Replace the stick with the template locating with the knife resting in the cut. No measurements required and minimal chance for error.
Posted: 8:27 am on April 1st

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