Workshop Tip: Hinge jig is fool proof and made in minutes
There have been some very good hinge jigs in Fine Woodworking, but I think mine is a little less error-prone and just as quick to make. Like Craig Thibodeau did in FWW #266, I create a jig board that fits inside the door opening, marking the hinge locations in pencil. The rest of my jig is different.
I start by screwing one leaf of each hinge to the jig board exactly where I want it to end up. Be sure that the hinge inset is correct and that it’s square to the board. Now, using the same router and bit I’ll use to rout the hinge mortise, I rout grooves in the jig with the base of the router riding the edges of the hinge, and then attach fences as shown in the drawing.
When routing the fence grooves, I put a thin strip of masking tape at one end of the hinge, so the final hinge fit is snug but not too tight.
Next, remove the hinges and use the router to cut the hinge openings in the jig, routing to the actual depth you’ll rout the mortises (which helps prevent tearout later). Leave the center portion of the front fence intact; it will help support the router.
To use the jig, clamp it to the door or cabinet, and rout as many perfect hinge mortises as you need. You’ll have just a bit of squaring to do in the corners.
—Harvey Baker, Waynesboro, Tenn.