In Search of Cheap hidden hinges
I am in search of cheap, small, hidden hinges. I am making boxes with 3/8″ thick wood and the customer wants to not see hinges from the exterior of the box. I am tring to use some cheap 5mm barrel hinges from amazon currently but am open to suggestions on how to better use them or different options I might explore.
*Updated to show pictures of the “appropriate” instalation. Nice for pen cases, maybe not boxes.*
The name on Amazon for anyone that wants to look them up:
Soss is my go to for “invisible” hinges.
I would love to use Soss barrel hinges but I don't believe they make any small enough for 3/8" panels as well as I think they may be a little more expensive than we would like to use.
You are right! Didn’t realize 12mm was the min. Good luck
+1 Soss... but they aint cheap.
I'm not sure you are going to find anything suitable for 20¢ each, but I'm also not sure you are installing those optimally. After looking on Amazon it seems you should be able to achieve better concealment than you have. Since the hinge is asymmetrical I think the longer leg needs to be in the box side and by reducing the bevel and drilling the hole close to the edge you could achieve better concealment like they show on Amazon. If that's not acceptable then a brass or aluminum pin drilled through extended sides may be your best bet. If the sight of a small brass circle on the sides of your box isn't acceptable to your customer a small wooden dial might get the job done and be all but invisible as well. Or at the cost of a little construction complexity you could blind drill the holes and assemble the box leaving one side for last.
When I first began making boxes with hinged lids I was also looking for alternatives for conventional hinges for 3/8" material. The 'hinge' I used is actually a 1/4" ball bearing situated in countersinks in the edges of the top and box ends, barely visible here. I have also used brass pins rather than the steel balls which are a bit easier to install.
I am interested to hear more about your instalation process and wear over time as well. I have seen this done before and think it is a simple effective way to make hinges but I am not sure it is the direction I want to go for the customer.
starkw1 - Interesting alternatives to conventional hinges. Can you tell us more about your installation process, and how well these "hinges" hold up over time and use?
AliExpress is your friend, I've seen lots of hidden hinges on there.
Best way I've found to navigate is to search for what I want and click the most relevant thing, then follow the recommended things until I find exactly what I'm after.
ethanmaloy98 and bluemo-- the installation of the "ball bearing hinge" is a bit tricky. To locate where the ball countersinks go, I dry fit the front & back and one side, place a shim (a 6" steel rule worked for me) on the top edge of the back panel and place the top in place so it rests on the front panel and the shim on the back panel. Place the ball between, say, the right side panel and edge of the top, then give the top a whack with a mallet from the left side. This leaves a nice indentation in the right edge of the top as well as the right side panel where a shallow counter sink is made to accommodate about 1/4 to 1/3 of the diameter of the ball. Repeat process on the left side. When everything fits right dry (and after pre-finishing the lid and at least the insides of the box, glue everything together.
Because this process can be a bit anxiety provoking, I have used mostly brass hinge pins (1/8" diameter) as in the photo here. Glue up the box without lid, then trim ends & front/back, the drill holes for pins
In my experience, either of these approaches work fine. I have not worried about anything wearing out. I have one on my kitchen counter to store garlic, kitchen thermometers, etc, and it gets open at least daily.
The only caution is to be sure and add some sort of support to prevent the lid from opening too far. How far depends on the clearance between the top of the box back panel and the box top lower back edge.
The hinge pin is easier, but not quite as invisible as the ball bearing. See photos.
Thanks for the explanation, Warren. Really nice looking boxes with the curved top.
You might look into barbed hinges I use them in small boxes I donate. They are about 20 cents each not including the slot cutter.