Wooden Hinges #1: Clam Shell Hinges - yet another different wooden hinging method

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Blog entry by BritBoxmaker posted 03-18-2012 02:32 PM 5196 reads 50 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Wooden Hinges series Part 2: Retrofit wooden hinges »

This blog details how I made the hinges for my latest project, ‘56’ (also now used in ‘42’). In this blog I will be making one hinge, 56mm x 76mm x 6mm. I am using dissimilar woods for contrast. These are, in this case, sycamore and walnut. I work in millimetres. For those of you using inches there are 25.4 mm to the inch. There is a calculator in the pc you are using to read this blog, its not rocket science.

I cut four blanks 56mm x 42mm x 3mm, two of sycamore and two of walnut. The hinge pin is brass, 2mm diametre x 48mm long.

In this blog I will be using three router bits for all hinge machining.

First I cut the fingers of the hinge pieces, using the 6mm straight bit, cutting 6.5mm deep to allow the hinge to rotate just over the 90°.

In this picture the sycamore pieces are under the walnut ones . Both are cut at the same time allowing exact overlay. You choose the method you want to route these, there are many jigs available. Quite a few here on LJ’s.
I cut some 6mm MDF blanks at the same time to help with later operations.

Next stage is to route a slot on what will become the two inside faces of each hinge half. I used the 45° ‘V’ bit and the following setup.

The bit is set to cut 1.4mm deep, 3mm in from the rear guide. The two side pieces of MDF are stops, double sided taped to the guide to stop the bit 3mm from each end of the hinge piece. This means the hinge pin will not be visible on the completed hinge. I prefer it this way as a pin that doesn’t show doesn’t work it’s way out of the hinge over time. If you prefer a visible pin just leave the stops out and route over the full width of the hinge.

The MDF blank allows for cutting of the v slot without breakout on the hinge finger sides.

The pin locates in the V slot

and the other half covers it, much like a clam shell

The next thing to do is round off the outer edges of the hinge fingers, to allow hinge rotation. I used the third bit, a 3mm rounding bit – with bearing. and the following setup

The MDF blank aids in positioning and also stops breakout from the finger edges. The last operations are hinge assembly. For this size of work I use Viscous CA (superglue). Its quick and accurate. I’ll let the pictures tell the story

A little light cleaning up with 240 grit and theres your hinge.

Yes there is a gap between two of the fingers. I had thought to make another one but using this one serves to prove that I am not perfect and therefore only human like everyone else.

Be seeing you

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

22 comments so far

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 2394 days

#1 posted 03-18-2012 02:49 PM

Excellent tutorial Martyn. I really appreciate these hinges and the thought/design you put into them.

View Woodwrecker's profile


3767 posts in 2661 days

#2 posted 03-18-2012 02:50 PM

Excellent tutorial my friend.
Thank you very much.
I will favorite this one to use in the future.
Thank you again. Well done.

-- Eric down in sunny Florida.

View jeepturner's profile


936 posts in 1878 days

#3 posted 03-18-2012 02:56 PM

Thanks for the blog Martyn.
Those area really nice hinges. The concept is brilliant in it’s simplicity.
I like the inclusion of the gap as evidence that you are “only human”, but I think I would need more proof. You make some amazing stuff. Thanks for sharing it with the rest of us mortals.

-- Mel,

View shipwright's profile


6266 posts in 1884 days

#4 posted 03-18-2012 03:22 PM

Good tutorial Martyn. You make it all look so easy.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

View stefang's profile


14924 posts in 2420 days

#5 posted 03-18-2012 03:27 PM

Good tutorial Martyn. This is wonderful technnique and I like that the hinge ends are hidden and also locked in. I would like to make some of these boxes with my grandkids. They would love the magical inside out effect. They can cut the box joints on the scroll saw and I can do the routing, or as an alternative I can show them how to to it with a sharp chisel instead. I really like this project a lot. Thanks for sharing it with us. I am only disappointed that there are no instructions in how to use the onboard calculator, lol.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Sodabowski's profile


2268 posts in 1919 days

#6 posted 03-18-2012 03:41 PM

Nice one Martyn :) Not rocket science but sure fine craft :)

-- Thomas - Pondering the inclusion of woodworking into physics and chemistry classes...

View SASmith               's profile


1809 posts in 2073 days

#7 posted 03-18-2012 03:55 PM

Great blog.
Into the favorites.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 3171 days

#8 posted 03-18-2012 04:01 PM

Thanks, Martyn!


View majeagle1's profile


1423 posts in 2582 days

#9 posted 03-18-2012 04:35 PM

Great blog Martyn, thanks for taking the time to do this !!!!

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View Randy63's profile


240 posts in 1978 days

#10 posted 03-18-2012 05:13 PM

Very good and well illustrated blog Martin. Thanks!

-- Randy, Oakdale, Ca.

View patron's profile


13420 posts in 2427 days

#11 posted 03-18-2012 05:31 PM

excellent technique martin

love your curious and open mind

thanks for sharing
and clearing the path

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View eddie's profile


7744 posts in 1700 days

#12 posted 03-18-2012 05:50 PM

thanks Martyn one of the better blogs explained well enough that even a newbe like me gets it .know you had to stop your other projects to help show this so thanks for the time to help your a good person and the last person who i knew was perfect they killed him.

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View KnotCurser's profile


1944 posts in 2154 days

#13 posted 03-18-2012 08:57 PM

Very cool – I will get around to trying this one. Promise!

Thanks teach – class dismissed!!


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

View SisQMark's profile


382 posts in 1686 days

#14 posted 03-18-2012 09:38 PM

Thank you for taking the time to show us another way to make hinges. Great tutorial Martin. Going in my favorites.

-- Don't waste today, it is yesterdays tomorrow!~SisQMark

View a1Jim's profile (online now)


113815 posts in 2663 days

#15 posted 03-18-2012 09:50 PM

Super blog and great idea,sorry it took me a while to comment but it took some time to try and consider the possibility your not perfect,I came to one conclusion… your must be fibbing to us. LOL your much much closer than I am when it comes to box making ,anther project exceptionally well done.

-- Custom furniture

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