Hand tool cabinet #3: Bit of a setback when installing the door hinges

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Blog entry by Tim Dahn posted 03-01-2012 01:10 AM 3018 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Rough stock to cabinet glue up Part 3 of Hand tool cabinet series Part 4: Final sanding »

It was not a very productive evening in the shop. When installing the door hinges I broke three screws and a drill bit, all of them buried deep in the wood. The first screw broke off when using the drill as a driver but I had the clutch set…Hmmm. So I switched the a screw driver and promptly broke two more then a drill bit ARGH!

The partial screw is from the left hole, there is another screw and drill bit in the center hole.

So time to excavate, first draw the layout lines.

Cut to the line, similar to cutting dovetails.

Remove enough material to gain access to remove the screw and drill bit.

Clean up and install the blowout patch.

Here is the repaired hinge mortise.

Tomorrow I hope to purchase some GOOD screws and re-install the hinges.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

14 comments so far

View patron's profile


13606 posts in 3365 days

#1 posted 03-01-2012 01:20 AM

nice fix tim

finding good screws is always dicey these days
i do all the fine ones by hand now
so i can feel the tension on them
and back out when it seems to much for them
re-drill and use soap on them too

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

View Ken Fitzpatrick's profile

Ken Fitzpatrick

376 posts in 4047 days

#2 posted 03-01-2012 01:25 AM

What a recovery. Nice job!

-- • "I have noticed that nothing I have never said ever did me any harm."....... Calvin Coolidge

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3510 days

#3 posted 03-01-2012 01:32 AM

nice save. agony by the inch.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1567 posts in 3589 days

#4 posted 03-01-2012 01:43 AM

David, On the third screw I was very careful and expecting the screw to break and I felt it begin to fail, I broke it backing it out. The oak is hard but Sheesh!

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View Jimi_C's profile


507 posts in 3259 days

#5 posted 03-01-2012 02:32 AM

I used these to good effect on white oak:

I put a piece of dowel inside the cylinder to make sure the chuck didn’t crush it, and used a guide to start the cut. A little glue on a dowel and the hole was patched and ready for try #2.

The downside is, I also broke off 2 2.5” screws, for which the above extractors are useless :/

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View Kenny 's profile


260 posts in 2472 days

#6 posted 03-01-2012 02:51 AM

Tim, the BEST purchase I ever made was a set of gimlets.

I got mine from They are on sale now, see them HERE.

They’re not at all expensive at $16, and even cheaper on sale now at $13. They do a great job and quickly make a proper size hole for nearly any screw you’ll use in normal woodworking, from #2 to #9. I never drive a screw into hardwood without them, and I haven’t broken a screw since I got them either.

I’ve bought a bunch of screws from McFeely's, and so far they’ve been of very good quality. I also picked up an assortment of square drive screws (can’t recall the brand, may be a Rockler product) from Rockler that came with little red hang-up bins. They have been good too.

Another good tip, though you may be doing it already, is to use a bit of wax on the screw threads to make it drive easier.
I make my own thread wax that I sell to friends and a local shop and it works awesome. I use paraffin, bees wax and mineral oil, and it makes screws drive into hardwood like butter.
If you want a small tub, let me know, I’ll throw you one just so you don’t have to go though this mess again. And if you like it, tell your friends!

Nice recovery too! Good luck with the rest of it!

-- Kenny

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 2563 days

#7 posted 03-01-2012 05:35 AM

Good save Tim! It’s all about knowing how to fix the darn mistakes.

-- I never finish anyth

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3358 days

#8 posted 03-01-2012 09:37 AM

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had similar experiences with cheap hinge screws Tim. You did a good job recovering from the problem. One of the best woodworking skills to have is the ability to fix things that go wrong. I usually spend about 90% of my project time doing that, lol.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3188 days

#9 posted 03-01-2012 06:05 PM

Been there and done that also. I generally just use some paraffin on the screws, but Kenny’s mix sounds even better. Outdoor or items I am gonna finish with BLO, I just use BLO as the lubricant. For outside projects that serves to seal the screw as well.

Nice save, nothing more irritating. Seems to me that on occasion, I have drilled a larger hole down to the piece, extracted in a variety of ways including an narrow nosed vise grip to turn it out with, or even cut a slot with a dremel in the broken off piece and used a screwdriver. Then glued in a piece of dowel, and redid it…......but with different screws.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1567 posts in 3589 days

#10 posted 03-01-2012 10:16 PM

Jimi_C and Kenny, Heading to the woodworking show tomorrow in Fredericksburg, Va. The extractors and Gimlets have been added to my list.

I decided to cut away the wood on this particular hinge due to multiple pieces of metal in the wood, I wanted to be sure to get them all. The other hinge I was able to remove the screw without disturbing the entire hinge area.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View 489tad's profile


3368 posts in 3035 days

#11 posted 03-02-2012 04:47 AM

As stated above, nice save! I bought some crap screws from big box. As they go in you can see most of the heads are not concentric tothe body. Snap!!! Great job on the cabinet. Looking forward to the finish.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3188 days

#12 posted 03-02-2012 03:46 PM

I may get a trip to a Woodcraft or Rockler in May, probably in Seattle. Never been to one of those places. I have to start forming my wish list for La Conner. I have never heard of gimlets until a week ago. But they sound like they are useful gizmos.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Grumpy's profile


23997 posts in 3875 days

#13 posted 03-03-2012 11:10 PM

Ouch, but good end result.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View helluvawreck's profile


31363 posts in 2890 days

#14 posted 03-04-2012 01:01 PM

This is really coming along. Good repair, BTW.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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