From Dowel to Hinge

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Blog entry by kolwdwrkr posted 05-30-2009 02:07 AM 3439 reads 5 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was asked how I made the hinge on my recent box project and have decided to attempt to write a blog about it. So here it goes. Sorry if none of it makes sense, or if it isn’t clear enough for you. Please feel free to ask more questions or even give suggestions if you have any. If it needs improvements I’m all ears.

First you will need some basic essentials. They are:
2 different size dowels, the sizes best suited for your project
2 different size drill bits to match the dowel size
1 strip of material 1/16×1/8” ish. This will depend on the dowel size as well.
Hand saw
sanding block
Glue————-Yellow glue or CA glue. (I used CA glue for the spacers to speed the process up. You may prefer to use yellow glue on everything.
Material to make jig
To make the jig you simply need to drill the larger hole far enough to hold the larger dowel, then drill the smaller hole dead center of the larger hole, but all the way through. The smaller hole is to guide the small drill bit and keep it centered on the larger dowel.
Cut your dowels to the length you want. For the purposes of this blog I made a hinge that is 4” (the hinge in this blog is not the hinge I made for the box). I cut 2 at 1 1/4” for the ends and one at 1 1/2” for the center.
The center section will have holes drilled in both ends. The end sections will only have one hole in one end.
You will need to know what depth you are going to drill into the dowel. I installed the larger dowel into the jig and then pushed the drill bit into the smaller hole until it touched the dowel. Then I measure 1/2” and wrapped tape around the bit. This will tell me how far to drill.
To drill the holes place the large dowel into the jig and feed the drill bit into the jig until it hits the tape.
Your hole should end up centered on the larger dowel.
Do this twice on the center one, and once on the outer ones.

Because you drilled 1/2” into the material you should theoretically be able to cut the smaller dowel down to 2 pieces at 1” or if you would like 15/16”. It doesn’t matter if it is a smidge shorter because it is only getting glued to one section.
Glue them into the center section.

Your hinge is now basically complete. However, you don’t have a large enough glue area to attach it to your project, and if you did, it would rub either on the box or on the lid. So you need to create a spacer. Assemble you pieces and put them into a clamp.
With a hand plane create a flat spot that is approximately the 1/8” width of your spacer
Now you have a nice flat spot on all your pieces consistently the same size because you did them all in the same pass with the plane. Now you are ready to glue your strips.
Cut the excess length off.
And sand it flat with a sanding block
Scrape any glue off and sand. Now you are ready to install it on your project.
The spacers push the round hinge off of the box and away from the lid. If you don’t do this when you open the box it will rub on the round portion of the hinge. As you can see on my finished box there is a nice amount of room and the ebony strips add to the look.
I hope all of this made sense and gives you inspiration to make your own hinges on your next project. As always I welcome constructive criticism positive or negative.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

10 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


115167 posts in 2995 days

#1 posted 05-30-2009 02:21 AM

HEY thanks for the blog, Lots of good info, nice job
Did I miss the blog on how you inlaid the circles

-- Custom furniture

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3008 days

#2 posted 05-30-2009 02:25 AM

LOL, nope that one didn’t happen Jim. Maybe one of these days. ;-)

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View Grumpy's profile


21459 posts in 3269 days

#3 posted 05-30-2009 02:27 AM

Keith, that is one great blog. Well done my friend.

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

View Gary's profile


8965 posts in 2851 days

#4 posted 05-30-2009 03:11 AM

I like that. I’ll give that a try Thanks

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 2945 days

#5 posted 05-30-2009 03:50 AM

Isn’t that special!
Cool idea. Looks and works great.
Good blog. Thanks…........

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View patron's profile


13524 posts in 2759 days

#6 posted 05-30-2009 04:02 AM

thanks for the info and the blog .
nice touch , good work !

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

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14167 posts in 3401 days

#7 posted 05-30-2009 04:17 AM

I like this one allot … looks like a cool thing to do … going try this soon myself …

hopefully this weekend I’ll make a box. it has been years

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3008 days

#8 posted 05-30-2009 04:20 AM

Glad to inspire you Dan. I hope to get to see your box. Thanks everyone for the kind words.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View SawTooth1953's profile


308 posts in 2724 days

#9 posted 05-30-2009 01:19 PM

Keith, Thanks for putting it into pics… your generosity is appreciated.

-- Spence in Skokie, IL

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 2943 days

#10 posted 05-30-2009 04:29 PM

What a great and SIMPLE solution to wooden hinges. Thanks for posting.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

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