Secret Soss: A simple Soss hinge jig #1: Just add Soss

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Blog entry by newTim posted 09-02-2010 07:25 AM 10074 reads 11 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Secret Soss: A simple Soss hinge jig series Part 2: Let's Roll »

In two recent projects, the Copper Patina box and the String Box II, I installed Soss hinges. I had once thought of a way to adapt a regular square hinge jig to make routing the mortises for the Soss hinge easier. It turns out, with this jig, it is very easy, and fast, and accurate. The Secrets of the String Box Revealed blog showed some photos of the jig and described how it works. I’m sure most folks on LJs could see how this was built, but I thought I’d do a more detailed blog to show how. So let’s start at my favorite part, the end.

Here’s what we’d like to achieve, tight fitting hinges that are aligned so that the box and lid are square and flush. The Soss hinge requires eight mortises, four narrow, deep, inside, and four wider, shallow, outside. While the outside or top mortises ideally need to be tight to the hinge, the inside or bottom mortises can be a little larger to provide easier installation. But not so wide that it interferes with the screw holes.

Let’s start by considering the required dimensions of each mortise. The table below shows the mortise size and (my) template groove sizes for the Soss 101 (3/8”) and 203 (1/2”) hinges. Since my templates use a 5/8” guide bushing, just add the difference between the diameter of the bit (i.e. the width of the hinge) and the bushing to the mortise size to figure the template hole size. For example, the Soss 203 hinge requires a top mortise 1 3/4” long and 1/2” wide. Using a 1/2” diameter bit and a 5/8” bushing the difference is 1/8” (i.e. 1/16” on each end), so the template’s guide hole needs to be 1 7/8” long or the 1 3/4” mortise plus 1/8”. There are plenty of sites on the net including Woodcraft, Rockler, etc., that have the dimensions for the hinge you’re using. Just use this table as a concept guide and make the appropriate calculations.

Now that we finished the end, next time we can begin the finish.

-- tim hill

4 comments so far

View Ecocandle's profile


1013 posts in 3095 days

#1 posted 09-02-2010 11:56 AM

That was a great post! I was just wondering about how to do this yesterday. The box you made is fantastic. Very nicely done.

I think I will have to pick a project which will let me try this out. You have inspired me.

-- Brian Meeks,

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 4117 days

#2 posted 09-02-2010 01:20 PM

Thanks. I had made a jig for my Soss hinges but it was, I now see, too small and that’s probably why it did not work right.
Favorited this until I can make the jig correctly.


-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View newTim's profile


608 posts in 3636 days

#3 posted 09-02-2010 08:35 PM

Thanks. I’ll post more details tonight. It got late last night. Sawdust… I don’t know if this is the correct way to do it, but it sure works. Takes a little time to build the jig, but once you do it should last a long time.

-- tim hill

View Rj's profile


1047 posts in 3660 days

#4 posted 09-03-2010 12:23 AM

I Love the box!! I also really like the blog you did….Thanks for posting it!

-- Rj's Woodworks,San Jose & Weed Ca,

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