Making wooden hinges with a finger joint bit

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Blog entry by robscastle posted 06-29-2013 01:22 AM 14256 reads 10 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am currently working on a Carved Lock Miter Box and will post it as a project upon completion.
In the mean time yesterday I was ready to select some hinges for the box when I cut the lid off.

I decided to make my own and set of hinges and set about doing so, I had the basic concept ready in about 2 hours.

It was reasonably easy so I thought I should share the process.

So here we go.


I am using some hoop pine for the overall project, and had some useable off cuts so decided to keep everything in the same timber and use them.

The stock.

You don’t have to use the same material or even off cuts for that matter, as working with smaller pieces adds an element of extra care required when working such small parts with machines.
Nothing like material which has your fingers well clear of sharp angry rotating parts.

The joint cut out process.

Set up the shaper / router with your finger joint bit
use a backing block to: a manage the material safely and prevent tiger claw fingernails! and, b prevent tear out
Cut both pieces using the same setup, just reverse one of the hinge halves and match later.
The material need not be at its finished size or thickness at this stage, you can trim to size upon completion later.

Matching Check:

Upon cutting match up your hinges and if everything is OK repeat the process for as many hinges as you need.

Drilling the pivot holes.

I only had small hinges so I used my bench pedestal drill, (its the only drill I have too)
Make sure the drill bit and table are 90 degrees to each other.

I clamped both hinges into a frame so I could hold everything at 90 deg and drill them all together with a 4mm brad point drill.

here is a close up of the process.

Checking the pivot points.

I will use a 4mm bamboo skewer to be the hinge pins, so I assembled everything and did a final check for parallelism. (this is essential otherwise the hinges may self destruct with normal use.

Rounding the pivot edges.

You will need to round both halves the pivot edges to allow everything to rotate, I simply sanded a 45 deg edge on the pivot sides and rounded them over, nothing too complex there, reassemble them and do a gentle turn test, if they bind just sand a little more material off.

Pivot Checks.

As you can see the joint I have done only open to 90 degrees, if this presents a problem and you want more tilt past 90 degrees, for a mirror or the likes, it can be done be done by the removal of material at the back outside of the hinge halves.

A word of caution, make sure any clamps or any other non wooden materials (fingers) are well clear of cutters and the likes when working with small parts.

If this presents a problem competency wise don’t despair simply make your hinges from a length of material and then cut them off incrementally.

And there you have it, a fairly straight forward and simple process

Want something Bigger?

Just increase the stock sizes and pivot bearings accordingly

Want something Different?

Just check out the following LJs work, DKV, SCOTSMAN, stefang, rrdesigns, Jim Finn, BritBoxmaker and shipwright just to name a few
and there is a wooden hinge system there which will be able to suit your needs.

Enjoy your woodworking.

P.S. If you are interested in seeing the final result keep an eye out for the hinges in their final form attached to my CLMB (Carved Lock Miter Box) later. I am still working on it


Robert Brennan

-- Regards Rob

3 comments so far

View abie's profile


874 posts in 3770 days

#1 posted 06-29-2013 02:12 PM

TNX for the fine tutorial.
I’ve been making wood hinges for awhile and keep extras of each type in a bag for later use.
This method is unique and will be bookmarked for when I have a finger joint bit.
I like to use brass rods for the pivots with small brass nuts for the ends.
I like your too.
TNX for sharing

-- Bruce. a mind is like a book it is only useful when open.

View dvd812's profile


40 posts in 1798 days

#2 posted 06-29-2013 03:48 PM

they look great. Thanks for sharing

-- Do all things to the Glory of God.

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2803 days

#3 posted 06-30-2013 01:09 PM

Very nice blog how-to

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

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