Hand Tools Adventure #4: The Stealth Hinge

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 183 days ago 1325 reads 2 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Sidetrack, New Tools to Make. Part 4 of Hand Tools Adventure series Part 5: Assembling the Box »

With the grooves made and the bottom fitted (1/4” plywood hammer veneered on both sides) the next job was to make the interlocking rebates for the lid. One setup and two passes each piece on the table saw, right?
How about one setup and one pass each on the router table? OK, hand toolin’ here with my lovely little shoulder plane …....... swish, .... swish….......... Kind of nice if it did take all afternoon.

This one is here just because I like the light in it.

I may need to alter the throat of this plane a little. I spent way too much time cleaning it out. I’m thinking of creating a sort of spiral angle to send the shavings sideways. Any thoughts on that?

Then it was on to the hinge. In this photo I’m actually applying the first coats of shellac. The inside veneering is already done. Sorry, no photos of exactly how I managed to get the veneer to follow the curve but it wasn’t hard at all.

So much for the easy side. Now to see if I can bend the marquetry. I separated it on the line that I showed in the first segment by taping the crap out of it and carefully cutting the line with a knife.

Then I used the same method to glue it as I had with the inner veneer. This time I got pictures. It’s a little more complicated with the marquetry side because it has to register perfectly. First I taped the edge in the notch between the hinge parts to register it exactly. Then I trimmed the bottom and taped it while the notches were still registered …............ and then I removed the notch tape and hinged the veneer back for glue.

I put strips of tape up the hinge tabs that would have to bend, applied the hot hide glue ….

...and then closed the veneer hinge down onto the substrate, wrapped the tape down tight, and stuck it in the press. For the most part this got the job done. Small unglued spots on the curve were easy to repair with my iron. (Yes, the laundry kind)

To further hide the hinge I added a whole bunch of little bits of veneer in the notches on the box.

Here they are all cleaned up.

This is what the stealth hinge looks like. I can’t do much about the shadow line but I’m very happy with the results. I really wasn’t sure I could get away with this one. I wasn’t going to spill the beans by showing this view until the project post but I guess that anyone who slogs through my blog deserves a little preview.

All easy sailing (I wish) from here on. All I have to do now is get all the corners to match perfectly and glue the thing up. Those matches are the next tricky fit. I still haven’t decided on the top marquetry yet …... you know the part everyone will focus on. ..... :-)

That’s it for now.

Thanks for looking in.


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

20 comments so far

View SPalm's profile


4739 posts in 2478 days

#1 posted 183 days ago

I can not imagine cutting all that with that plane. I have the same one and use it for cleaning up tenons. Works great for small stuff, but it does clog easily. I have seen shoulder planes with the side eject like you mention. Probably not a bad idea to do it.

The project looks great. Neat that the veneer bent like that. Impressive.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View lanwater's profile


3072 posts in 1530 days

#2 posted 183 days ago

A side ejection would be cool!

I didn’t realized the veneer bend until Steve mentioned it.
Everything is lined up so perfectly.
Paul, I am focused on the hinge now. I will stay focus for a while.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View gfadvm's profile


10533 posts in 1286 days

#3 posted 183 days ago

Everyone else may focus on the top but you know I’m all about the hinge! It is just spectacular!!!

You have taken the “Shipwright Hinge” to a whole new level.

GREAT job.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View chrisstef's profile (online now)


10365 posts in 1602 days

#4 posted 183 days ago

Wonderful work Paul. Continually amazed by your knack of picking things up and wrapping your brain around them instantly. This time, all those new hand tools.

LJ Wally just made some side ejecting planes recently if im remembering right.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View JayT's profile


2076 posts in 807 days

#5 posted 183 days ago

Wow, Paul, impressive! I’d agree that side-ejection would make your life much easier.

-- "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835

View tsangell's profile


208 posts in 1289 days

#6 posted 183 days ago

A “conical escapement” is what you need to eject those shavings. I think Caleb James or Matt Bickford had a blog post about it somewhere in the blogosphere… to the Googles!

View Karson's profile


34852 posts in 2996 days

#7 posted 183 days ago

A 6” dust collector hose taped to the side should get those shavings out of the way also.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware †

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7617 posts in 2648 days

#8 posted 183 days ago

COOL way of hiding your hinge…

COOL plane…

Thank you.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View shipwright's profile


4832 posts in 1394 days

#9 posted 183 days ago

Thanks for the comments.

Steve, It actually wasn’t that hard. I made the cut with a knife, took a few passes with the plane, deepened the cut, a few more passes….. repeat, repeat. Nice shavings and nice sounds. I could get hooked.

A “conical escapement” is a pretty easy mod. I just have to be sure I get it on the correct side for a right handed user.
I realize that with grain direction and all neither side will always be right but I think the logo side would be correct more often for me.

Karson, that’s a really good idea but then I wouldn’t be able to hear the shavings. :-)

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

View Greg The Cajun Box Sculptor's profile

Greg The Cajun Box Sculptor

4928 posts in 1904 days

#10 posted 183 days ago

Quite a piece of artwork Paul… Your precision and fine work always impresses me.
I also look forward to seeing the top and finished product…

-- Every step of each project is considered my masterpiece because I want the finished product to reflect the quality of my work.

View lightweightladylefty's profile


2592 posts in 2308 days

#11 posted 183 days ago


You just never quit out-doing yourself! Can’t wait to see the top.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View stefang's profile


12537 posts in 1930 days

#12 posted 183 days ago

Great work with that veneer Paul. I’m still pretty worried about even beginning to work with those thin veneers, while you seem to have already mastered them in such in the short time since you began with marquetry. It seems to me that the shavings opening on your plane is very small in relation to the old wooden planes I’ve seen, although I don’t profess to know much about them. The box looks really good so far and the hinge veneer is brilliant. I can’t wait to see what you do with the lid.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View tinnman65's profile


1104 posts in 2010 days

#13 posted 182 days ago

Well done Paul, It would seem your always up for a challenge. I finally got myself a glue pot and some hide glue know I just have to start playing with it to get comfortable using it. Cant wait to see what you have planed for the top.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View Roger's profile


14094 posts in 1400 days

#14 posted 182 days ago

Super kool Paul. I agree with Andy

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6646 posts in 2575 days

#15 posted 182 days ago

Hey Paul,

You getting paid by the hour on this? LOL

I know the appeal of hand tools, especially home made ones is pretty strong, but I don’t think I would have the patience to go to this extreme.

Nice work, as is expected from you!


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

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