Hand Tools Adventure #4: The Stealth Hinge

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 01-21-2014 12:45 AM 2687 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 fibreglass trees.

20 comments so far

View SPalm's profile


5321 posts in 3935 days

#1 posted 01-21-2014 12:56 AM

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


3111 posts in 2987 days

#2 posted 01-21-2014 01:33 AM

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


14940 posts in 2743 days

#3 posted 01-21-2014 01:34 AM

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


17484 posts in 3059 days

#4 posted 01-21-2014 01:42 AM

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.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View JayT's profile


5713 posts in 2264 days

#5 posted 01-21-2014 02:30 AM

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

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View tsangell's profile


216 posts in 2746 days

#6 posted 01-21-2014 02:35 AM

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


35128 posts in 4454 days

#7 posted 01-21-2014 03:22 AM

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 soon moving to Virginia †

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10152 posts in 4105 days

#8 posted 01-21-2014 04:18 AM

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


8006 posts in 2851 days

#9 posted 01-21-2014 04:31 AM

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 fibreglass trees.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3362 days

#10 posted 01-21-2014 05:10 AM

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…

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3243 posts in 3765 days

#11 posted 01-21-2014 08:11 AM


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


15881 posts in 3387 days

#12 posted 01-21-2014 09:51 AM

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


1358 posts in 3467 days

#13 posted 01-21-2014 12:02 PM

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


20929 posts in 2857 days

#14 posted 01-21-2014 12:33 PM

Super kool Paul. I agree with Andy

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

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6860 posts in 4033 days

#15 posted 01-21-2014 02:17 PM

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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