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Blog entry by Carl Henderson posted 06-21-2009 03:56 AM 2216 reads 5 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have been making furniture for about 3 years and have found that selecting and installing hinges is always a challenge for me and more time consuming than I would like.

Can anyone recommend a good reference that explains the different types of hinges and their specific advantages and usages as well as any “tricks” for proper installation?

-- Softouch

6 comments so far

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3792 days

#1 posted 06-21-2009 04:12 AM

not sure about any place like what youre looking for. but just as a word of advice good hinges make a big difference. i like to get mine from horton basses and they are a whole world above box store ones.

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3601 days

#2 posted 06-21-2009 04:47 AM

Charles Neil has a good DVD that handles installing locks and hinges . Horton brass are quality hinges you can also get them from lee valley and woodcraft.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View jlsmith5963's profile


297 posts in 3372 days

#3 posted 06-21-2009 06:25 AM

Carl – these links should shine some light on the tricky nature of installing hinges (and if they don’t well at least it will eat up a lot of time digging through all, lol)

Shop Notes’ Small box hinge installing trick

Whitechapel’s installing Box hinges

Whitechapel’s installing Quadrant hinges

Charles Lewton-Brain (a jeweler) has an in depth take on hinges

David Knipfer demonstrates installing 5mm barrel hinges

Doug Stowe tips on hinges

Doug Stowe’s Taunton’s complete illustrated guide to box making (Google Books)

Robert J. Settich’s Taunton’s complete illustrated guide to choosing & installing hardware (Google Books)

David M. Freedman’s Box-making basics (Google Books)

Timothy Rousseau’s video on building a Frame-and-Panel Cabinet with low-profile hinges the hinges installation is part 10 (this is part of Fine Woodworking free content)

-- criticism: the art of analyzing and evaluating the quality of an artistic work...

View Carl Henderson's profile

Carl Henderson

22 posts in 3286 days

#4 posted 06-21-2009 05:25 PM

Thanks guys …

-- Softouch

View RBWoodworker's profile


441 posts in 3376 days

#5 posted 06-21-2009 07:13 PM

Hello Carl..I’m Randy..I can tell you how I go about doing my hinges, since it works really well for me..

I first select the best hinges I can afford and are right for the job..I usually go with Brusso hinges for small boxes and horton brasses or Ball and Ball for my other hinges..

I start by placeing the hinge where is is suppose to go and secure it to the piece using a special bit called a vix bit which is a self centering guide with a drillbit in the center of it..make sure you use the proper size vix bit for your hinges, since there are several sizes available..and use the screws that came with the hinge to secure it to your piece. After it’s aligned true and secured.. take a scribbing knife and mark alongside of the hinge to get the profile of the hinge on your piece.. it will be only 3 sides that are marked..

after you have made a clean scribe mark..take a very sharp chisel that is almost the length of the sides of the hinge and align it in the scribe marks groove but make sure the flat side of the chisel is on the “outside” of the line that is going to be cleaned out for the hinge and give it a good hit with the mallet. do that for all 3 sides.. then take your chisel and from the inside of the area that is going to be mortised out.. bring your chisel about 1/8th from the line and chisel that out to the line so it looks like you have a “V” groove.. I then take my small trim router and put a small 1/4” straight bit and I use the hinge itself as a depth guide to set the depth of the base and very carefully freehand out the waste starting from the middle of the hinge area and working my way out to the sides so I have a rest for the router to sit on, making sure I’m extra careful NOT to cross my chiseled line.. after I have cleaned out the waste and am ready to install the hinges.. the screw holes I used to secure the hinge at teh beginning of my set up will line up the hinge in the slot you just made.. it works perfectly for me.

remove the hinge

-- Randall Child

View Carl Henderson's profile

Carl Henderson

22 posts in 3286 days

#6 posted 06-21-2009 10:29 PM

Thanks for the comments … I have some reading to do …

... and Randy, I have tried a variation of your technique, essentially to ldlimit the hinge mortise area with the chisel, and then clean it to depth … the problem I have with your suggestion to use the trim router is how to “see” where to go? ... I have more faith in my chisel skills …

... Now having said that, the real problem I have had is properly positioning the hinge in the first place, so that I avoid binding of the joint when closing ... this is the problem I had with my folding table … you can see this in my folding table project, where if you zoom in, you can see where I had cut (and filled) the original hinge mortise and then had to redo it on the other side …

-- Softouch

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