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From log to box in less than a month #6: Becoming (almost) unhinged over hinges

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Blog entry by sras posted 05-09-2013 02:58 PM 1169 reads 1 time favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Wrapping up construction (almost) Part 6 of From log to box in less than a month series Part 7: Wrap up! »

Well, I thought this would only take one evening, but it was more like 3 evenings and a morning!

The hinges arrived from Lee Valley on Monday on time.

From past experience, I knew the #4 screws are a little small in diameter and were going to be too long for the lids. Last time I used #6, but they were a little big and I had to open up the countersinks to get them to fit. This time I went with #5 screws – 1/2 inch for the lid and 3/4” for the box.

Now that the hinges are on hand, I can cut the notch in the lid. I used a support to keep the lid level. Then slowly increase the blade height to the desired cut depth and do the same with the fence.

I then set up my ShopSmith as a drill press. It took a little jig work to get the lid to be level and allow a controlled depth of the drill bit. Since the bottom of the lid is the only square surface, I had to reference off of that.

I had enough room for the 1/2 inch screw, but I wasn’t going to take any chances. I filed the tip down to give a little extra clearance.

I also used a steel screw to drive into each hole first. These brass screws can break at the worst times!

I then scribed the hinge location onto the box.

After some careful chisel work, I had my hinge recesses cut. So far, everything is going smoothly. I was feeling like I might even get to the first coat of finish on Monday evening.

It was not meant to be…

The first time I got the screws in the box, the lid would not even close! The hinges had shifted to one side so much that the lid no longer lined up with the features on the box. It took some studying to understand that my holes were slightly out of position and that forced the hinges to the side.

I ended up going to bed wondering how to move the holes and end up with perfectly located new holes. The fit between the lid and box is really close.

The next morning (Tuesday), I realized I could try to shim the hinges back into place before I tried to move the holes. One thing I do is save every scrap no matter how small.

I took a thin strip and trimmed it to size.

After a couple test fits, I found that I needed two shims.

With the hinges held firmly in place, the screws settled into a more agreeable location. Now the lid would close, but there was too much binding to allow it close all the way. At least I could go to work knowing I had made progress.

Tuesday evening was spent dialing in the fit of that first lid. There are about 12 interfaces that can possibly bind. It took A WHOLE LOT of test fits to find the interferences. One trick I use is to lay a strip of paper in and see if it binds.

I finally got the first lid to close – well pretty good, there was a slight gap as the lid still would not close all the way.

I shifted my attention to the second box. I did a better job of getting the hinge mortise located, but I did not drive my steel screw in far enough and …

This is getting to be a long process. I chose to be thankful that I still had 3 screws that worked. I spent the rest of that night getting that lid to close – but it was another session of A WHOLE LOT of test fits and adjustments. In the end, it was the same as the first lid – I could push the lid shut, but it would spring back up a bit. There were still some areas that were binding on each lid.

Wednesday morning I needed to get to work early, so everything had to sit until last night.

There aren’t any pictures of the fitting process – it would just be the same picture over and over and over … with the slightest change in how far the lid closes.

Last night, I finally found the last interference – fortunately it was the same issue on both lids! At last some good luck.

I then turned my attention to the broken screw. I could have just glued the broken piece in place and relied on one screw, but I decided to drill out the broken piece with an oversize bit.

Then I went back to my scrap pile and shaped a fill piece.

The fix worked well. What I thought would be a couple hours of routine work turned out to be about 5 times that. But, in the end the hinges fit. I even had time last night to get 2 coats of sanding sealer on! It helps that it dries so quickly.

I do have some finish flaws to fix. Then I move on the the top coats and build up some gloss. I still need fabric floors and covers for the bottoms. One week to go!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive



20 comments so far

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

4983 posts in 1456 days


#1 posted 05-09-2013 03:44 PM

You are doing a great job Steve, with the boxes and with the blog.

These are some of the reasons I like my wooden hinges so much. They always fit, can’t miss really but I know they’re not for everyone. I get a lot of credit for being patient but really I’m not at all. I have nothing but admiration for the patience and determination you showed here getting through what must have been a very frustrating process.

All that aside you appear to be in the home stretch of a very successful double build.

Kudos !

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

View sras's profile

sras

3845 posts in 1787 days


#2 posted 05-09-2013 04:25 PM

Thanks Paul! When I was younger, I used to get frustrated – that took too much energy ;)

It feels like the home stretch…

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View stefang's profile

stefang

13054 posts in 1992 days


#3 posted 05-09-2013 04:27 PM

Too bad you had those hinge problems Steve. I have been down that road myself a few time and I know how it feels, FRUSTRATING!!!. I too have been using wooden hinges on my boxes for many years now just because of the aggravation I’ve experienced with the brass ones. The important thing though is that you overcame the problems and you can now relish your success. The boxes are looking awfully good. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished products. Your blog on this has been very enjoyable in spite of the mental torment of those doggone hinges!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

3634 posts in 2392 days


#4 posted 05-09-2013 04:41 PM

I admire your perseverance, sras!
I’d strongly recommend ‘Vix bits’, which is a set of drill bits, each sheathed in a spring-loaded tube with a chamfered end. The chamfer mates to the holes of your pre-positioned hinge. The pilot holes you drill for your hinges will be dead-on ever after.
I usually cheat a little bit with solid brass screws, I pick a larger drill bit after Vix boring, a size that’s just barely snug to the screw, and squeeze in a little white glue. Makes for less tension on the screw, and it is a nice permanent fit once in. and, it will unscrew if necessary, even after the glue is dried.
I use a ‘hollow’ drill bit, don’t even know what they’re called, [edit: screw extractor] it is a small section of metal tube with a sawtooth profile at one end, like a plug cutter almost, and with it I can easily drill out a snapped-off screw. Plug with a dowel, and nobody will ever know…
Kudos to you also, sir, for using a slotted head screw! Makes for a nice, classic heritage look on your casework.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View sras's profile

sras

3845 posts in 1787 days


#5 posted 05-09-2013 04:42 PM

Thanks Mike – It took a LOT longer than I planned, but it was an interesting process. It was very much a multi-dimensional problem and took a good deal of problem solving skills.

I had considered wood hinges, but given the time frame for this project, I didn’t want to try too many new things. I have another box project on the list that looks to be a good candidate for wooden hinges…

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Paul's profile

Paul

345 posts in 2247 days


#6 posted 05-09-2013 04:45 PM

I’ll bet the next two boxes go much faster, benefits of experience. Shoot for two weeks?

-- If you say 'It's good enough', it probably isn't.

View sras's profile

sras

3845 posts in 1787 days


#7 posted 05-09-2013 04:46 PM

Thanks pk! I knew of Vix bits, but I could not remember the name! I need to get a set.

I have been considering using a drop of epoxy to reinforce the screws, but I think I’ll use your white glue tip – makes more sense. Thanks!

Yeah, slotted heads can be a bit more challengin, but they DO look good!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View sras's profile

sras

3845 posts in 1787 days


#8 posted 05-09-2013 04:47 PM

Funny Paul! I’m thinking that I should pick up the donated wood a couple weeks earlier!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View SPalm's profile

SPalm

4820 posts in 2540 days


#9 posted 05-09-2013 04:58 PM

Yea!
The home stretch is a good thing.

Dang I hate hinges. My last two boxes have lift off lids :)

Steve

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

3634 posts in 2392 days


#10 posted 05-09-2013 05:03 PM

Yeah, there are other brands of guided bits, but you can’t replace the drill bits themselves, so Vix is the way to go. I’ve got 3 sizes, one is big enough for house doors, the 2 smaller sizes do everything else. With these and the aforementioned screw extractor, you’ve conquered 95% of metal hinge problems… getting the hinge mortise depth dead on is the final challenge. You’ll be getting it right on your first try on your next projects. And then the problem becomes ‘what to have for lunch’. Anxious to see pics of the finished work!!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View sras's profile

sras

3845 posts in 1787 days


#11 posted 05-09-2013 05:05 PM

Steve – I kept thinking about Ellen’s comment on the first post and how she was interest in how the hinges work out. All these tight fits made for extra work. I’ll be seriously considering lift off lids in the future ;)

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View sras's profile

sras

3845 posts in 1787 days


#12 posted 05-09-2013 05:06 PM

pk- I always like to think about what is for lunch ;)

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

3634 posts in 2392 days


#13 posted 05-09-2013 05:11 PM

Spoiler alert!! I couldn’t remember what I paid for my Vix bit set, so I went on Ebay….”Vix” is also the name of a lingerie/bikini manufacturer, LOL the pix!! Hootchie Mama! Be careful if anyone is looking over your shoulder!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View sras's profile

sras

3845 posts in 1787 days


#14 posted 05-09-2013 05:32 PM

(laughing) – thanks!! I am at work (still laughing)

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View justoneofme's profile

justoneofme

616 posts in 1137 days


#15 posted 05-09-2013 06:22 PM

Hi Steve … you’ve sure met some challenges head on with persistence, perseverance, and patience!! Very admirable!! Some of our best work takes longer than anticipated, but well worth the extra time you spent to get those hinges just right.
I agree with poopiekat (just love that handle!!) about the Vix screw extractor. Works like a charm (experience talking!). You have to be so careful when searching the Internet, eh? That would be ‘Vix’ ... not Vixen!!! LOL!
Looking forward to seeing every little bit and piece put together for the final viewing Steve!

-- Elaine in Duncan

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