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Problem Centering Hinge Screws

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Forum topic by Jim Crockett (USN Retired) posted 01-19-2010 04:00 AM 3334 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 2391 days


01-19-2010 04:00 AM

I seem to be having a lot of problems lately centering the pilot holes for hinge screws for my boxes. The hinges are small (3/4” x 1”) and use #2 brass screws and even a small deviance from the actual center can throw the alignment of the box top off.

I don’t know whether my eyes are getting old like the rest of my body or what, but…..

I cut nice, precise mortises for the hinges on the router table using Doug Stowe’s “flipping story stick” method. Then comes the problem of centering the holes for the screws. I use a very sharp awl but apparently not very well! For larger screws, I use the self-centering bits (bix bits) but they don’t make one for #2 screws.

Am I the only one who has this problem? Do any of you have any suggestions? It’s quite frustrating to repeatedly drill and fill these tiny little holes!!!

Thanks,

Jim

-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".


26 replies so far

View GMman's profile

GMman

3902 posts in 2355 days


#1 posted 01-19-2010 04:10 AM

Very small hinges tends to move on you try a little bit of double face tape to hold them in place so you can punch a hole for your screws.

View closetguy's profile

closetguy

744 posts in 2550 days


#2 posted 01-19-2010 04:31 AM

I use to have the same problem and finally broke down and bought a set of three bit centering bits from Rockler. It solved all my problems with centering the pilot hole.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design changes....www.dgmwoodworks.com

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2306 days


#3 posted 01-19-2010 04:44 AM

I find that the self-centering bits when used slowly do a great job solving that problem.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Jim Crockett (USN Retired)'s profile

Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 2391 days


#4 posted 01-19-2010 05:08 AM

The smallest vix bit that I have found is 5/64” which is just a bit large for a #2 screw. Too bad!

Jim

-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile

FirehouseWoodworking

624 posts in 1931 days


#5 posted 01-19-2010 06:28 AM

My first choice is a vix bit. If the bit is too large, then I’ll switch to a spring-loaded self-centering punch. Just a small tap of the hammer will mark the center. Then a drill bit of appropriate size.

As you’ve probably already discovered, the darker grain markings (I can never remember if they are the summer or winter growth rings) tend to be harder than the adjoining light (and softer) wood. The center punch is usually enough to keep the drill bit from wandering.

Good luck.

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

5663 posts in 2086 days


#6 posted 01-19-2010 01:26 PM

+1 on Dave’s method.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Russel's profile

Russel

2199 posts in 2597 days


#7 posted 01-19-2010 01:44 PM

I hate hinges. The very problem you’re having is why very few of my boxes have hinges anymore. The little ones are really difficult to drill accurately and it’s complicated by the multiple prescriptions in my glasses.

-- Working at Woodworking http://www.VillageLaneFurniture.com

View dusty2's profile

dusty2

316 posts in 2087 days


#8 posted 01-19-2010 03:20 PM

I don’t often do projects that use hardware as small as what you are using…but…I developed a little trick that works well for what I do build. I secure the hinges in the pre-cut hinge mortise using a touch of hot melt. I then center punch and drill the holes for the screws..and then.. install the screws.

If I don’t heavy hand it, the hot melt secures the hinge in the desired location until the screws are in place.

-- Making Sawdust Safely

View stefang's profile

stefang

13057 posts in 1992 days


#9 posted 01-19-2010 07:48 PM

I just gave up on metal hinges and now make my own wooden ones. I have never been able to install small hinges without a lot of problems. I know, my skills are lacking.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jim Crockett (USN Retired)'s profile

Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 2391 days


#10 posted 01-19-2010 09:26 PM

Has anyone ever tried an appropriately sized transfer punch to create a center dimple? Just wondering if it would be worthwhile investing in a set.

Jim

-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2679 days


#11 posted 01-19-2010 09:41 PM

I find these gimlets helpful.
Sometimes power tools make it more difficult. <g>

This one is handy too.
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&p=32201&cat=1,43456

Bob

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Jim Crockett (USN Retired)'s profile

Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 2391 days


#12 posted 01-20-2010 12:05 AM

I had seen the Hinge Center Punch previously. I wrote to Lee Valley about it and they responded that it wouldn’t work in such a small hole. Drats!!! That would have been ideal.

Jim

-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2679 days


#13 posted 01-20-2010 12:10 AM

You could make one Jim. It just a pin with a spring on it.
Try the workings from an old ball point pen.

Bob

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View bigike's profile

bigike

4031 posts in 1946 days


#14 posted 01-20-2010 02:35 AM

that punch set might work i have one, i think? i also have the letter set too but i never used it the other puch set i use sometimes. What i do for hinges is eye it to the middle with a awl then i have a little hand drill that opperates by using your index finger and thumb to make it work and this is the best thing that works for me, sometimes. Ill try the punch set and let u know if u want?

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://www.icombadaniels@yahoo.com

View Dudley's profile

Dudley

742 posts in 1918 days


#15 posted 01-20-2010 02:58 AM

I use a pin drill as what bigike is describing. It will tighten on a 1/16” drill.

-- Dudley Young USN Retired. Sebastian, Fl.

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