Hinge mortise depth

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Forum topic by JADobson posted 07-23-2016 10:36 PM 1272 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1209 posts in 2260 days

07-23-2016 10:36 PM

Topic tags/keywords: hinge mortise

Hi everybody,
I think I know the answer to this but I wanted to check it against the collective wisdom of LJs.
I’m building a chuck box for my brother and he needs to keep costs down. I bought some fairly inexpensive brass hinges and am not terribly impressed with them. Here is a photo:

As you can see, when the hinge is closed the sides are not parallel. In this case should I mortise each side of my casework and door half the width of the hinge when the sides are parallel? That way when the doors are closed the hinge will look like this:

I think that I I only mortise the hinge to the depth of the hinge leaf I will have gaps between the door and the casework. Correct, right?

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

5 replies so far

View MrRon's profile


5090 posts in 3393 days

#1 posted 07-23-2016 11:26 PM

Yes! Depth of hinge leaf.

View Kazooman's profile


1153 posts in 2102 days

#2 posted 07-23-2016 11:57 PM

Not certain that I understand MrRon’s response, but here is my take on the issue. If you want the two mating surfaces of the lid and box to meet and lie flush, then you have to make the TOTAL depth of the mortises equal to the thickness of the hinge as measured when the two leaves are parallel. That is just what you proposed. You can divide this up however you want from each being equally relieved into the parts, to one mortised flush and the other cut in deeper, to one surface mounted proud of the piece with the other deeper still. They will all work, although there are some instances where you need to watch for the clearance of the edges as the lid is opened. This is an issue about where the barrel of the hinge is placed. Get it too close to the edge of the lid and the lid may bind. Sometimes the edges of the case and top are chamfered to allow for any problems. In any case, one or both of the leaves of the hinge will need to be mortised in such a way that the leaf is below the surface of the piece. It does work, however, it really doesn’t look very good. That is why this is not a good choice for a hinge to use in this situation. A better choice is a hinge that is designed to have both leaves mortised into the pieces to their thickness.

View diverlloyd's profile


3128 posts in 2007 days

#3 posted 07-24-2016 01:17 AM

You need the parallel measurement and mortise to that. Lots of trial and error. You can mortise one one side flush and then do the rest on the other side. Or the other option is to put them in a vise and get it to were the wings lay flat against each other.

View MrRon's profile


5090 posts in 3393 days

#4 posted 07-24-2016 04:23 PM

Kazooman is correct. I stand corrected. That type of hinge is for a “door” application where there is a “reveal” all around, as in a cabinet door. For your box, either mount that hinge as a “surface” mount or find a different type of hinge.

View JADobson's profile


1209 posts in 2260 days

#5 posted 07-25-2016 07:39 PM

Thanks everyone.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

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