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Help with Hinges

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Forum topic by swampjack80 posted 12-15-2010 04:13 AM 1372 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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swampjack80

53 posts in 2509 days


12-15-2010 04:13 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tip question trick

Does anybody have any tips that will make aligning hinges easier for me? I’ve made a couple boxes and a toybox that require the tops to be flush with the box and I can’t get them to line up flush. Any help would be much appreciated.

-- "I believe that our Heavenly Father invented man because he was disappointed in the monkey." - Mark Twain


9 replies so far

View JSZ's profile

JSZ

37 posts in 2523 days


#1 posted 12-15-2010 07:03 AM

If the problem is that the hinges are keeping the tops proud of the boxes, then you are not setting them deeply enough. To remedy this, use a dial caliper to measure the thickest part of the hinge – typically that will be the barrel – and then divide that number in half. This result is the required depth of each hinge leaf.

If that isn’t the issue, maybe you could add a little detail to your question.

-- -- Do Good Work. Jeff Zens, Custom Built Furniture, Salem, OR. http://jszcbf.wordpress.com

View cabs4less's profile

cabs4less

235 posts in 2223 days


#2 posted 12-15-2010 07:43 AM

if the problem is the mortise postion i use a story stick take a stick that is the exact same lenght of the lid and bow and cut notches in the stick that are the exact same widht and depth as you hinges and are in the same postion on the stick that you want on the box then just use this stick to scribe your mortise location on the lid and box. no measuring means no mis-measuring

-- As Best I Can

View William's profile

William

9906 posts in 2303 days


#3 posted 12-15-2010 11:38 AM

For things such as toy boxes, I gave up the hassle of mortising for hinges. I just use a piano hinge, sometimes called a continuous hinge, on the back of it. Just set your id where you want it. Sometimes clamping it in place helped to make sure it doesn’t move. I place my hinge where I want it, hold it in place in several places with masking tape. Predrill for the screws. Install screws. Done. The lid sits flush, and from the boxes I’ve built, it’s been my time tested theory that the piano hinge will outlast conventional hinges on large boxes and chests such as these. They do cost a little more than regular hinges, but are worth it to me.
Also, since they work so well on large boxes and chests, I have started also using them on smaller boxes such as jewelry boxes and such.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2311 days


#4 posted 12-15-2010 06:21 PM

I’d like to try to help but need a little more detailed description of the project and the desired result and the actual result. Pictures, too, if that’s easy to do.

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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swampjack80

53 posts in 2509 days


#5 posted 12-16-2010 07:07 AM

sorry for not explaining myself thoroughly. The mortises aren’t the problem, at least the depth part isn’t. My problem is the actual alignment of the top with the box. For example, set a lid on a box with it flush on all 4 sides, now turn it slightly..thats what my box looks like. I’ll add some pics tomorrow when I get a chance. I can’t seem to get the hinges aligned correctly to where my box lid is flush on all 4 sides with the box. hope this explains things a little better.

-- "I believe that our Heavenly Father invented man because he was disappointed in the monkey." - Mark Twain

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JSZ

37 posts in 2523 days


#6 posted 12-16-2010 07:24 AM

This sounds to me like a squareness issue.

Assuming that your box and the lid are, in fact, square (and you should measure the diagonals to verify this) then the hinges are probably not installed squarely to the lid, the box, or perhaps both.

I don’t know of any tricks to ensure square installations other than slow, careful and precise work, and the use of an accurate square. When you’re marking out the mortises, make a little tick mark where one short edge of the hinge will be located and then use a good square with your marking knife to continue this layout line as long as it needs to be. Hold the hinge in place along this knife line and mark the rest of the mortise layout lines directly from the hinge.

The other thing that could be pulling your hinges out of square is imprecise drilling for the mounting screws. I use Vix bits (self-centering drill bits meant for hinge mounting) to locate the hole using my hand-held drill. Then I finish drilling all the holes with a properly sized drill bit chucked in my drill press. If you don’t have a drill press, I would still recommend the correct size Vix bit for the hinges you are using, and just be careful to drill the holes as straight as you can.

Hope this helps….good luck.

-- -- Do Good Work. Jeff Zens, Custom Built Furniture, Salem, OR. http://jszcbf.wordpress.com

View William's profile

William

9906 posts in 2303 days


#7 posted 12-16-2010 04:52 PM

Ok. Now that you explain it more, I think I know exactly what your problem is, and you are far from the first one to have it. I have run into that often and tried everything to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Then guess what? It happens again.
More than likely, either your box, your lid, or both are like one or two degrees off from square. It is easy to do simply by not being perfect, which none of us are. I have tried every method there is to combat this problem with no satisfactory results. So I have stopped designing lids that way.
Instead, now I make my lids with a lip that extends down over the top of the box. My method, I build my lid one inch larger than the box on three sides. That’s one inch for the front and two inches for the length, one for each side. Then I use three quarter thick wood of the same species (sometimes) that hangs down as much as you see fit. I usually let mine hang down about an inch. Then just glue, nail, or both, the trim all the way around the three sides of the lid, under it. I like to sand mine so the corners and edges are slfotened up withour the sharp edges. Install your piano hinge and any imperfections can’t be seen without turning the box upside down and doing some very careful measurements.
I don’t know if I’m helping or not. It all depends on how much you worry about complete accuracy. I am very anal retetive about accuracy I’ve been told. However, I’ve learrned that I have to stop sweating the small stuff and leave my desires for accuracy for more important areas. For things like what you’re talking about, one degree off is fine with me as long as on the finished product, I’m the only one who knows it.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

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dbray45

3178 posts in 2237 days


#8 posted 12-16-2010 07:45 PM

I screw the hinges on the bottom, using 2-4 business card thicknesses and a small piece of wax paper between the hinge plates to make the lid stand proud the thickness of a business card. Place a small drop of slow crazy glue on the lid side of the hinge plate, put the lid on top, square it up and put some wieght on it so the hinge plates compress. After about 15 minutes, carefully open the lid, using centering drills, make the pilot holes and screw top hinge plates and lid together. If the hinges do not have a lot of slop, should be good. If the hingles are not straight on the box, they will bind, squeak, or break the glue joint when you open the box. If you are unsure if the hinges are square, just put one screw in the bottom plate and when you open the box one of the hinges will move, may break the glue joint but it will try to align. The crazy glue will not stick to the wax paper.

If it is critical that the top always align when closed, put a rounded lip around the inside of the bottom that the lid fits over.

Hope this gives you some ideas. This works for me 90% of the time – the other 10% I went too fast and did something stupid like glue the hinge plates together or glue the bottom to the top.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2311 days


#9 posted 12-16-2010 08:38 PM

Terrific response to the question, David. That’s a sophisticated and failure proof procedure. You’re a credit to the forum, for sure.

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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