Mortiseing brass hinges

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Forum topic by itsmic posted 01-11-2011 07:30 PM 1062 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1419 posts in 3117 days

01-11-2011 07:30 PM

Topic tags/keywords: jig question

Hi Everyone I have been at it for about 3 years now, 2010 being my most productive and progressive so far. I have mortised my hinges from the start with few exceptions, and done them without any jig. I use a dremel with a router base attachment, scribe out the hinge lines with a utility knife, then router to proper depth. then set the hinge on and use a sharp punch to center the screw hole location, then drill a hole for the screw, unless it is pretty soft wood, where I can just put the screw in, maybe with some wax to make it go easier. I have gotten pretty good at being precise with each of these steps to ensure a perfect closing lid, but seem to always have to do some minor adjustments to make it fit just right. I have wondered weather buying a jig for cutting the mortise and setting the screw holes is worth it or not, I was thinking by the time I get a jig set up and in place, it might take even more time, given the sizes of my boxes is always changing, plus I use thin wood on many of my boxes, about 3/8” sometimes 5/16”. I’m not sure of what guarantee of accuracy I would get with a jig. If anyone has had similar experiences, and has some input on the subject, or has had good luck with a particular jig, I would be grateful to hear from you on this subject. Thanks in advance for any responses. It’s Mic

-- It's Mic Keep working and sharing

4 replies so far

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3049 days

#1 posted 01-18-2011 02:38 AM


It would seem to me that you have answered your own question. You’ve gotten quick AND precise, two usually mutually exclusive terms. A jig of any kind would involve a couple negative elements, another learning curve, more risk of mistakes, and the bruising you would give yourself in the area of your gluteus maximus for wasting money. I’d stick with what works.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 3245 days

#2 posted 01-18-2011 09:23 AM

Well, as jigs were explained to me years ago, they’re for two kinds of people. People without the skill to do something, like dovetails or mortises, or people doing lots of them, production work. Neither one fits you. Spend your money on something else. I’m sure there’s some other tool that’s calling your name.

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

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343 posts in 2872 days

#3 posted 01-18-2011 02:33 PM

Hi Mic. Here’s an old post that deals with your subject. I personally like the second reply. It is about how Doug Stowe approaches this problem in one of his books. Take a piece of scrap about a 1/4” thick and at least as long as your box and trim it to be exactly the length of your box. Set your table saw blade height to be the depth of the leaf of the hinge. Nibble away a notch in the stick so that the hinge fits inside it precisely. Make sure this notch is located where you want the hinges to be on the finished box. Chuck up a small straight bit in your router table and set the height of the bit to be the thickness of your hinge leaf. Rest your setup stick on the router table touching an inside corner of the notch, adjust your fence to touch your setup stick, and clamp stop blocks on your router table fence using the setup stick as a guide. Carefully route out the hinge recess for one side of the box and one side of the lid. Flip the setup stick the other way and reposition your stop blocks for the other two recesses. Clean up the corners with a sharp chisel.

-- Al, Culpeper VA

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1419 posts in 3117 days

#4 posted 01-27-2011 02:30 AM

Time flies, I forgot all about my even asking the question, I want to thank you all for your responses, I appreciate the input, and will take all opinions under consideration, thanks again for sharing

-- It's Mic Keep working and sharing

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