Old School Mortised in Butt Hinge #3: The Montage: part one the Fitting

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Blog entry by Waldschrat posted 02-27-2010 04:59 PM 11410 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: The Mortising Part 3 of Old School Mortised in Butt Hinge series Part 4: The Montage: part two the Fixing »

The Montage, (building in and mounting for those who are curious what “Montage” means) of a butt hinge door. I like to use the word Montage, because it comes off the lips easier and is a great general term used to describe, all “on site” work, mounting, fixing, cleaning up , whatever necessary to complete the build in. Just a personal thing probably… anyway, this is about mouting in, aligning and fixing the door with a butt hinge.

In the last blog we covered how we “let in” or “mortised in” hinge in the door. Now, we can do this two ways… we can go on ahead, with our door still clamped in fix the hinges with the screws, which is risky, especially since we are, in this specific project, mating new door and hinge leaves with old frame and the old hinges. So option two is do this on site.

If we have mortised new pieces in the frame, and we are 100% certian that the hinges in the frames are straight… we can avoid unecessary work on site( montage work). This is a good thing normally, because it always impresses customers, when the profi comes in and mounts his work, quick, effortless and with minimal dust and mess, then leaves. Sometimes, as in this example its unavoidable… as usually the case when re fitting elements that are built in to old houses or fixtures. As I mentioned, unfortunately we can not avoid this here.

First things first… this is definetly not new for those profi’s out there, but its always good to sit and think about the steps I have to go through and tools I will need for the montage of the door. For me it saves time to have a tool box/tote that is portable where I can easily carry in one hand that has the tools I would need for the building in, fixing and a light clean up… the rest can stay in the truck/van/whatever transportation.

For this job we need:

Drill bits (drill index)
Cordless drill
Bits (for screws)
Screws for hinges (checked for size before leaving shop)
Pencil, sharpener, eraser,
Small hand broom and dust pan
Folding rule or steel rule
heavy wood block or portable vise, or chunk steel.

So lets take a look at the old door

So we see that this door is well made, has a couple coats of paint and is built around 100 years ago (circa 1912 when house was built), but no longer to the new design of the kitchen and should be replaced (not thown out, but stored, thats why we needed to build new hinges in the new door, so we do not destroy the old one takeing the original ones out).

With the hinges inserted and the old door removed and pencil in easy reach we want to mount the door and see how it sits in the frame.

then we mark the hinge on the front so we can see how deep it needs to sit in the frame so it closes nicely and sits properly (not crooked).

Sorry about the blurry photos, its not easy one handed! ;-)

Ok hinges marked on the edge where they go into the frame, this is important that we do this as accurate as possible.

So from the front it looks pretty good,

but whats this, from the side the door does not close properly, well thats very likely when its an old house and every thing has settled a bit over the years. Especially in areas where earthquakes are present! California for example.

So what do we do? The easiest and best thing is to bend the hinges a bit, a few, well place, love taps oughta’ do the trick! Thats why we brought along our hammer, heavy wood block, chunk of steel or in available a portable vise.

We have to clamp the hinge EXACTLY on the line we made across the front of the hinge so that we “kink” it exactly at this point. Its imporant we do this right the first time, because the hinges will only take so much pounding and bending before they surrender themselves to the scrapheap.

This is an area (bending hinges to fit) that, ironically, takes some feeling. Too much and its not good, too little it means another trip to the vise. We need to bend the hinge so its not obvious and looks good, and gets the job done. no problem.

So here is the finished product, with a nice, from the factory looking, clean, crease in the hinge leaf… we need to put it in and see how the door closes again… with a a little luck, and dash of skill, it should fit like a hand in a glove!

Ok now the door

-- Nicholas, Cabinet/Furniture Maker, Blue Hill, Maine

5 comments so far

View patron's profile


13722 posts in 4672 days

#1 posted 02-27-2010 05:45 PM

great tutorial ,

like i said earlier ,

i sure an glad we don’t use these hinges anymore !

mortising leaf hinges is enough trouble .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Waldschrat's profile


505 posts in 4767 days

#2 posted 02-27-2010 06:07 PM

Thanks David, but you know what, its worth it! well I think so anyway. I believe one just has to get used to work/designs like this one, then its just everyday at the office type stuff.

Thanks for following the blog though!

-- Nicholas, Cabinet/Furniture Maker, Blue Hill, Maine

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4446 days

#3 posted 02-27-2010 07:51 PM

Hello Nicholas
It´s realy a great blog you have done
on this subject
this is one of those that no skilled people (like me) can read and think
I can do that
becourse you made such a fine picturebook to your writing I don´t think
there is no one who will come in too much truoble if they ever had to
fix one of those old hinge/doors
you are absolutly a cabacity in teaching other people how to do it
so I don´t think you need the scool before you can have apprenticees
under your wings


View Waldschrat's profile


505 posts in 4767 days

#4 posted 02-27-2010 08:09 PM

I appreciate that very much Dennis!

The main thing is that you have fun reading and that probably I can help someone who is interested in woodwork. But there is much I still need to learn, in fact I do not think one is ever finished learning.

Thanks again, I will keep posting!

-- Nicholas, Cabinet/Furniture Maker, Blue Hill, Maine

View HorstPeter's profile


121 posts in 4160 days

#5 posted 05-15-2011 08:52 PM

Amusingly I found this posting through google when searching for Fitscheneisen. I’m looking at/buying some tools from someone locally (his late fathers tools) and on some photos I got I saw those “weird chisels” and remembered seeing one a while ago on the net and managed to remember the name Fitscheneisen after some hard thinking.
Thanks for this tutorial blog on this forgotten tool. I’m kind of tempted to get them, but I might have to prioritize some others right now. Certainly seems like something that is good to have and could even be used for other purposes.


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