Useful jigs for your shop #3: small mortise hinge jig for boxes etc.

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Blog entry by Bob #2 posted 12-02-2010 12:53 AM 12685 reads 8 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: A landing apron for your miter jig. Part 3 of Useful jigs for your shop series no next part

I’ve been struggling with fitting brass hinges into softer woods that I seem to work with today against my better judgment.
By the time I have the mortise cut for the hinge I find that usually a portion of the mortise has either fallen away, been crushed by my chisels, or a combination of both leaving an unsightly gash into which I have to place my hinge.
I’ve been looking at this jig as outlined in ShopNotes volume #12 No. 74.

From hinge jig

From hinge jig

From hinge jig

From hinge jig

The principle of this jig relies upon your router having a square base with exact sides. In my case I am waiting for a new router and used my roto zip that happens to have a 4 inch base attached from a previous job.

From hinge jig

The first thing you need to do is determine where you need your hinge to sit in the wood. I laid a couple of hinges up as shown and marked their positions with a sharp pencil.

From hinge jig

Next I opened the gate on the jig and fitted each hinge to the exact opening. Next the depth of the hinge was set using a side gauge on the jig.
From hinge jig

Once the frame is lined up with the dimensions of the hinge the depth of cut is set for the router bit to match the thickness of the brass hinge being used. I actually made the mortise inset slightly deeper than the hinge so I could lightly sand away the milled edges giving me a cleaner mortise .
The last picture pretty much speaks for itself.
As shown, a 2 1/4 inch mortise on the left and the three-quarter inch mortise on the right and both are more than acceptable by my standards.

From hinge jig

You canwatch a demo of this jig here:

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

10 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

25940 posts in 4119 days

#1 posted 12-02-2010 03:34 AM

Nice hinge jig. You’re a man after my own heart. I have a very similar jig but mine will only do 3 1/2” regular door hinges. But it is the same principle and I use a 6” base router. I love mine! I just used it when installing a door at my daughter’s house. I went down there and measured the old door hinge locations. I was recycling a door from our house so I had to plug the old hinge mortices and cut new ones to the dimensions I took. That bugger fit right in there like it came with the frame.

Thanks for sharing your fixture. I’ll bet a lot of guys will make one now!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View jackass's profile


350 posts in 4726 days

#2 posted 12-02-2010 03:48 AM

Sorry I can’t help, intriguing post though. I was amazed at the forgiveness of hardwood versus soft wood when I first used maple. I try to use maple and oak for most of my projects. Looks like a very workable jig. Good luck sorting this out.

-- Jack Keefe Shediac NB Canada

View Karson's profile


35270 posts in 5414 days

#3 posted 12-02-2010 04:01 AM

Bob: A great looking jig and the results and what you wanted.

Thanks for the tip.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 5035 days

#4 posted 12-02-2010 05:31 AM

Thanks for the encouragement fellas.

Jim: I think I will follow your lead on the larger jig as I have 4 doors to do in the future and don’t want to spend a lot for a pro jig for such a small list of projects.
This one came in at about $6.00 and my time.

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

View Moron's profile


5048 posts in 4907 days

#5 posted 12-02-2010 06:00 AM

I use a pencil

butt hinges are a bitch at the best of times

good luck with that jig Bob

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View rance's profile


4277 posts in 4174 days

#6 posted 12-02-2010 06:19 AM

Bob, that looks REAL slick. I’m gonna haf to build one of those. Thanks for posting it all in detail.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6873 posts in 4993 days

#7 posted 12-02-2010 02:53 PM

Hi Bob;

I have to wonder how you are working in softwood, against your better judgement. Who’s judgement is causing you to do it anyway? LOL

Nice jig. Very effective.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 5035 days

#8 posted 12-02-2010 03:26 PM

Hi Lee:
I take it you’re not married then? <vbg>

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

View Tony's profile


995 posts in 5044 days

#9 posted 12-06-2010 03:44 PM

Ah ha – She, who must be obeyed !!

Nice Jig thanks for the reminder of its location – A great jig for when many hinges are to be fitted, i still tend to do it the old fashioned way when I only have a pair of doors to fit.

The secret to working in soft wood is a 20° – 25°, extremely sharp chisel and put the mallet back into the cupboard ☺

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 5035 days

#10 posted 12-06-2010 04:03 PM

Hi Tony.
I think you may be right about sharp chisels and the right angles on the doors.
Where I have had problems is with the miniature hinges that often get more close up looks than the average hinge.
Because there are so small any slight deviation is magnified in the final result.

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

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