Wooden Hinge Drill Guide

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Project by SPalm posted 09-04-2010 03:40 AM 25585 views 122 times favorited 33 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I posted a project a couple of days ago on making small wooden hinges. This is a follow-up to that post.

One of the hardest things to do when making these is to drill the barrels for the hinge pin. I made a jig to help with that and it works quite nicely. I made it, and since I am me, I am calling it a Stincra jig. It is used to craft hinges.

The first three pics show how the Stincra is constructed. I purchased some quarter inch round by quarter inch long aluminum spacers. They come drilled but I slightly enlarged the hole to 7/64 inch (the drill bit that is just less than 1/8) and filed them to make them just a little less long so they would not bind with the wooden barrels. I ploughed a dado with a quarter inch bit down the length of a scrap to a depth of 3/4 inch. I then drew a line 1/2 inch down on top, marked off 1/2 inch tic marks, drilled pilot holes, and inserted sheetrock screws. (Somehow I measured funny and the screws are not exactly on center, but heh.) The net result is that the tips of the screws just touch the outside of the spacers and the more you turn them, the more the spacers get locked into place. It does not take too much pressure to lock them in place.

I bought the spacers from MSC Industrial Supply. Part number 67716407. They were 42 cents apiece, so I bought 10: Or look at all the different sizes and material options on page 2059: I will probably buy some more at different sizes so I can make 3/8 and 1/2 inch barrels as well.

I somewhat changed the order of the operations from my first post, and I have learned a few things. To form the barrel I still used a bull-nose bit with both the horizontal and vertical cuts. But now I didn’t let the bit cut as much by moving the fence towards me a little. This leaves some flat sides on the barrel which helps by having more area for riding along the fence. These flat sides are easily rounded with sandpaper after the final assembly.

I did the box joint operation before drilling and then lightly filed the insides of each barrel to make sure that they could be mated with another without binding. Then I inserted the plate into the side of the Stincra making sure that it was seated all the way. The dado is deep enough to keep the plate steady while drilling the hole with a hand drill. The spacers keep the bit straight all the way through the drilling operation. Yea.

The last pics are just showing a couple of hinges before creating the thin plate. I used the drill bit as a temporary pin to check alignment. I could not ask for more. You can see the gaps are equal on both sides and at the top and the bottom. The hinge swings square, even when I tested it with these long plates.

One last thing is wood selection. You want to use quarter sawn wood. Hold a plate horizontally and look at the endgrain of your blank. Make sure that the growth rings run up and down (as much as possible), and not from side to side (no smile faces). The walnut blanks in these pictures are not quarter sawn, and they ended up breaking very easily. You can see a chip already formed on one of the barrels.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

33 comments so far

View swirt's profile


6631 posts in 4215 days

#1 posted 09-04-2010 04:02 AM

Very clever jig Steve. Well done and thanks for sharing it.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Karson's profile


35278 posts in 5644 days

#2 posted 09-04-2010 05:07 AM

Steve a great jig. Nice design.

-- 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 majeagle1's profile


1429 posts in 4740 days

#3 posted 09-04-2010 05:16 AM

Fantastic little jig steve, very well done…...
I think I may try my hand at this….. Have you found any issue regarding strength of these hinges for something like a box lid 12×9 x 3/4?? I would imagine that you would want to use a fairly hard dense wood?

Thanks again, a favorite….

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View cwdance1's profile


1164 posts in 4502 days

#4 posted 09-04-2010 05:32 AM

Very cool design. I want to make some wood hinges and this is what I needed to get me started.

View Splinterman's profile


23074 posts in 4605 days

#5 posted 09-04-2010 09:44 AM

Hey Steve,
Now that’s cool…nice job.

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 4308 days

#6 posted 09-04-2010 10:43 AM

Thanks for the post and the links

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View tdv's profile


1203 posts in 4313 days

#7 posted 09-04-2010 11:31 AM

That’s a real neat jig Steve it definitely solves the problem of the drill running off Thanks for sharing, guess what Trevor is making today?
Cheers Steve

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6875 posts in 5223 days

#8 posted 09-04-2010 11:35 AM

Nice write up Steve.

Good job on the jig, too.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 5234 days

#9 posted 09-04-2010 12:44 PM

Nice hinges and jig Steve. One question. Have you considered drilling the hole first, before any of the other operations?


-- Jim

View mafe's profile


13344 posts in 4333 days

#10 posted 09-04-2010 12:49 PM

It’s brilliant.
It will be a favorite, and I will love to try your method at some time.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5125 days

#11 posted 09-04-2010 01:27 PM

Hey guys, thanks. I did not realize that I got so ‘wordy’ last night. Yikes.

MjE: Strength is a hard one to judge. The quarter sawn maple ones that I have with the bamboo pins are pretty darn strong. A lot of people have played with them and no problems. The walnut ones above are no good. So wood selection is key. But what do I know? I just started this last week.

OPutter: This jig requires finger joints, so at least ya gotta do that. The ‘drill guide every barrel, really helps keep it straight. A small bit through wood likes to wander by itself.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4956 days

#12 posted 09-04-2010 01:50 PM

Interesting approach. Thanks for posting this!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 4320 days

#13 posted 09-04-2010 02:15 PM

You are the man Steve! Drilling the pilot holes in the hinges is most definitely the hardest part of making wooden hinges (to me at least). I am sooo snagging this idea and running with it. Very, very cool bud!

Thanks for sharing….

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View j_olsen's profile


155 posts in 4415 days

#14 posted 09-04-2010 03:53 PM

Looks like my to do list just got a bit longer
Thanks Steve!!
Great post once again

-- Jeff - Bell Buckle, TN

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 4280 days

#15 posted 09-04-2010 05:07 PM

Elegant solution, Steve. Like the name, Stincra. ‘Nicely out of tune’ as the 70’s English goup Lindisfarne would say (I think it was their first album title). This should help with the hinged box idea which you have inspired. I hope to start work on it soon.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

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