Inlaid Wooden Hinges #2: Making the inlays.

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Blog entry by ruddy posted 05-08-2012 10:50 AM 5126 reads 9 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Getting started Part 2 of Inlaid Wooden Hinges series Part 3: Glueing the inlays. »

Ok…..This will mainly deal with making the inlays

1. A drilling jig
It is very important that when drilling the holes in the inlays all holes are in the same exact position.
The hinge pin I use is made from 3/32 dia brass rod. I manage to get it from a good hobby shop that sells RC model cars helicopters etc.
From this point on, everything relies on going back to the reference face on the hinge leaves and also the hinge pockets. The hinge pins need a 3/32 dia hole drilled 6 mm from the pocket face and 3.5 mm from the squared end of the leaf. Because the right hand hinge is 8 mm wide I started the jig using some pieces of 9mm thick MDF.
(Medium Density Fibreboard.) I also used a small scrap of 10 mm thick aluminium for the top hole guide. I drilled one hole 3/32 dia as shown in the picture and inserted a small piece of the brass rod. Using the correct drill bit as a spacer I glued the back piece so the distance to the centre of the pin was 6mm. I then glued the small end piece in place using a smaller drill.

I cut the aluminium to size, removed the pin, screwed the aluminium plate to the MDF turned it over and drilled through the hole in the aluminium plate. This is the final jig.

6. Drilling the inlays for the left hand side only.
This is why I made the inlays long enough to get two from each as you have to hold them against both the back face and end face when drilling. All holes referenced to the red face. Because we drilled the 6mm holes at the end of each trench it now means that the length of the inlays can be approximate. in this case about 25 mm long was enough to ensure one end was partly over the hole. I cut them to length with a Japanese saw.

7. Hinge pins
Cut the hinge pins for the hinges about 25mm longer than what is required. the fit of the hinge pin on the leaves should be a neat slide fit. This picture shows the base hinge inlays and the pin.

8. Right Hand Side Inlays
I had intended to make all the Right hand side inlays from teak but at this point I thought it worthwhile to see what would happen if I used acrylic from a pen blank. Now, half the hinge is going to be made from a turquoise faux “Motherof Pearl acrylic and the other half teak This is purely so Ï can get an idea of what the inlay could look like…
These Right hand side inlays need to be rounded on one end to match the trench. This then adds the difficulty that the distance from the rounded edge to the hinge pin hole becomes important. With the Left hand side inlays, none of this matters. Again because they were made long, it was easier to round both ends of the inlay.

The inlays were fitted in the trenches and then a mark was scribed where they should be cut. I overcut the length slightly and then sanded them to the correct length.”

9. Drilling Right hand side inlays.
When these were all at the correct length they were all drilled with the 3/32 hole and dry assembled to make sure the fit was relatively easy into the pockets. at this stage you can hand sand the inlays to final thickness size if necessary. Again, the hinge pin was made about 25 mm longer than required.
10. Base clearance groove.
The base needs a clearance groove the full length of the base. The groove allows the lid to swing open and prevents binding.
This must be done before gluing any inlays in place. In this instance I marked the face with red pencil so I could clearly see how deep and where the edge of the groove came in relation to the back edge.
I used a 10 mm ball nose cutter.

The next post will be about glueing the inlays in position. maybe tomorrow.

regards from Sydney


-- And my head I'd be a scratchin'

4 comments so far

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1094 posts in 2796 days

#1 posted 05-08-2012 12:04 PM

This is excellent tuition. Couldn’t ask for a better explanation. Thanks

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3787 days

#2 posted 05-08-2012 02:37 PM

what a great tutorial , thank you so much ruddy, this will be great..

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View majeagle1's profile


1426 posts in 3980 days

#3 posted 05-08-2012 03:41 PM

Thanks for taking the time to do this Ruddy…... both are fantastic blogs already, looking forward to the rest of the “training”. Very descriptive and easy to follow along, thanks again…..all the photos are a super +++

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3174 days

#4 posted 05-09-2012 01:49 AM

These are pretty complicated but I’m trying my best to keep up (not a metric thinker!)

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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