wood box mortise questions

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Forum topic by one60fourth posted 01-04-2018 03:53 PM 524 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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34 posts in 2394 days

01-04-2018 03:53 PM

I’m at the final stage of making a walnut jewelry box (14×10 x 2). I used small brass full mortise hinges from Brusso Hardware to attach the lid. I have two questions:

1) I made my hinge mortises on the top edge of the box to fit the hinges exactly. This left a narrow rear wall to stop the hinge. That wall is only about a 1/16 of an inch wide (my box edges are 3/8”). The problem is that that wall is so thin that I cracked through it on one side as I was chiseling out the mortise. (It cracked through while I was gently furthering the depth of my marked mortise line working my way to the bottom of the mortise.) I was able to repair the crack and I think once the repair has been sanded and finished no one will notice the thin crack line. An easier solution for future boxes would be to just mortise all the way across the top edge of the box eliminating any wall stop for the hinge. That would also give me a little leeway in positioning the hinge forward or backward to make the outside front edge of the lid exactly flush with the front panel of the box. Is this sort of thing considered a blatant DIY move? Would most experienced woodworkers keep the 1/16th wall in place?

2) This is the first box I’ve made using a brass chain to stop the lid and keep it from falling back all the way. The chain, from Rockler, has two nice rectangular fittings that accept two screws. I’m wondering if I should screw those fittings onto the surface of the box and lid or if I should make two very small mortises (about 3/4×1/4) to receive those fittings.

Thanks for your advice.

3 replies so far

View dbw's profile


419 posts in 2438 days

#1 posted 01-05-2018 01:01 PM

1) I would mortise all the way through next time. My theory is to keep it simple.
2) I have always screwed chains right to the surface. Keep it simple

-- measure 3 times, cut once

View one60fourth's profile


34 posts in 2394 days

#2 posted 01-05-2018 05:28 PM

DBW, I like your advice!. Sure would make cutting mortises on thin-edged boxes a heck of a lot easier and actually, unless you can do a perfect thin-wall mortise, better looking. And while mortises for the chain would look nice, I’m not sure the extra time is worth the small aesthetic value. Thanks.

View JADobson's profile


1448 posts in 2913 days

#3 posted 01-05-2018 09:47 PM

I’ve left the narrow edge and think it looks a little cleaner but you do have to be super careful. I use a chisel and go very slowly.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

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