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  • Placing Hinges on a box

    I have never put hinges on a box and I'm about to put on some on a small box I just made. These hinges will be placed on the outside of the box and now routing will be necessary and I was just looking for some advice on how to install the hinges to ensure that my box will open and close smoothly and correctly. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  • #2
    Re: Placing Hinges on a box

    Hi JBshol!

    As it's unclear what exact type of hinge you're using, I'll keep my comments kind of generic. Be very careful with the screws provided with the hinge. If you're using a brass hinge, the screws are probably going to be a bit on the soft side, which means they can snap if you're not really careful. You need to predrill carefully, and to the correct depth. Also, use beeswax on the screws. If you don't have beeswax, at least use some soap! Of course, it also depends on the type of wood. Most of my experience so far has been attaching screws to hard maple. It's tricky! I finally got a "vixbit" drill bit that helps some, but I find I still have to be really careful. Go slow, use soap or beeswax, and try not to stress the screw. Go in a bit, back out, and repeat until you have the screw seated.

    To mortise, I do that by hand using a small chisel. Outline the hinge placement first. Don't bother to mark the holes yet. Check your alignment, being very careful that both hinges are lined up properly. The actual hinge needs to be aligned on both so that you don't get any racking when it opens. It's a matter of eyeing it carefully. Although it's easier when putting the hinge on the top. Use a small level and draw a horizontal line (with pencil, and don't bear down) that can help you align the hinges. Once you have the outline, carefully and slowly chisel out the area to the thickness of the hinge. If you'll be using a router, set your depth to the thickness and use a template. Either process takes time and practice. When I do mine, I tap the first cuts to outline just inside the pencil lines, then gently start to pare off small bits at a time. I find that with this method, I can keep the mortise to the right size and depth without too much trouble. It means keeping your eye on the depth of cut, and making sure the mortise is flat. Even a small bit of wood can cause the hinge to be off.

    I hope that doesn't scare you off!!! Putting the hinges on has been one of the things that has truly challenged me in my projects. Even so, it's not too difficult. A bit time-intensive, but with patience it works well.
    I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.


    • #3
      Re: Placing Hinges on a box

      Thanks for the tips, I'll try it tonight and we'll see how it goes.


      • #4
        Re: Placing Hinges on a box


        Try using steel wood screws of the same size, head style and length to cut threads in the wood. Then replace them with the fancy screws. On a piece of scrap, try drilling several sizes of pilot holes and drive in sample screws.