Attach The Hinges And Transfer The Layout

Mark for the center screw. Offset this location slightly toward the back of the mortise to draw the hinge tightly into place.

Transfer the hinge locations to the case. With the hinges installed temporarily in the door, shim the door into its final position and use a marking knife for a precise transfer.

Mark for the center screw. Offset this location slightly toward the back of the mortise to draw the hinge tightly into place.

untouched. Remove much of the wood with a series of aggressive chops down the length of the mortise, then do the same thing in the opposite direction. When 98% of the wood has been removed, creep up to the layout lines with a wide chisel. If you chop down into your layout lines first, the wood in front of the chisel will push it backward, leaving a wider mortise than you intended. Finally, to establish the floor of the mortise, make paring cuts inward from the open side.

For extaided hinges with tapered leaves, the mortise must be slightly deeper at the hinge knuckle. Approximate this taper when you're wasting out the mortise, and fine-tune it later when trial-fitting.

A router can be quicker—Although I finish all of my mortises by hand, I sometimes rough them out with a router, working freehand and going as close to my lines as I dare. Afterward, I finish up the mortise by hand as usual, paring and chopping carefully for a tight fit.

Trial-fitting is important—Trial-fit each hinge to check and adjust its mortise. To find any high spots in the mortise, I scribble on the back of the hinge with a soft pencil, which rubs off when I slide the leaf into place. Trial-fitting can damage the fragile edges of the mortise, so the fewer times you do it, the better.

Attach the hinge temporarily and cut the other mortise

When you are satisfied with the fit of the first hinge leaf, mark for its center screw with an awl, drill, and fix the leaf with a single steel screw.

Cutting the mortises on the carcase is exactly the same as cutting them in the door stiles. To transfer the hinge locations from the door, slip or wedge the door in-

to position with the hinge fully open and make fine knife lines along the top and bottom of the knuckle. A spare hinge of the same size makes it easy to test-fit the mortise and to mark the screw locations. Otherwise, you have to remove a hinge from the door.

Secure each hinge with one steel screw and see how the door swings. The advantage of leaving the door snug in its opening while fitting the hinges is that it allows for some slight mortising errors. You can adjust for these by deepening a mortise or mortises and by planing the door edges for a consistent gap all around.

There's still room for adjustment

A typical problem is that the gap along the hinge line is too large or uneven. The solution is to mortise in one or both leaves of each hinge slightly deeper.

Sometimes, to get a better-fitting door, you may need to pull out a hinge from its mortise slightly, in essence pushing the door farther back into the opening. Fixing the door with only a single screw in each leaf at this point gives you some flexibility to do this, but it creates a noticeable gap at the back of the hinge leaf. Cut a filler piece from a scrap of the same wood, glue it, and then clamp it in place by screwing the hinge leaf into its new position.

Set the brass screws, and you're done

The final step to fitting the hinges is setting the screws. Each hinge is drilled and countersunk for a specific size screw, which is often noted in the catalog description. I order the screws along with the hinges—with a few extras.

If the countersinks are not deep enough, the heads of the screws will stop slightly proud of the hinge leaf. This can cause a hinge to bind and exert tremendous leverage on the screws. If necessary, deepen the countersinks so that the heads end up just below the surface of the leaf. In setting the brass screws, I tiy to have some consistency in the pattern of the head slots.

If the hinges are installed correctly, your doors and lids should swing sweetly for many decades to come. □

Garrett Hack, a furniture maker and a woodworking teacher who lives in Thetford Center, Vt., is a contributing editor to Fine Woodworking.

Cut the mating mortises in the case and attach the door. Continue to use only one steel screw at this point. Check the fit of the door. If necessary, remove the door and plane it to fit.

Adjust the countersinks. If necessary, use a countersink bit to deepen the holes in the soft brass hinge so that the screw heads can sit just below the surface.

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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