Mortise In Stages

not close flat on one another, you have an unswaged hinge. This built-in space will be the gap between the door and carcase along the hinge line if you mortise both leaves fully flush. The leaves on a swaged hinge close flat to one another, so to set the door gap, you should mortise the leaves slightly proud of the door or frame stile, or both.

At this point, trim the edges of the door for a close fit all around, leaving a tighter gap than the final one and thus some extra wood for trimming after you've set the hinges. Then shim the door into position with veneer scraps and locate the hinges.

Laying out the mortises—Before you lay out your first mortise, look over each hinge. For a neat mortising job, the leaves should have square and straight sides. Sometimes they will need a little smoothing with a fine file.

To set butt hinges consistently and accurately, use a fine-bladed marking knife, a couple of marking or cutting gauges, one wide and one narrow chisel, and a pencil. Set the mortise width slightly less than the width of the leaf to the center of the hinge pin; this will make the hinge pin and knuckle protaide the proper amount.

Sometimes I mortise the case sides or the frame first, before they are glued up, and then transfer them to the door later. It's easier to work with case pieces loose on the benchtop than it is to wrestle with a large cabinet and to work in the cramped corners of an assembled case or face frame. The cabinet pictured here, however, is small, so I mortised the door first.

Cut veiy fine lines; heavy cuts will leave a less precise mortise. To see the knife marks clearly, sharpen a pencil to a very fine point and drag it along the lines.

After scribing the width and depth with marking gauges, lay the hinge in position and cut a precise tick mark at both ends. For small cabinet hinges like these, the safest way to lay out the ends of the mortise is to extend these tick marks with a square. For larger hinges, like those used in passage doors, it's better to use the hinge itself to lay out the ends of the mortise. Just be careful the hinge doesn't slip while you are marking.

Chop and pare the mortise by hand

I usually cut hinge mortises completely by hand, with chisels. The first step is to chop out the waste, leaving each knife line

Finish the mortise with sharp chisels. Chop and pare gradually until you reach the layout lines and get a good fit. Save your widest chisels for the final cuts.

Whether by hand or by machine, the idea here is to clear out the bulk of the mortise before cutting to the layout lines.

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.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment