Hinge Mortises

The drop-front lid on the desk on page 32 pivots on three, brass card table hinges. These hinges are recessed into both the lid and the upper case of the desk.

Creating the hinge mortise is a two-step process. First, a shallow mortise is routed for the leaves of the hinge. Then, a deeper mortise is created for the hinge knuckle. All it takes to do this is a router and a shop-made template.

TEMPLATE. The template is simply a piece of Vi' plywood with an opening sized to match the hinge. You can use one of the hinges to trace the outline onto the blank.

After drilling a hole at each end and removing the remaining waste with a jig saw, sand the edges smooth with a sanding drum.

To use the template, clamp the lid and upper case together, leaving a Vic" gap between the edges. (I cut a couple of thin strips to use as spacers at each end.) Then attach the template to the desk with some double-sided tape. As you can see in Figure 1, a dado clean-out bit with a top-mounted bearing makes quick work of routing the shallow recess for the hinge leaves.

To create the deeper mortise for the hinge knuckle, first mark the edges of the mortise. (This mortise is 3A" long and centered on the first mortise.) Then, adjust the bit for a deeper cut and rough out the bulk of the waste, stopping just shy of the layout lines, as shown in Figure 2. Finally, you can square up the edges of the mortise with a chisel.

SECOND:

Square up ends with chisel

SECOND:

Square up ends with chisel

FIRST: Remove bulk of waste for hinge knuckle with clean-out bit

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Responses

  • niklas sundstedt
    How does drop front desk hinge work?
    8 years ago
  • harvey
    How to use a template to make a shallow mortise?
    8 years ago

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