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A Simple Jig for Routing Hinge Mortises

©I'm making several jewelry boxes to give as presents, and I don't want to cut all the mortises for the butt hinges by hand. Is there any kind of jig available for routing small hinge mortises?

Michclc Gaston Whittier, CA

©Most hinge-mortise templates and jigs in woodworking catalogs arc made for use on large entry doors and cabinet doors. But it's easy and inexpensive to make your own for smaller mortises.

This simple jig works for butt hinges that are all the same length. (See drawing, right.) The top must be large enough for at least two clamps to hold it to the box, and the clamps must be far enough from the cutouts to stay clear of your router base. By adjusting the depth of your cutout, you can rout a through mortise or a stopped mortise. Be sure to make the cutouts enough oversize to accommodate your router bit's guide bushing.

If you're mortising both the lid and the box, set your router bit depth to match the radius of the hinge barrel. It's OK if you set it a hair shallower, but absolutely not deeper. If you're mortising only the box and flush-mounting the hinge to the lid, set the router bit depth to match the diameter of the hinge barrel. Test the setting on scrap before routing the box. When you're finished routing, clean up the corners with a chiscl.

Dave l;rccdman

Associate editor

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