installing hinges question

Need to hang two homemade closet doors at my daughter's place. We are stuck with hinges that have radius-ed corners. Don't want make a template for t he router. Want to chisel the relief the old fashioned way. Any tricks yo u guys can suggest when it comes to the rounded corners. All I can think of is to scribe the radius with a box cutter blade and then possibly nibble away at the corner with one of the rounded lathe (wood tur ning) tools. Also: The jambs are mdf. Any special advise on chiseling mdf???
All advise appreciated. (note: that's a total of sixteen corners) Thanks
Ivan Vegvary
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On Monday, October 13, 2014 6:58:17 PM UTC-10, Ivan Vegvary wrote:

ck with hinges that have radius-ed corners. Don't want make a template for the router. Want to chisel the relief the old fashioned way. Any tricks you guys can suggest when it comes to the rounded corners.

en possibly nibble away at the corner with one of the rounded lathe (wood t urning) tools.

IMHO I would bite the bullet and make a jig and use a laminate trimmer. I would not suggest trying to chisel MDF. Just my 2 cents, Gene
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On Monday, October 13, 2014 9:58:17 PM UTC-7, Ivan Vegvary wrote:

If you have the right gouge, just strike in on the scribe line. If you only have straight chisels, do it sloppy. A few mm of gap won't hurt the mechanics (it's important to mortise, though, accurately, so the hinge plates won't twist and squeak). If you can see it well enough, you can freehand a router around the curves.

Large dutchman of something nicer (oak?) Perhaps you lied earlier, when, referring to MDF, you suggested you wanted to chisel it.
An old technique was to heat the hinges cherry-red, then press them into the wood; disable the smoke alarm first. When it has cooled, you just brush away the char, and voila! Instant any-shape-of-hinge mortise!
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Sadly, MDF jambs are seen more and more these days. I hate them. Just can 't stand them. But sometimes when I trim out a project, they are there... and since one of my hats is a "trim" carpenter... I use what is on site. I don't like them because they aren't rigid enough to keep the jamb from def lection, are more prone to movement due to humidity than wood, and worse, t hey take double the amount of time to shim them properly when hanging as yo u need twice the shims.
So, bad news. MDF comes in all types of densities, resin bases, and prep m ethods. Cutting with hand tools is tough. Cutting and maintaining the dep th you need to properly set a hinge is almost impossible with a chisel.
Porter Cable to the rescue! I bought this gadget several years ago and hav e used it to hang a couple of hundred (I do mean that literally) doors. Th e double headed nails are long gone, replace by fine threaded sheet metal s crews. It works well if you are patient, set your router right, and do a f ew test cuts to make sure you understand the setup and use of the template. And it even comes with a "perfect fit" router bit matched to the jig and will cut a nearly perfect radius for almost all hinges.
I dismissed this as a plastic piece of crap when I saw it, but my old comme rcial rep told me to try it, and bring it back if I didn't like it. Now it is a permanent fixture in my door kit with the attending router, hole saw kit and 1" paddle bit for latchsets and deadbolts.
(Amazon.com product link shortened) ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid13275925&sr=8-1&keywords=router+hinge+te mplate
These are also available at some Home Depot stores, which is where I bought mine.
Robert
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If you have a lathe chisel that fits the radius, you are home free, no scribing needed. If not, scribe and use a flat chisel to cut into the scribe cut horizontally using the point of the chisel.

Best advice I know of: replace it.

Personally, I'd make a template...a few pieces of 1/4 ply, some glue and all done. Even easier, saw out an opening the size of the hinge leaf from a piece of 1/2" ply. In either case, use a router bit the correct diameter and your template can have square corners.
--

dadiOH
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On 10/13/2014 11:58 PM, Ivan Vegvary wrote:

I moved 2 doors to the opposite side of the openings in a neighbors home, not the same builder thank goodness.
The jams were MDF. I marked the locations with a pencil around the hinge, used a utility knife to score the out line, and a sharp chisel to remove the material. This was not a problem but must be VERY careful not to go too far. IMHO it was easier than chiseling wood as there was no grain to contend with. Ultimately a freehand trim router may have been better for removing the material after marking and scoring. Tedious on both counts.
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