What is the best way to align and attach hinges on a jewelry box? I have
made several, but after cutting the top off so that the grain aligns, which
looks great, I struggle with attaching the hinges. Usually after attaching
the hinges and closing the box, the top is a little to the left or right or
not quite flush to the front. It's a pain to do all this work and not have
the top line up.
What methods are being used to make the cuts for the hinges and how do you
hold the base and top to ensure precise alignment.
If you are using surface mount hinges, why not mark your cutoff line
for the top & pre install the hinges before you cut (on the top only-)
You know-- align them & drill the holes & even put the screws in & then
take them out after you scribe side lines for the hinges on the bottom
portion of the box so you can line them up again. Depending what
method you use to cut the top off, you will loose a little wood-- So
actually installing the hinges fully would only aggrivate you further.
For something as small as a jewelry box, I'd avoid using a router to
mortise the hinges because it's a bad risk. Generally when you are
mortising the hinges, the project is nearing completion. You've put in
countless hours, and the last thing you want is a mishap with a router
running at 15-20k rpm.
I recently finished a jewerly box and did the following:
1. position the hinges on the box portion exactly where you want them,
then clamp them on with an 'f' style clamp.
2. mark with a mechanical pencil the exact location (height, width,
3. Unclamp the hinges.
4. using a razor blade and a small hammer, carefully tap out stop cuts
on the lines drawn above.
4. Still using razor blade and hammer, chisle out bulk of material
until the hinges fit.
5. perfect the mortise with just razor blade or 150 grit sandpaper
6. install hinge on lower portion of box.
7. align and clamp lid to hinges and repeat starting at step 2
here is a few pictures (note the broken razor was actually more useful
than the whole one due to it's size):
Thanks Todd! That gives me a lot more info. How do you hold and align the
hinges to the top after they are mounted on the bottom? My sides must be
flush, bottom and top (no overhang). I guess I'll just try measuring
accurately once the bottom hinges are mounted.
This was my first attempt at small hinges, so you may find a better
I used a wooden handscrew clamp to hold the lid to the opposite hinge I
was marking. The trick is to mark one hinge location without a clamp
on it (just your fingers, while you trace the hinge), then carefully
clamp that hinge and take the second clamp off so it can be marked.
Worked for me after only a few bobbled clamping attempts. If you mess
up, erase and start over. Once you have the marking done perfectly,
the rest is easy.
Depends on the hinge and how you want them mounted. I used barrel
hinges which are hidden, and the only thing you have to worry about is
drilling the hole at the same spot in the top and the base, which is no
big deal with a drill press (just set a couple of stop blocks on the
drill press table to position the pieces in the same spot).
It's also easy to attach surface mount hinges. Just using auto
centering drill bit and make sure the top and base are aligned when
drilling (first mount the hinges to the base, then to the top).
I place my hinges by hand, and then mark the outlines with a sharp
knife. I set depth with a small mortising gauge, and set the depth to
half the thickness of the hinge barrel. Then I carefully pare with
sharp chisels, set the hinge in the socket, and mark the center of the
hole with a sharp awl. Then drill a pilot hole, use a waxed stainless
screw to tap the hole, and then as the last step install the brass
Also, it helps if you mount the hinges prior to final sanding ... then
if you are off a hair with any of the screws then the difference gets
sanded off. If you are careful with the marking, mortising and screw
installation then it doesn't much matter.
Brusso hinges are by far the nicest but also fairly expensive.
Well, *I* feel your pain. You've gotten a lot of "cut this, then clamp the
two together and mark the other part, then cut that" stuff, but it doesn't
answer the fundamental question. The problem is that once you've got
hinges on the bottom part, the other halves of the leaves have to be marked
on the lid, and if you put the lid on the box, you can't get inside it to
mark where the hinges go. Catch 22. So you're left with a completely
unsatisfactory process of fiddling and jiggling and having everything come
out a little crooked in spite of all that. Does this sound familiar?
I have about concluded the the only thing to do here is make the lid a
little oversized to the front and sides. Mark the hinge locations on both
pieces, chisel out half the barrel height from each piece, screw the hinges
on, then plane the top until it matches the bottom perfectly. I've tried
all kinds of ways of clamping the lid perpendicular to the box so I could
mark the hinge locations, and it never comes out quite right. I think
doing it all unfinished and planing away the little bit of extra is about
the only way to ever get there.
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < email@example.com>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
Here's my 2 bob's worth :)
Mark and set the hinges in on either the top or base.
Cut down some of the screws which you will be using to fix the hinges so
that when they are place through the hinge you only have a mm or so
showing. Sharpen the ends with a small file or if you've more then ten
fingers on a grinder.
Place the lid (or base) in position. It should now be sitting on the
sharpened ends of the screws. Give it a sharp tap and presto, you have
centre marks for the screws. Screw a spare hinge in place, mark around
it and let it in.
Has been working for me for years.
Hope I explained this satisfactorily. I find doing a job and telling
someone how to do it two very different things ;)
all the best
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