I need two small hinges for a desktop writing case and went to the big
orange and bought a pack of small brass "hobby hinges". They look like a
short version of a piano hinge. I am building something similar to Norm's
desk, although not using his plans:
If you notice the 2 hinges, the barrels are exposed between the writing
surface lid that opens and the rear fixed portion. It appears the leaves
sit flat against themselves, with the finished portion of the barrel
exposed. The hinges I bought will not open entirely unless I put them on
"backwards"; that is, the front of the hinge is closed on itself and the
finished portion of the barrel is hidden. I need a hinge that has the
finished portion of the barrel showing entirely, and can open on itself
until the leaves are flat on each other. Does such a beast even exist? I
know I've seen door hinges that open entirely on themselves. I have
determined that the hinges I have are the "formed" type. Will extruded
hinges make any diffence? It's difficult to describe here or find the kind
I need by looking at catalogs, and the borg has a narrow selection (read I
bought the only kind they had.)
I was interested in your post because I am considering
this project too.
Your hinge problem prompted me to dig out an old
tape from the 2000 NYW year and re-watch Norm
build one (actually two). When he got to the hinge
part, he did not mention anything special and they
appeared to be regular small (but beefy) cabinet door hinges.
Indeed, if you set the case on its side, it would open up
like a cabinet. He mortised the hinges in.
The lid met the top fixed section at about 5 deg.
How far would you want the lid to open - all the way
back so that it is flat? I would think that they need to
open 70-80 degrees, just to have access.
Maybe it's a problem with the specific hinges you bought.
OTOH, I could be confused too.
What was your wood choice? I am leaning cherry. Also,
what kind of joints did you use (Norm used a box joint
on one and dovetail on the other).
I was planning on mortising them in also. Did you notice whether the barrel
was "inside out"? In other words, does it look like the standard hinge on
any door? Mine will not close flat all the way like this, hence the
I agree, I don't think it needs to open until the top is flat.
I think so also.
I wanted cherry but do not have ready access to it. Mine is red oak from a
local tree that has been stickered & drying for about 3 years. I originally
started with white oak that was salvaged from an old old house that was torn
down & used as roof decking. But the white oak was so dry and had so many
checks & splits that it literally just fell apart.
The joints are dovetails cut by hand with the help of Veritas jig. Worked
pretty well after practicing on several pieces. They still are not perfect,
but since this is the 3rd incarnation (1st was Poplar, then the white oak)
they will have to do. I have other projects I want to move on to and it
seems like I could go on forever redoing things. I will post pics on the
abpww group when I finish.
Let us know how yours turns out!
Hi again Duke,
The hinge did not seem to be inside out. It looks
like a normal hinge with a beefy barrel. I don't
think the hinge closes tightly against itself since
there is a space (maybe 1/8 inch) visible when
the lid is closed.
Thanks for your information. I'd like to try
handcutting some dovetails. Re-watched my
Klause video on "dovetailing a drawer". Got
to practice more!
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