Lining up box hinge hardware

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  • LCHIEN
    Internet Fact Checker
    • Dec 2002
    • 21158
    • Katy, TX, USA.
    • BT3000 vintage 1999

    Lining up box hinge hardware

    I have problems making small boxes getting the lid and the bottom to line up perfectly.
    Of course the first thing I do Is make a four sided box with the intention of cutting it in half top to bottom so that those two parts can line up perfectly and grain-wise, too.

    I always have had a problem drilling and attaching small hinge hardware... You have to mark the top and bottom of the box perfectly to align more than one hinge and to get it right in the forward/back and the right left position lest it not match perfectly.

    My problems I indentified were that the small drill bit walked on wood grain a little and did not always go in perfectly centered. And that holding and marking the hinge location was difficult to get exact top and bottom for both in both directions. And making two or more hinges line up as well.

    The first part of the solution is a set of Vix manufacturing INSTY bits which are self centering. I reviewed them here before
    https://www.sawdustzone.org/articles...ing-drill-bits

    They work well when using the hinge as a template.

    My next invention (and maybe someone has done this before) was to use the Vix bits to drill the top edge of the unfinished, un-split, and no top box (just four walls) with the Vix bit to place the hinge holes where I wanted them. Then I put the box on my drill press and used an aircraft bit (six inches long) to drill the exact hole locations started by the Vix bit but to drill deeper than the place where I expected to split the top and bottom. Using the drill press to drill perfectly in the spot the Vix started is important to keep the bit straight. for 2-3 inches if necessary.

    Then I put on/glue on the top and bottom plates of the box. I will split it tomorrow and I expect to see on both sides of the split a hole drilled perfectly aligned top and bottom. I will mortise for the hinge plate and then fasten me all three hinges, six screws each. The original entrance locations for the holes were all covered when I attached the top plate.

    Wish me luck!
    Loring in Katy, TX USA
    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
    BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions
  • mpc
    Senior Member
    • Feb 2005
    • 987
    • Cypress, CA, USA.
    • BT3000 orig 13amp model

    #2
    Interesting idea!

    What I've done is use double-sided tape. Run a strip on the box bottom and box top where the hinges should go. Stick the hinges to the box bottom, using a straight edge to keep the leaf edges lined up/parallel (referencing the edge opposite the hinge pin). Then lower the top onto the hinges, lining up the box front and sides. If it looks right, press hard on the box top to stick the tape to the hinges. Open/close the box and verify the alignment is correct. If so, use the VIX bit to drill through the hinge holes, through the tape, into the box parts. Once drilled, remove the tape and mount the hinges. If they need mortises, temporarily screw the hinges in place and trace around them with a marking knife. Then remove the hinges and make the mortises.

    While doing the initial alignment - before any mortises are made - the thickness of the hinges may slightly affect the alignment of the box top and bottom. A thin shim, equal in thickness to the hinges + tape strips, along the box front edge helps keep things "square" as you bring the box halves together.

    Or, after cutting the box top & bottom free, clamp them together again, lined up perfectly. Make your hinge location marks on the backside of the box, across both pieces at the same time - use a combination square to make parks perfectly perpendicular to the box top or bottom.

    The other way I've done it in the past is to make a shim equal in thickness to the hinge barrel. Imagine the box with the lid opened 180 degrees: clamp the lid to the box bottom half with the shim in between in this 180 degree position. Now you can lay the hinges on the two box parts, line them up with a straightedge, use the Vix bit to drill 1 hole for each hinge. Temporarily mount them with one screw and then mark the mortises. While the box halves are still clamped with the spacer shim, you can use a small router to make most of the mortises too, finishing with a chisel. This works if the hinges actually open 180 degrees; it won't work with hinges that have bulit-in stops to hold the top open at something like 110 degrees.

    Another option: make a jig to hold and align the hinges. Imagine a quarter to half inch thick piece of plywood/MDF/hardboard, longer than the box width, and as wide as your box measures front-to-back. Cut notches along one side of this piece, using the table saw and dado blade, that exactly match the hinge widths. Mark the centerline of this jig, line it up with a centerline mark on your box bottom while also lining up the jig to the front of the box (this assures the hinge mortises will line up front-to-back, the notches make sure the hinges line up left-to-right between the box bottom and top halves) and clamp it in that position. Screw a small cutoff scrap to the underside of the jig, butted against the box side, to serve as a fence. Use a router with a hinge mortise bit (a really stubby straight cutting bit with a shank mounted bearing) to make mortises in the box bottom. Before unclamping/moving the jig, attach another fence block to the top, lined up with the first one. Now you've got a fence that will work for the box top. Remove the first fence block so it doesn't get in the way of your router.

    You could make a jig that serves as a drilling template, similar to a shelf pin jig. Typical shelf pin jigs have a flat main section with the holes, one end and one side have thicker blocks that register against the cabinet to consistently position the jig. Make something similar that registers against the side and back of your box, use the Vix bit to drill holes through the flat main section. Then use a regular (and skinny) drill bit through those holes to drill the pilot holes in your box parts.

    One of the recent threads concerned dowel centers. Somebody needs to invent "hinge centers" that work in a similar manner: mount the hinges to the box bottom, then insert "hinge centers" into the screw holes of the upper hinge leaf and close the hinge, trapping the centers so only sharp points stick up. Lower the box top section onto those points to mark where the pilot holes need to be. These "hinge centers" would basically be very stubby screws with heads matching the hinge screw holes and pointy shafts not much longer than the thickness of the hinge leaf. If you have dowel centers that perfectly fit into the hinge screw holes, close the hinge, drop the dowel center into the screw holes, and then push the lid onto the dowel centers to mark where the pilot holes need to be.

    Just some ways I've mounted hinges in the past and some off-the-wall ideas/ramblings that occurred to me while replying. it's past midnight here... blame the late hour if those ideas don't make sense!

    mpc
    Last edited by mpc; 05-24-2024, 02:36 AM.

    Comment

    • leehljp
      Just me
      • Dec 2002
      • 8479
      • Tunica, MS
      • BT3000/3100

      #3
      Loring: "My problems I indentified were that the small drill bit walked on wood grain a little"

      A guy on one Scrollsaw forum explained something that solves this but it is overkill in terms of price. The problem of walking is solved by the right bit and extremely high speed. Many carvers using dremels incur the same problem that often occurs with router bits - and that is fibers standing up on the edge - which in turn have to be sanded back. However this one guy told of the carving tools that turn at 200,000 rpm and leave no edge fibers sticking up. It also prevents "bit walking" as you mentioned. It does take bits made for that kind of speed, but those bits cut what it touches - hard portions of the grain and soft, and when going from on to the other. In other words - it does not walk between wood grain.

      I'm not saying that a specialized (hardened) small diameter bit and 25,000-30,000 rpm will do the same, but it "might" be worth a try.
      Last edited by leehljp; 05-24-2024, 07:39 AM.
      Hank Lee

      Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

      Comment

      • LCHIEN
        Internet Fact Checker
        • Dec 2002
        • 21158
        • Katy, TX, USA.
        • BT3000 vintage 1999

        #4
        Originally posted by leehljp
        Loring: "My problems I indentified were that the small drill bit walked on wood grain a little"

        A guy on one Scrollsaw forum explained something that solves this but it is overkill in terms of price. The problem of walking is solved by the right bit and extremely high speed. Many carvers using dremels incur the same problem that often occurs with router bits - and that is fibers standing up on the edge - which in turn have to be sanded back. However this one guy told of the carving tools that turn at 200,000 rpm and leave no edge fibers sticking up. It also prevents "bit walking" as you mentioned. It does take bits made for that kind of speed, but those bits cut what it touches - hard portions of the grain and soft, and when going from on to the other. In other words - it does not walk between wood grain.

        I'm not saying that a specialized (hardened) small diameter bit and 25,000-30,000 rpm will do the same, but it "might" be worth a try.
        I did find that the small diameter bits work better at 2000-3000 RPM than at slower RPMs, so partly its good discipline, changing the drill press speed when changing bit diameters.
        I refer you to the ever popular Wood magazine drill speed chart.
        https://www.woodmagazine.com/woodwor...ss-speed-chart

        But a starting hole perfectly centered by the Vix bit, and then a 4-inch exposed length 5/64 bit perfectly centered over the starting hole using a drill press seems to enter and go perfectly straight.
        Last edited by LCHIEN; 05-24-2024, 09:23 AM.
        Loring in Katy, TX USA
        If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
        BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

        Comment

        • LCHIEN
          Internet Fact Checker
          • Dec 2002
          • 21158
          • Katy, TX, USA.
          • BT3000 vintage 1999

          #5
          Drilling the exterior holes
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          CLoseup of the Vix started holes.
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          Cutting the box in half

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          on the saw

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          Here's a photo of the inside holes revealed after the box split and how they line up

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          It wasn't perfect, we'll see if good enough later.
          Attached Files
          Loring in Katy, TX USA
          If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
          BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

          Comment

          • d_meister
            Established Member
            • Feb 2009
            • 209
            • La Conner, WA.
            • BT3000

            #6
            When I'm concerned about bit wander, I'll use a sharp tapered screw-set type drill bit,
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            Comment

            • LCHIEN
              Internet Fact Checker
              • Dec 2002
              • 21158
              • Katy, TX, USA.
              • BT3000 vintage 1999

              #7
              Results
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              Some of the deep holes apparently had enough wander I thought they were off center when I lined up a hinge with the split open box revealing where the holes went.
              I though they were off enough that I plugged them with glue and a toothpick to redrill.
              FOrtunately most of the 18 holes (3 hinges, six screws each) seemed mostly to be pretty good.

              I made a jig to mortise the hinges 1/16th deep as the apparent thickness of the hinge barrel looked to be 1/8".
              Making a jig took a couple of hours of thought and execution but then all the mortises were nearly perfect and identical and took less than a minute each.
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              A corner chisel proved to be useful to square the corners

              In the end I was still off just a little
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              Conclusion: I'm not going to do it this way again. Next time I am going to line up the top and bottom, span the two edges with each hinge, mortise, then place the hinge and use the VIX bit to perfectly center the screws. I think I lost a little bit of the perfect centering when I deep drilled. I lost more in horizontal alignment than I gained by vertical alignment

              Other issues:

              I always have a hard time making the split cut. I use a tall fence but keeping the vertical height of the box walls consistent depends on holding the box tight to the fence.
              Its not hard on the first three sides as you can readily push on the far side of the box to hold it firmly against the fence. But on the fourth side at the end of the cut the top is almost free of the bottom against the fence so you can't push firmly into the fence without cutting away part of the top forcing it into the side of the blade.

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              It's been a couple of years since I made a box like this and I forgot about this issue until I saw the result. I recall the solution to this is to make a wedge that is thinner to just larger than the blade kerf, and wedge this into the backside opening just above where the blade will hit. This allows you to push the box against the fence all the way until its fully cut without eating away if you push too hard into the fence the suddenly unsupported piece.


              Overall it wasn't perfect to my standards and if I was to make another tomorrow it would be better. But it is fully good enough for the purpose.

              Here's some pics of the "finished" item. I still need some bumpers or feet to keep the hinges from messing up the table or bench when set upright as the hinge barrels stick out 1/8" from the back.
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              Attached Files
              Last edited by LCHIEN; 05-27-2024, 03:17 AM.
              Loring in Katy, TX USA
              If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
              BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

              Comment

              • leehljp
                Just me
                • Dec 2002
                • 8479
                • Tunica, MS
                • BT3000/3100

                #8
                That looks great Loring!

                How do people keep boxes perfect, without blemishes like the one you showed? They make the same thing over and over! Repetition reinforces, but a single "build" becomes a teacher. And I am not a good student on a single build. I will forget a step. after a few months!

                I recently purchased the new Kreg tool and instead of building a case, looked at HD, Lowes and online (Amazon) for a case. I like yours much better.



                Hank Lee

                Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

                Comment

                • LCHIEN
                  Internet Fact Checker
                  • Dec 2002
                  • 21158
                  • Katy, TX, USA.
                  • BT3000 vintage 1999

                  #9
                  Yeah, I know a second box would be better. I'm thinking about if I need a matching case for anything.
                  That way the steps would be imprinted on my mind better for the next time.
                  Loring in Katy, TX USA
                  If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                  BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

                  Comment

                  • LCHIEN
                    Internet Fact Checker
                    • Dec 2002
                    • 21158
                    • Katy, TX, USA.
                    • BT3000 vintage 1999

                    #10
                    I improved the box splitting.
                    first, did away the the high fence, you want the cut width controlled at the table and the blade raised just enough to cut the side thickness. i think in reality, my box was maybe 1/16 out of completely flat so needed to keep just the part being cut tight to the fence.

                    Second, my problem was applying side force to the fence to keep the cut width precise, but not push the suddenly loose top into the blade to chew away the corner. I used a shim the size of the kerf to jam the trailing end open as I cut the fourth side.
                    So it came out well, just beware your shim will fall out, hit the blade and go off somewhere as the cut off top comes away. I still haven't found it.
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                    Last edited by LCHIEN; 05-31-2024, 09:12 PM.
                    Loring in Katy, TX USA
                    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                    BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

                    Comment

                    • mpc
                      Senior Member
                      • Feb 2005
                      • 987
                      • Cypress, CA, USA.
                      • BT3000 orig 13amp model

                      #11
                      Another method for separating boxes is to cut two opposing sides with the blade high enough to cut through the material. Then cut the remaining sides with the blade lowered so it does not quite cut all the way through the box wall. Once done, use a box cutter or knife to slice through the remaining material to actually separate the pieces.

                      mpc

                      Comment


                      • LCHIEN
                        LCHIEN commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Yeah, that sounds like it will work... I considered something like that.
                    • LCHIEN
                      Internet Fact Checker
                      • Dec 2002
                      • 21158
                      • Katy, TX, USA.
                      • BT3000 vintage 1999

                      #12
                      I also resolved the issue of lining up the two box halves when installing the hinges.

                      My first idea didn't work all that well using a long drill to drill top to bottom at the same time... very small diameter the bit wander was to difficult to control.
                      I went ahead and split the box. Then I marked on one half where I wanted the hinges, marking the outlines.
                      I then lined up the other half, carefully clamping them together back to back (opened up) and used a saddle square to transfer the outline ends to the other side.
                      Then I mortised each half with an accurate template and used a Vix bit and the hinge fit in the mortise to drill the pilot holes. Worked really well.
                      The side to side alignment was accurate from the precise clamping and the transfer of lines with the saddle square.
                      The front to back alignment was accurate from the barrel of the hinge hitting the edge and the mortise size aligning them perfectly. And of course the Vix bits perfectly centering the pilot holes.

                      This is how perfectly the mortise fit the penciled outline of the hinge.
                      Click image for larger version

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                      Last edited by LCHIEN; 06-01-2024, 01:40 AM.
                      Loring in Katy, TX USA
                      If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                      BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

                      Comment

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