Cutting Off the Top and Mortises for the Hinges

author-gravatar Timmy2Hands Jun 27, 2016

It's been about 12 hours since we added the splines to the corners and I'm really excited to see the inside of this box.

Let's get to it.

So now that the glue has dried I use a chisel to trim the splines flush, and then I clean things up and add a slight chamfer to the lid with my little apron plane.

I've decided to cut the lid off 1" down from the top, so I mark a pencil line all the way around the box.

The box goes into the vise and I get out the tenon saw.

I start at the corner and slowly lower my cut down the face.

I turn the box in the vise as needed to follow my line all the way around.

When I'm about half way done, I insert my card scraper and use it as a spacer to keep the kerf from closing up on me as I cut the opposing side.

It's a pretty rough cut, but we can clean it up in no time.

My apron plane and my smoothing plane will do a good job of getting me close.

But to get a really tight and flat fit I use sand paper glued down to a piece of glass.

This was a top from an old end table. It's 3/8" thick and 20" x 22" and it works great as a reference surface. Some people use their table saw surface or a granite block or a flat granite tile. This is what I use.

I use Super 77 spray glue to attach the paper to the glass and a little window cleaner or alcohol will remove any glue residue when you're done.

I lay the work piece down flat and apply even pressure as I move it around in a figure eight motion. I've found that just moving left/right or forward/back can sand the piece unevenly, and one side will be lower than the other. The figure eight motion keeps things a lot more even. It also more closely replicates a random orbit sander.

Sand both pieces and check the fit often. The lid should not rock when put in place.

Now that we have the fit we want, let's put it in the vise and mark out for the hinges.

These hinges are from Horton Brasses and I find them to be of terrific quality and a great price. They are sold in pairs of two and include the screws needed for installation.

I like to place my hinges "one hinge length" from the edge. I place the barrel down against the edge and use the hinge itself to mark for the sides of the mortise. The hinge is actually upside down at this point, but it allows me to use the barrel to keep the hinge square as I mark it out.

This Pocket Marking Gauge comes in really handy for marking out hinges. I can set the depth on one side and the hinge thickness on the other.

I start chiseling about 1/16" away from the line and work my way across the mortise taking about a 1/16" bite at a time with the bevel facing the direction of travel. I stop about the same 1/16" away from the other line.

I place the part against a bench dog as a stop and chisel out the waste. Point your chisel slightly toward the sky with this operation. Keep way from all of your lines at this point, once the bulk of the waste is out of the way it will be easier to trim to the line. 

A router plane comes in very handy for mortising hinges. It's not a must have tool for this, but it makes life a whole lot easier.

Once the lid is mortised, it's time to move on to the body of the box. The steps are exactly the same as the lid, mark out, chisel out the waste, and trim to the lines.

  1. Take a little time at this point to go over everything and clean up where necessary. I clean up any glue squeeze out on the inside corners, I chamfer a shadow line where the lid and box come together, and I take a card scraper to any little dents or dings that need to be taken care of.

I do not install the hinges at this point. I'll do that as the last step after the finish has been applied. The little brass screws are kind of fragile and don't like to be installed and uninstalled a lot.

We are very close to end of this build, next up will be applying the finish and installing the hinges and that will be about it.

If you have any questions about the tools or techniques I'm using, feel free to leave a comment below and I'll do my best to answer.

That's it for tonight though, Thanks for following along.


Never Miss Out

Want an email when I release new Guild content?

No comments yet. Why not be the first?

You need to be signed in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join now