Router Jig for Perfect Hinge Mortises

Ed Pirnik and Jeff Roos

If you’ve ever built a box with a hinged lid, or a cabinet with a hinged door, you know how difficult it can be to get the hinge mortises aligned perfectly. Any misalignment in any of the mortises can cause the hinges to bind or leave unsightly gaps when doors or lids are closed.

In order to rout perfect hinge mortises in boxes, Fine Woodworking senior editor Matt Kenney developed a simple router jig that works in conjunction with a bearing-guided pattern bit. The jig is built of MDF and can be built in under an hour. Best of all, with a few modifications to the basic design, you can also tackle hinge mortises in cabinet doors. In this short video, Kenney shows you how to make the jig, and how to use it to cut perfect hinge mortises, every time.

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Published at Wed, 29 Jul 2015 04:00:00 +0000


School Garden Box

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Our woodworking group (Diablo Woodworkers) will be teaching 75 elementary school students (and their teachers) to build a Garden Box. These students, 2nd through 5th grade, are already engaged in outside garden activities requiring each student to have a box to plant seeds and grow plants. The teachers see this as an opportunity to have students also experience woodworking skills.

The school did not have a design, so SketchUp became an important collaboration tool. I was told that the box should be 12 x 12 – the only specifications – so there was much flexibility. The following image shows the final approved design, after sending several SketchUp views and dimensions. Also I’ve shown the prototype in Monterey Pine.



SketchUp will also be used in the classroom building sessions, as it provides a step-by-step procedure for the construction at school. This should help teachers and children to orient and join the box components. Also it shows where woodworking tools are introduced, such as the hammer, awl, hand drill, and screwdriver.

Step 1 – Position the Front piece flat on the floor with its top edge facing you. Insert the two Ends into the dado joints as shown. Make sure that the top of the Ends is vertical and facing you.

Step 1

Step 2: Place the Back piece on top of the Ends with the dadoes lined up. Make sure the top edge of the Back is facing you. Push down on that the Back so that it fits over the Ends.

Step 2

Step 3: Hammer the nails into the drilled shank holes

Step 3

Note: Make sure to hit the nail head with the hammer flat, not angled as shown below:

Step 3 1

Step 4: Turn the assembly upside down, and position the Base on the bottom of the assembly

Step 4

Step 5: Hammer the nails into the Base.

Step 5

Step 6: Place a pencil line across the Base as shown, to locate the position of the Feet.

Step 6

Step 7: Place the edge of the Foot on the pencil line.

Step 7

Step 8: With the Awl, poke through the hole to mark the location of the screw pilot hole in the Base.

Step 8

Step 9: Move the foot, and use the drill to make screw pilot holes in the Base. Locate the drill point in the mark made by the Awl.

Step 9

Step 10: Use the Screwdriver to insert the flat head wood screws.

Step 10

Step 11: Repeat those steps for the other Foot.

Step 11

Step 12: Use files and sandpaper to round over and smooth all the sharp edges.

Last Step



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Published at Thu, 29 Sep 2016 16:55:31 +0000


Draw a Birdcage or Basket Pull

Recently a gentlemen requested some hints on how to draw a small birdcage or basket pull for a project he’s working on. In this video I show a couple of ways to set up to create the birdcage portion of the pull. I think this is a component that could be drawn to a high degree of detail but probably doesn’t benefit from it. In these examples you’ll note that the curves aren’t overly detailed. When viewed as a small part of a larger project, however, I believe they get the job done.

In the first method I used the Curve Maker extension which is available in the Extension Warehouse. In the second, I used a Bezier curve from Fredo’s Bezier Spline extension which is available from the Sketchucation Plugin Store. In both cases I used TIG-Weld, too. It’s also available from the Sketchucation Plugin Store.


Birdcage 1200px

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Published at Sun, 25 Sep 2016 17:10:47 +0000


Museum bench

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Simple but not boring was the goal for this bench, which incorporates two tilted planes for the seat and wide, solid legs pierced with a keyhole slot at the center. Hurwitz refined the design in scale models and made a one-seat mockup to test the seat for comfort before he and his assistant built the real thing out of red elm.

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Published at Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:51:15 +0000