Wow ‘Em With Wooden Hinges

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incra hingecrafter for wooden hinges
Incra HingeCrafter - Available from Rockler
Sometimes it’s the little things in life that really make your day – like seeing the A-hole on the freeway who passed everyone on the shoulder getting a ticket – or just happening to stop at Von’s to get some organic fruit per the wife’s instructions, and finding out beer and ribs are on sale! And when that extra mile you took to make your project a cut above the rest gets noticed by your friends and peers… awesome. Wooden hinges will definitely make that happen.

Local neighborhood Geppettos have been making wooden hinges forever – but mostly for the little jewelry or knick knack box that gets put on the shelf or hidden in someone’s office or bedroom. No one ever gets to see these. What a waste. Sure, you can pull out your precious little box and admire it from time to time. But c’mon – let the rest of the world see your greatness!! And that means making full size wooden hinges. The ones your entertainment center doors will use. The ones everyone will see!!!!

Imagine hearing this – “How did you do that? Did you buy those? You made these? Dude?!?!?!” Oh yeah, this makes my day…

Make the Most Out of Your Wooden Hinges

So here’s how you do it to get the most mileage out of the awesomeness of wooden hinges. Mortise the hinges into the face frame of your cabinet and glue and clamp. No screws. You made your hinges out of the same material as your face frames, so if you play with the grain direction a little, the hinges will almost disappear.

Allow For Less Than Perfection

Woodcraft wooden hinge
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Just like anything having to do with precision, you need the right tools when making these hinges. Sharp drill bits, sturdy clamps, and the touch of Geppetto wouldn’t hurt. But even if you use the best tools, you won’t get perfection – and the function side of me wants to remind everyone that there is no adjustment in these super bitchin’ hinges. So – be smart and make your doors oversize to start with so you can adjust the size of the door to fit the opening, instead of adjusting the hinges as you would do with metal ones.

Yeah, yeah, we all make our openings square and true. But just in case we were interrupted by some impromptu dinner or family gathering …… make the doors big, and then cut to fit after hanging. If it’s a furniture piece, and not a built in, the gaps are going to change every time you move the guy. Just make it fit once, and shim the piece whenever you move it. Trust me – one married guy to another – she’ll probably make you move it a lot!

Wooden Hinge-Making Methods

There are lots of different ways to make wooden hinges. Woodcraft has a website on how to make them, but it’s way more Geppetto than I like. Check out Incra Hinge Crafter, and you can set up your routers and jigs and make it all happen that way. You can order The Incra HingeCrafter setup for about $80 at via our sponsor Rockler.  It does take skill, patience and attention to detail, but a good woodworker is doing this all the time anyway.

Add this little piece to your arsenal and enjoy the little things in life. And share!!!!!

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About Brad

Brad Baker is Vice President of Operations at Miller Woodworking in the Los Angeles area, designers and builders of custom cabinetry and interior millwork for the rich and famous. They make the impossible, and their work has been featured in fancy schmantsy architectural glossies more than a few times. All that high end creative stuff aside, he maintains a strong spiritual belief that the real sign of a good woodworker is all 10 fingers. He and his wife Ann Baker co-write for HomeFixated. Ann is CEO of Publicity Pros, a firm that provides “All Things Publicity” services and training for small businesses. She’s a hopeless nerd who revels in anything and everything having to do with the technology of attracting attention. And, no joke, she loves to bake.

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