Hardware problems

The box I’ve been working on for, what seems like, the last several decades is almost complete. The carcase and its matching lid are done, so the task of attaching the hinges that join the lid to the box sets me considering how best ensure both line up. I wanted to cut a shallow rebate to seat the hinge so the flanges would sit flush with the edge and to also inset them the same distance from each side. Marking that out will take two measurements, and for me having to make two marks means twice the chance of making a mistake. Being able to cut both marks at the same time would be better. But how?

One of the illustrations in my current bedtime favourite, John A. Walton’s Woodwork in Theory and Practice, shows a method of marking the depth of the rebate with a marking gauge set directly from the hinge itself. This got me thinking how to use a marking gauge to mark out my problematic rebate. I came up with an idea that seemed like it might work, so I took a few photos while I tried it out just in case it did.

Set the jaws of a mortise gauge to the width of the hinge, then set the head of the gauge to distance the hinges will be inset from the edge. Excuse my grubby fingers.
Grubby fingers

With the head of he gauge on the side of the box, make the mark with mortise pins. Flip the gauge and repeat on the other side. Do the same for the lid.

Marks for the rebate on both the lid and carcase line up perfectly.

All the necessary marking for the width and position of the rebate have been made so now the depth of the rebate could be marked as Walton describes. I did it by eye because the rebates were barely 1/32″ deep and easy to pare out with a chisel. The hinged lid went on with only the slightest gap at the back and it makes a very satisfying woody clunk when the box is closed. A couple coats of varnish and it will be done.


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