Getting Ready for Hinges

Since I've had such a tough time fitting hinges I thought that finishing the puzzles boxes was the perfect opportunity to build a hinge jig.  Also, since I'll have to cut 16 hinge mortises a jig will make this much faster.  As I continue to learn what it takes to go pro one thing that keeps coming back is making standard operations faster and less error prone.  Sure, fitting one or two hinges by hand isn't that big of a deal, but if I have an hour to finish 4 boxes well I better the process easier.

I found a plan from Woodsmith ( that looked decent and set about making it.  I'm using 1/2" MDF for the body of the hinge, a chunk of red oak for the fence and some aluminum bar stock.  I'm most of the way done at this point - I just need to put some threaded inserts into the fence to hold the adjuster knobs and then cut a square piece of plexiglass as an auxiliary base for my router.  The build was rather quick and easy.  I used my router table to make all the grooves.

Another fun part of building jigs like this is getting to work in other materials.  This one called for aluminum bar stock for the two guides.  You can find this at most home stores.  However, it doesn't come to size nor does it have the holes drilled.  I've heard that most woodworking tools cut aluminum well, but I hadn't tried it before.  So, I gave it a go cutting the bars to length on the band saw and it went through the aluminum easily.  I might not want to do this with my best blade, though.  I'm sure aluminum is dulling a blade faster - might be good to keep an old blade around for such tasks.  A drill press makes short work of drilling the holes.  It went fast and I didn't even need to add any oil (like you would for harder steel or other metals).  A countersink finished off the holes.

I'm hoping to shoot some video of using the jig after I get it finished.