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Router Template for Perfect Quadrant Hinges
Tools and Materials
When it comes to hinges for beautiful boxes, quadrant hinges win, every time. They're as beautiful as they are strong but there's just one catch: they have a nasty reputation for being finicky to install. One of the leading manufacturers of top-notch quadrant hinges, Brusso, offers a solid brass template which can be used in your router, along with a guide bushing. It clamps in between the box bottom and lid (in the open position), allowing you to make two router passes for each hinge. Super simple. The trouble is, the result is a hinge mounted to a box with too much of the hinge barrel showing. Conventional woodworking wisdom teaches us that half of the barrel should be buried in the box. Beacuse of this, I decided to re-engineer this beauty of a template, elongating the routed slots. This results in half of the hinge barrel being buried in the back of the box.
Follow along with my step-by-step instructions below, and check out Part II, for imformation on how to put your template guide to work.
How to Make
Here's the Problem
Hinge Barrels Stick Out Too Far: The manufactured template is great, but notice how it causes the entire hing barrel to extend outside of the box. I prefer to bury half of the hinge barrel for a less obtrusive look.
Make Your Own Template
Less Barrel is More Appealing: With my re-worked template, I'm able to bury more of the barrel. It's the look I prefer.
Augmenting the Template: Click on this photo to enlarge it. You can see where I've used pencil to denote where I'm going to make the new template wider by about 1/16-in. on either side of the template. By the way, you don't necessarily have to re-build the entire template. You could always take this one to a machine shop and have them widdle it down for you.
Use Masonite to Craft a New Template: I began by cutting a square piece of MDF. Because I knew I'd be using my router table, I made my template blank slightly larger than the brass original. The original measured about 4-in. x 4-in. and my masonite version came in at 5-in. x 5-in. Notice how I traced the dimensions onto my masonite. I also found a drill bit with a diameter that matched the brass original—in this case a 1/2-in. to drill a starter hole for the router bit in the next steps. Although I traced the original template onto the masonite, note that I made a tick mark 1/16-in. out from each edge (see first photo at top of this blog post). That's the mark I'll be routing to in the next steps. Remember, the hole point here is to enlarge the template a bit for better hinge placement.
Add Handles to Your Template: To make this template even safer, I attached a couple of temporary hand-holds. These will come into play at the router table in the next step.
Rout the Slot—Step 1: Routing is done in a few steps. Here, I'm making my initial pass. Notice how those hand-holds are being put to use. I'm using a 5/16-in. diamter bit—to match what's on the original template.
Route the Slot—Step 4: And now the final pass to clean up the last template wall. At this point, you can unscrew those temporary hand-holds and continue on in the process.
Add a Fence: The template needs a fence to register against the box sides when routing the hinge mortises. Just like the brass original, I milled up some 1/4-in. stock (out of quartersawn hardwood). Mark the exact center of your template. Then mark the exact center of the fence's thickness. These two tick marks need to be lined up.
Glue and Screw the Fence: Apply a bit of glue to the fence, pre-drill some countersunk holes and attach it. Your jig is now complete.
Two Templates—Same Idea: Here you can see the completed masonite template, alongside its brass original.
Here's how we'll put this little template to use. Check back next Thursday, February 27, 2014 for part two of this blog series, as we put our little template to work.