Hinge Location Jig
Transfer hinge locations from door to carcase with marksmanlike accuracy.
Mounting hinges on an inset cabinet door is a straightforward process. You lay the door on your workbench, locate the hinges where you want them, and screw them in place. If they need to be mortised, you mark the outline of the hinge leaf with a knife or chisel. But how do you accurately transfer the hinge locations to the carcase or to another door? Project building Chuck Hedlund faced this situation not once, but four times when making the built-in bookcases featured in the April 2001 issue of WOOD magazine. To solve the problem, he devised a single-use jig. Here's how to make your own.
Cut a 2-1/4"-wide, 1/4" plywood rail 3" longer than the door you are hanging, and two 3/4x2-1/4x2-1/4" plywood stopblocks. then cut four 1/4x3x3" plywood index blocks for each hinge. Glue and clamp the stopblocks to the rail at one end, as shown above. Now, temporarily remove the rail.
Stick small pieces of double-faced tape to the door next to the hinges. Adhere index blocks to the door, snug against the hinges, as shown below.
Stick a large piece of double-faced tape to each installed index block. Now, hook one of the rail's stopblocks on the door's top edge, and press the rail onto the index blocks, as shown below. Keep the rail's back edge and the index blocks' back edges flush.
To make the jig usable on both right- and left-handed doors, align a second set of index blocks with the first, sandwiching the rail between them, as below. Carefully remove the rail and attached blocks from the door. Drive 1/2" wire brads from both sides to lock the squares in place.
Hooking one stopblock on each door's top edge, use the jig to locate the hinges on the rest of the doors. Drill the hinge screw pilot holes.
Once again, hook the jig's stopblock on a door's top edge. Mark and trim the rail to extend 1/16" beyond the door's bottom, as shown here. This extra 1/16" is the gap between the door and the carcase. Mark the jig's top end. Remove the stopblocks by cutting the rail just above the top index blocks, as shown.
Now the jig is ready to position the hinges in the carcase. Simply place the jig against the inside of the cabinet with the rail's marked end up, as shown at right. Clamp or use double-faced tape to hold the jig in place. The index blocks bracket the hinges, just as they did on the doors. Position the hinges between the index blocks, and drill the screw pilot holes.
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