Cutting for door hinge can be done in multiple methods. And one popular way is trying it with a router. You can also include a jig for better templating and shortening the process. Or simply choose to do it without the jig.
Of course, both of the processes need you to know bare minimum of cutting door hinges with a typical router. And that’s exactly what we plan to talk about today.
We will be discussing some handy tips on determining the right router for this job, tell you about the entire cutting process and this consists of both methods of with or without a jig.
So, let’s find out how to cut door hinges with a router.
How to Cut Door Hinges with a Router and Jig
There are certain mortising jigs available for use along with routers. These are also commonly known as door hinge mortising templates. No doubt, this stuff that’s super inexpensive is something you should consider buying. As with it being involved, you’ll save hours of work.
The edge of the door needs to maintain a basic rectangular shape. So that it can easily slip over. And then a clamping device gets the role of keeping it secure. Depending on what jig model you are using, the process of setup can vary though. Also, to mortise a door frame for hinges you must be as careful as possible. And including a jig works for that purpose as well.
So how do you make some amazingly precise cuts and still manage to finish the task earlier, let’s find out?
The Setup Phase
Consider the proper hinge size as well as thickness of door to adjust mortising jig. Then you can use the corner inserts and remove or add according to need. Now there can be squared or rounded corners used for the jig to cut mortises. It depends on what insert you basically use.
And if you choose the square shape ones, it definitely will need some chisel work to be done for a more finished look. Right onto the door edge, simply fit the jig following your preferred hinge location. And you must secure everything according to the instructions given by the manufacturer.
And basically, the jig setup to mortise a door jamb with a router should be complete. Now you need to cover some router bit setup steps. To use mortising jigs, often the piloted router bit is more appropriate. And this bit can be either mortising category or the flush cutting type.
There are quite a few jigs that will include bit. For setting up the router bit for door hinges, chuck it inside router carefully. Make sure the hinge lead thickness and depth of bit are matching. To work well with two standard thicknesses of the hinge, there are also jigs that come with two depth gauges.
Now you want to make sure the bit is not in contact with the wood as you set router onto jig. Turning the router on, carefully route mortise. You should start along the perimeter. And then follow a clockwise motion to move.
Then follow with some cuts that move right to left or front to back. And this will help in getting rid of any leftover material from the mortise. As a result, you’ll clean out all the waste easily and end up with a perfectly smooth and flat mortise bottom.
Corners Chiseling If Needed
Now if the corners for the hinge are squared, you need to use a hammer and chisel. This is to square off all corners. The beveled side of chisel should face towards interior of mortise as you hold it vertically. Then use hammer for tapping the chisel.
And it should start cutting one side of the corner. You want to repeat this for another side. The beveled side should be facing upwards while you hold the chisel at a low angle. And then use your hand to slightly push the chisel. This will help to cut out all the waste.
How to Cut Door Hinges with Only a Router (No Jig)
Now, what if you don’t have a jig or something that will help as a template. Well, no worries, you can also use the router itself without implementing templates. It may take a bit more effort, but the possibility is still there. You simply need an electric router, a regular tape measure as well as a pencil.
Measurement Taking Phase
Attaching hinge against door is very similar to what we just discussed previously in the other method above. Here there only difference is the fact that you’ll draw an outline around the hinge, use a regular carpenter’s pencil to do so. And also make sure the marks are clearly visible and thick enough to work with.
Set Router’s Depth
The next step to follow before you cut a door hinge slot is about deciding the depth of router. There should be a depth setter that basically takes your input of what depth in millimeters you wish to go for making cut. Just check the instruction manual if you feel confused about where to find it in your model.
Simply unscrew the depth setter and make it loose enough. Then you can bring it down or up, depending on your needs. And finally, set the hinge right beneath this depth setter to next move setter down. This shall make the setter come in touch with hinge. You can then tighten screws and make some marks for depth. Simply take the hinge out next.
Go for The Cut
Carefully place the router over created outline. And turn the machine on. It should cut to your desired depth, keep plunging it until you achieve the depth. Follow the same manner for all 4 sides of your outline. There should be wood shavings remaining by the end of this process. Simply use your hand to get rid of those and clear the area.
A Bit About the Right Door Hinge Router
With drowned into a bunch of fine-looking models, it’s not impossible to get confused over the right router for door hinges. Something that covers these pointers given below should be your ideal bet.
- Focus on base style of the router. If you are a beginner, go for standard fixed base routers that ensure easy application on the top surface and edge of wooden piece with a stable base. A more versatile choice would be the plunge base routers with flexibility in vertical cross cuts, mortising, blind grooves, and even dado. The fixed base one works fine for door hinge but plunge style is still more preferable.
- The door hinge needs precision cuts with proper space, and your focus for achieving that should be on the bit chosen for router to work with.
- Go for the variable-speed motor to get better results with door works. A router that enables 8000-18000 RPM speed is your ideal bet.
- As a beginner, it’s best to invest in a proper door hinge template. Go for the ones provided by the same manufacturer of your router.
- Adjusting the depth of router should be done without any difficulty when working with door hinge projects. So, get something that allows easy depth change facility.
And that was how to cut door hinges with a router. Having a jig is better than not, so if you can manage to get one, go for it. Also, be picky when choosing the router for such a job. There are plenty of router models that are simply not good enough and you should be able to tell them apart before buying one for yourself.
After all, it’s one of the most versatile and useful gear to have as a woodworker and you don’t want to pick the wrong one. On that note, ending the article for today, see you soon on some other woodworking topic.
This is Adam Sullivan, the author of tchardwaretools.com! I started my days as a mobile carpenter to become a full-time shop owner, and have been living my professional life for more than 8 years now.
Here I want to share my thoughts, experiences, and ideas through this platform. Stay Tuned!