Marking location for installing knife hinge

A knife hinge is a contemporary hinge that comes in two formats; an L-shaped hinge and a straight hinge, which have different purposes and results. An L-shaped hinge allows a door to be inset and swing out and around a carcase side or leg. A straight hinge is for an overlay door where the door is covering the carcase frame, the hinge sits on the side and allows the door to swing out and away, which is used when there will be a drawer to pull beyond the door.

This video was produced for its free video library by The Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine. The Center is a nonprofit, international woodworking school dedicated to providing the best possible education in wood craftsmanship and design.

How to Install Knife Hinges with Tim Rousseau

In this video, Tim Rousseau, an instructor at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, demonstrates how to install a knife hinge. Choosing hardware is an important aspect of designing a piece. Before even milling lumber, what hardware to use and how it will work in a project needs to be thoroughly thought through and laid out. It is very important to cut the mortises in the (already cut and dry fit) carcase pieces before glue up.

Hinges are normally mortised so they are flush into the carcase of the work, so the door will need to be sized to be a little less than the opening in the carcase to match the "reveal", or gap, given from the gap of the hinge. The position of the hinge will also be different in a mitered carcase to protect the mitered edge from becoming brittle next to the mortise.

Using blue tape, double sided tape and a 5/64" drill bit layout and knife where the hinge will be mortised. Route close to the blue tape but leave enough to safely chisel out after. When mortising a mitered case, a great tip is to use CA glue to strengthen the edge.

It is usually best to have the pin side of the hinge in the case and the hole side in the door. Put both sides of the hinge together in the case and fit the door onto the hinges. Once the door is on the hinges in the carcase, it may need a fine tuning with a hand plane to match the reveal on all sides.

Check out the video above for a step-by-step walk through of how we install knife hinges at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship.

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