How to install mortise butt hinges

Installing PB-407 Butt Hinges

Currently I’m finishing up on a federal card table project.  I am at a point where I need to make a decision on what to do with the hardware.  After looking at a lot of photos of card tables, it seems that the tops were either hinged using traditional card table hinges or butt hinges.

Since this piece isn’t a commission, it will be a gift for my mother-in-law (Shhh, don’t tell!) & 99.99% of the time will be closed; I chose to go with butt hinges.  The following is how I go about installing them.

After sanding the top, I butt the two pieces together like they would be if opened.  I then place the hinges where I think they would look good & take a rough measurement.

Working on one half of the table at a time, I open the hinge all the way & using a ruler I locate it’s placement from each side.  Once placed, I trace around the face side of the hinge.

Grabbing a marking gauge(set to the outer mark from the table edge) I cut a groove in-between the hinge sides.  Then, using a square & X-ACTO blade, I cut in my vertical lines.

Now that my removal area is defined, I load a 1/8” spiral bit into my trim router & set the depth of cut to the thickness of my hinge.  I use my finger to feel if it’s flush.  (You can also use scrap blocks as a guide.)

With the depth set, I put on a pair of safety glasses, plug in the router, and proceed to cut out the waste.  At this point I’m cutting close to the lines I scribed in but I’m basically using the router to remove the bulk of the waste.

From here I use a sharp chisel to pear the remaining waste to my lines & then test file the hinge.

Once I have completed the removal of waste for both hinges on both halves of the table, I mark & drill pilot holes for the screw locations.  Then, after sticking the ends of the screws in paste wax, I carefully attach the hardware (Making sure to feel how the screw is going in so I don’t twist the top off.).

At this point, all that is left for me to do is some final sanding, apply the sealer/finish, & deliver it.

One thought on “How to install mortise butt hinges

  1. Orion Henderson says:

    The installation techniques Dave uses on the card table are the same you would use for any cabinet or full sized door. The only difference being you need to fit the door in the opening and adjust your gaps.


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