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Cutting door hinges and knob boring

4950 Views 11 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Dave Sal
I need to replace several doors in my house and will likely just get slab doors for which I must cut the hinge mortise and bore the knob sets for each door.

I'm fairly skilled and learn fast, but the one door I cut hinges for came out ok, yet a bit ragged (used a razor knife and wood chisel). Fortunately, it was only for a water heater enclosure, and I will likely caulk to hide the jagged edge.

Is there an easy way to do this? I'm not opposed to buying a router, mortise jig and door knob install jig (kit?) but which ones to buy? I don't want to spend a fortune, but also want reasonable quality, as I'll likely use the router in the future (and of course, the jigs need to get me through this project with good results).

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Look in the 'how to' section here for a thread by Willie T on hanging doors----

I use a router with a guide--- and razor sharp chisel---for the lock sets--Irwin makes a cutter set that work for a few doors and then falls apart----really good ones cost a bunch.
Look in the 'how to' section here for a thread by Willie T on hanging doors----
Click On:
Plastic Door Knob,Door Lock Installation kits are now made be DeWalt
or even by HFT

also from IRWIN
i had the irwin it was a peice of junk the only part worth keeping was the hole saw

if you decide to go the router route, a laminate trimmer works best. their smaller so their easier to control one handed.. either a 1/2" straight cut bit or a 1/2" pattern cutting bit with a top mount bearing work best.. you need a template for the pattern cutting bit though which can be shop made out of 3/4 mdf
Sharp knife and very sharp chisel, for the hinges, use hinge as a template and mark around it with knife.
Hole saw for the knob, use square and tape measure or combination square to lay it out.

Better then a cheep jig.
If you have round corner hinges, router with a template would be best. Template bushing allows for making smaller template. For square hinges, you can do well with just a chisel, but get a good sharpening stone. Put the hinge on the edge and score with a razor. Deepen the score line with the razor, but watch you don't start to split the wood. There must be youtube video on cutting hinges.
You should make a simple door jig and a way to butt the door against something so it doesn't move when cutting. Search for such a jig.
If you were planning for a router, get at least Porter Cable. Laminate router is smaller and easier to handle, but has less use for lack of power. If you have no plan for a router, Dremel, I think, will work and has more uses. Don't route to the cut line. Stay away 1/16". Remove most of the wood then finish with chisel.
If you use an edge guide---you will only need to chisel the left and right sides of the cut---

If you have a router already---give it a try on the edge of a 2x4---good practice---

Woodwork by Kirk made a wise suggestion---a trim router or a small well balanced regular router is good for hand held work---

First time router buyers some times get to heavy and clumsy a router---
Take a look at the Bosch colt. I have one and its great.

If you have a lot of doors you may want to rent the porter cable door hanging kit fro your local rental place.

I just hung one door and bought the Irwin Jig. The others are correct it is a POS only 17 bucks. OK for a few doors. No good if you do doors for a living. A good set of chisels is a must IMHO.

"Always put the hinges on the door first" From my Dad. :wink:
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ive hung thousands of doors. for new construction, complete remodels and for clients that just want a fresh look..

if im building my own jambs (which is what i do 99% of the time) i hinge the door then take the jamb stock and mark the hinge locations right from the door instead of going by measure because of less chance for error. if im replacing an existing door in a frame thats staying i make a story pole to transfer the marks..

from there i use a router.. occasionally i use a jig and occasionnaly i just free hand it . either way works but a jig is better for production.. freehandin you need a steady hand. but as mentioned i use a laminate trimmer i have both the bosch colt and the makita trimmer. just be sure your using a sharp bit and take your time with it
The Original Carey Template Hinge Mortising System - Lee Valley Tools

A contractor I worked for had one of these...."nifty". You have to decide if it's worth it.:thumbsup:
If you don't want the expense of a router and jigset- A set of good quality sharp chisels, especially a small quarter inch one if you are doing rounded hinges, will work. Trace the outline with a sharp knife first.

What I like to do is place the door slab in the opening-Shim off the floor the amount you want it off the floor, shim square in the opening-cut or plane if needed. Then when you are happy with the fit, mark the hinge locations off the existing frame onto the door. I carry a pack of plastic shims around when hanging doors for this purpose.

If going from hollow core to solid door- I will typically add a middle hinge, and chisel the mortise into the existing frame as well.

I've used those Irwin jigs in the past for the handle hardware. They will do the job, but as mentioned don't tend to last for more than a few doors. However they are much cheaper than a high quality one, so if you are only doing a few doors it will probably suit your needs just fine.
A few years ago I replaced the cheap builders grade lauan doors in my house with solid core oak six panel doors. Since I was going to do that many I decided to buy a jig for cutting the hinges. I bought a Hingemate kit. A bit expensive but cheaper than mangling up a door. Worked out well and all of the hinge mortises were cut perfectly.
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