What is the best way to cut hinge slots? I've tried using a hobby knife and
the Dubro slotting tools and find that neither does a very good job - the
slots are too tight for the hinges and it is hard to cut them straight into
the wood. Is there a better way?
Don't throw away those slotting tools. They're fine and doing what
they are supposed to do. Make tight slots. What you need to do is make
them widen temporarily so you can add your hinge to secure it.
At most hobby shops you will find brass items. Find a piece that it
thicker than your hinge and the same width. Slowly force it into the
slot you created and lever it up and down just a tiny bit. The wood
should yield enough to allow the hinge to be inserted and then begin
to recover, gripping it as it does.
If you use glue to install the hinge, remove it and repeat the
stretching again before you glue it in place. If you pin the hinge and
cut the pin, do that and you have your hinge mounted.
One nice thing about the slotting tools is the jig that aligns the
slots for you. The scraping tool to clear the wedge left behind is
ingenious and useful for so many other things in building.
I use a five inch long piece taken from a hack saw blade. I grind one end
to about a forty five degree angle to form a pointy tip with the teeth
running all the way to the tip. Use an exacto blade to cut a slot for the
hinge and then the hack saw blade to widen the slot. The resulting slot
will be just the right width for the hinge toung.
"Martin X. Moleski, SJ" wrote
I use a variation on the above method.
My slotting tool also has an insert to use a small drill bit instead of the
I find using said drill bit guide to drill a hole at each side of the hinge
location _then_ using the home-made slot digging tool gives the best
The drill bit limits the splitting of the wood past the location of the
hinge, and cuts the grain so the wood between the holes practically falls
out with a minimum of digging effort.
Lately, I find myself using Robart Hinge Points rather than flat hinges for
all but the smallest ships.