September 22, 2021

How to Mortise a door Hinge with a Dremel

The process of mortising a door hinge is a fairly easy one, and we can do it with a Dremel tool and a jigsaw. The jigsaw is preferred for this type of work because it can cut both in and out simultaneously and is easier to control than a Dremel. Once the door hinge is cut, cleaning up the cut edges is easy with a Dremel. Let’s look at How to Mortise a door Hinge with a Dremel.

What is a mortise hinge?

A mortise hinge is a hinge leave meant to rest on the plate or mortise into the door frame. The hinge is covered with the door surface, and it is smooth and allows a wider throw of the door when opening. The hinge is of carbon steel or stainless steel. Convenience is what you get from the mortise hinge. 

There are half and full mortise models. Full mortise hinges are popular, and the leaves that come with the hinge lie on the door plate or the door. When using a half mortise, there is one visible hinge leaf mounted onto the door frame. 

The other leaf is attached to the face of the door. There is no need to make cuts into the steel when your frame door has mortise hinges. They are easy to install and ideal for a rigid mounting option. They can be mounted either on the right or the left side of the door. 

When you have heavy traffic entrances and heavy-weight doors, mortise hinges make your door user-friendly. That makes the doors ideal for industrial, medical, and commercial facilities. Stainless steel hinges are resistant to corrosion. 

They have corrosion-resistant properties that suit marine environments. The hinges are in both standard and heavy-duty models. Choose one depending on the location and use.

What RPM to run it at

An average tool runs at 1500rpm, and that means any cutting tool less than that brings ineffectiveness. Although the type of material determines speed, higher rpm brings high performance, making the tool more robust, durable, and energy-efficient. 

Positioning the hinge

What determines the position of the hinges is the movement of the door. If the door swings inward leading to the room, the side of the hinge is on the inside of the door. When the door frame has been mortised, use the mentioned placement pattern. 

Mark the hinge placement on the door by placing the door on its side. The handle has to face the floor. Use a measuring tape to mark the on-center placement of the hinges. Allow the hinge to drop open so that one side of the hinge hangs down. The other end has to rest on the side of the door.  Mark around the hinge using a pencil. A screw also 

Sanding the hinge hole

Make sure that the surface is clean.  Remove grease and old paint from the hinge using a toothbrush. Dip the hinge in hot water to remove stubborn stains. Allow the hinge to dry using a towel. Remove grease and dirt from the screws as well. 

Sand the hinges and screw heads using a medium-grit sanding pad. Take off the sanding dust using a damp cloth. Leave the hinges on a piece of the clean table in a ventilated area. Leave adequate space between each hinge for spraying the edges. 

Mortising the hinge

Put a hinge on the spine of the door. It has to be in line with the pencil line. Use your utility knife to Trace the three-sided outline in the wood using a utility knife. Fix the housings of the door hinge using a Dremel. Please turn it on and push it down until the bit is fully inserted into the hinge.

Step 1

Mark the hinge position on the door using a marker. The door has to lay on its side and the side to receive hinges facing upward. Measure six inches from the top of the door with a measuring tape as you mark with a pencil. 

Make a straight line perpendicular to the spine of the door as you rest the set square in line with your mark. The measurement has to be 9inches away from the bottom of the door. Draw a straight line perpendicular to the spine using a set square and a stencil. When installing a panel door, the smaller panels represent the top of the door. 

Step 2

At this stage, you should have chosen the type of wood you want to use. Prepare the wood for routing. One of the hinges has to be on the door’s spine so that the top end goes in line with the pencil line. Allow the hinge to rest folded over the edge of the door. 

It serves as an axis for opening. Hold the hinge down firmly and trace the three-sided outline into the wood using the utility knife. Keep the blade close to the hinge and make three passes as you put pressure on the blade.  

Step 3

Make the hinges’ outlines darker and outline using pencil over the blade’s cuts. That way, you easily identify the hinge’s outlines when using the router. 

Step 4

Prepare for routing. Open the Dremel’s spindle and insert a bit. Make sure the spindle is tight. Use a Dremel wrench for tightening. Attach a plunge router body to the Dremel. Measure the width of the hinges you are using with the tape measure and loosen the knob that controls the height of the router bit until the bit has a cutting depth equal to the width of your hinges.

Step 5

The Dremel routes the hinges’ housings and position. The plunge router body should be over the hinge area. The Dremel is now ready to start. Please switch it on and push the body down until the bit is entirely inserted into the hinge area. 

Follow the outline made using your pencil as you route. Take out the wood inside the outline. When done, switch off the router and get rid of the dust and remaining chips. Try out the hinges as you fit. When the hinge sits with sturdiness, stop routing. If you have many hinges to work on, repeat the process.

Step 6

As you finish off the task, secure the hinges. Insert the hinges in their housings and screw them into place using an electric screwdriver. Use the screws that come with the hinge set. Start with the central screw as you hold the corners of the hinge in place. That helps you maintain the square positioning. 

Installing the hinge

Trace the perimeter of the hinge and mark the part of the screw holes. What follows after the marking is cutting the hinge. Cutting the hinge gives you the size you want. Thickness matters on the hinge so that it fits squarely with the cabinet face. The process requires caution since it involves a cutting tool. You should also check How to Carve Gourds with a Dremel.

David D. Hughes

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