Surface Prep and Hinge Making

Surface preparation with the hand plane and cabinet scraper is now complete. As you may notice in the image below, this yellow birch (a.k.a., flamed red birch) has a chatoyant quality about it; changing colors depending on the direction of the reflected light. This can only mean one thing; that the grain is reversing back and forth with the pattern of the chatoyance. Reversing grain can be very difficult to plane, so I followed my usual approach to surface prep: 1) use only a hand plane, whenever possible, as it gives the best finished surface, next 2) use a cabinet scraper where appropriate to remove visible grain tear-out, then 3) go to sandpaper, if needed, beginning with a courser grit such as 400, and then working up to a final grit of 1,000.

Surface Prep Complete

As I've mentioned before, a project is most enjoyable when I make as much of the piece as I can in my own shop. It is possible to purchase nicely made hinges, but they can be made right here just as well. This 1/8" x 1/4" brass bar stock is a good starting point for these straight knife hinges.

Brass Bar Stock

The brass is rough-cut to length and sanded on one surface which is then mated with another piece and glued together for simultaneous machining. Then, with sandpaper and a watchful eye, the hinge blanks are shaped and made of equal size.

Brass Hinge Blanks

A simple fence, stop, and hold-down jig at the drill press provides the support needed to accurately bore and countersink the holes in each hinge blank.

Boring Screw Holes

Here, all of the screw holes have been bored and countersunk.

Screw Holes

The final steps needed to complete each hinge included: boring the holes for the stainless steel pin, rounding the end of the hinge, making a washer from brass sheet stock, reaming the holes for a tight press fit of the pin into the bottom leaf and a slip fit into the top leaf, and finally, sizing the length of the pins to the exact thickness of the hinge. Here are the completed hinges, ready to be installed.

The Completed Hinges