Routing hinge mortises for complex quadrant or side-rail hinges in a small box is not only difficult, but a routing mistake or misfit mortise could ruin the project entirely. Rockler intends to simplify the process significantly with the new JIG IT® Hinge Mortising System (item 58822).
It consists of a large acrylic Hinge Mortising Jig platform with etched guidelines, vertical spacers and an adjustable fence. These adjust to position the jig precisely over the top of the hinge mortise locations on a box, with both the lid and box spaced the correct distance apart and flush with the platform’s bottom face. Once the jig is clamped to the box and lid, the platform provides a sturdy surface for milling the mortises into both the lid and the box simultaneously with a plunge router. The ½-in.-thick platform will suit materials ranging from 3/8- to 1-in. thick.
A large cutout in the middle of the platform accepts one of five square acrylic templates that correspond to a specific type of quadrant or side-rail hinge. Each template has precision-milled guide holes for making the required cuts to complete the mortises. The holes are labeled alphabetically in the order of cuts to be made. And, by rotating the template inside the platform so it aligns with a corresponding letter for each cut, the jig takes care of all the spacing and positioning.
Once the proper routing depth-of-cut is set for a particular hinge, the user can cut the mortises for one hinge, then unclamp and move the jig to the other end of the box for cutting mortises for the second hinge, without repeating the setup process.
The templates sell for $7.99 each, and they are sold separately from the platform, so you can buy the specific template to suit your project. Cuts are made with a 3/16-in. straight router bit inside of a 3/8-in. O.D. guide collar in the router. The bit (item 90000; $13.99) and guide collar/template guide lock nut (items 43877 and 63107; $7.99 and $4.99) are also sold separately.
Additional mortise templates for other hinges are coming soon.
Rockler’s new JIG IT Hinge Mortising System is priced at $49.99 and is available now. You can buy it and any of the five hinge templates online or at Rockler stores nationwide.