Ways to Cut a Hinge Mortise

Is there a better way to cut hinge mortises than with a chisel and mallet?

John Brock: I suppose that depends on how good you are with a chisel and mallet, and how many mortises you have to cut. If I have just a few to do I’ll use a chisel. If I have a bunch to do, I’ll set up or make a jig so I can use my router.

Richard Jones: A handheld router can often be used with a straight bit and a side fence. This will remove the bulk of the waste, just leaving rounded corners to square out if necessary. There are jigs out there all set up for doing this particularly for architectural doors if that’s the kind of hinge mortising you need to do on a daily basis, but for occasional use, the router, straight bit, and side fence can be very handy.

Carol Reed: Rout them. Make a jig that fits the hinge, then use it with a short trim bit that has the bearing on the shank end. Rockler Woodworking and Hardware carries one. They also carry a ready-made jig that works.

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