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Thread: Installing Quadrant Hinges

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Dunham, Eastern Townships

    Default Installing Quadrant Hinges

    Hi Everyone,
    Woody asked me for some pics of my template for Brusso quadrant hinges. I found some old pics of my first humidor on CD (I lost a lot of pics due to a computer virus) and I thought I'd place them in a thread so anyone can read them in the archives.
    The tricky part about installing these hinges is getting the mortises just right. They are quite difficult to do by hand, since the ends of the leafs are round. In fact I think Brusso designed these hinges to install with a router (not sure though), but I prefer the look of the rounded ends to square ones, so even if I prefer to use hand tools I think it's worth the trouble of using a power tool for a delicate job.
    Another added difficulty I had with my humidor was that I didn't make a top and a bottom separately; instead I made a closed box and cut it into two pieces, the lid and the bottom. This design, along with the fact that I had edge banding that was already installed, meant that I had literally zero margin for error. If the lid went on crooked, or too far to one side, or to the front or back, everything would be misaligned and look quite bad.
    So I needed a precise template to rout all four mortises in exactly the same place on both sides, into the lid as well as into the bottom. Since I didn't want to make 2 different templates (the left template has to be a mirror image of the right template) and since I couldn't make a template with stops sticking out (you can't flip a template with stops to go from right to left, and you also have to turn the template upside-down when you go from top to bottom), I decided to go with a simple flat template made out of plywood.
    The mortise has to be L-shaped, with one side of the L forming a housing for the leaf, and the other side of the L forming a rabbet along the back of the humidor. I could have made a one-step template to do the whole L shape at once, but the outside corner would have had no support for my collet, so I would have had to be very careful not to lose control of the router and stray, as well as having to take the extra step of cleaning up the outside edge of the mortise with a chisel.
    To avoid this I made a 2-step template. I just calculated the length I needed on each side of the L shape, and did one side at a time on two different corners of my template. Brusso quandrants take a 5/16" router bit for the mortise, so to rout the template you just use the same size bit as your collet. I threw out all my calculations as well as my old template (it was worn out), but it's better each person figure out exactly where the hinge should go, then calculate all the dimensions from there. If anyone wants my own specific measurements I'm finishing up another humidor now, so I'll have them soon.
    The pics I have are pretty self-explanatory. I started by routing out the template with a bit the size of my collet, but left everything just a smigin short so I could make final adjustments, after trial fitting, with a rat-tail file. Here's the first edge on a test-piece of MDF:

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    The template is simply held in place by clamps, and since there are no stops I register both sides by touch (with my fingers). It might seem hard but it's surprising how precise you can fit something just by feeling if there's any overlap or not.
    Once the first side is fitted, on to the other corner of the template to do the second side of the L (same thing here: initial cut with a router, then I fine-adjust with a file):

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    WHen this side is done, so is my template. As I said before, the fact that I have a flat template with no stops, and that I have two separate corners to do both sides of the L means I can use this setup to do all four corners of the humidor and get exactly the same results.
    Now on to the humidor. I just fit it by touch and clamp it down. First side of the L (make sure the router hugs the inside of template on this cut...otherwise you'll ruin the humidor):

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    Then the other side:

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    Then I round off the inside corner with a carving gouge (you can do it with a regular chisel too, it just takes more cuts to get a rounded shape):

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    After the main mortise is done, I do the small mortise for the quadrant lock freehand, with an edge guide. I clearly mark out where the mortise has to go, so I don't go too far:

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    If you do go too far, you can fix it quite easily like I did; just glue in a dowel of the same diameter as the router bit (1/8").
    Here's a picture of my worst one. The repair doesn't show at all once the hinge is on, and on this one the router somehow dug in a bit, but luckily this didn't show at all once the hinge was screwed in:

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    All that's left to do is to punch starter holes to drill the pilot holes for the screws. I suggest using steel screws to fully attach the hinges, then you take them out one by one, replacing as you go along with brass screws. If a brass screw breaks as you're screwing it in, I find it easier to drill a new hole on the DP, right down into the shank of the broken brass screw, then repair the hole with some slivers of veneer if necessary to fit a new screw.
    So I hope that's clear, and don't tell anyone I made a mistake. Don't hesitate to ask questions if you have any.
    Last edited by Frank D.; 12-09-2006 at 02:07 AM.

  2. Thread Continues Below...

  3. #2


    Thanks Frank! I learned some tricks from that I will try next time. The broken brass screw can be a real hassle. I have been mostly successful by using this.
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    Have you tried it?


    P.S. Isn't it way past your bedtime?
    You stop learning the instant you start talking...
    And start again when you stop thinking how smart you are.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Dunham, Eastern Townships


    Hi Edward,
    Thanks for the tip, I've never tried those. I didn't think they made extractors for small screws...but I'll certainly get a set with my next order. The DP method works but sometimes I have to grind the shank flat with diamond burr on a dremel so the drill bit doesn't wander. Extractors will make things easier I'm sure.
    The night is young...although I do have a seminar tomorrow so I'd better be reasonable.

  5. #4


    Frank; before I discovered these I did the same as you. I find it is still a good Idea to determine the center of the broken end and sometimes that requires smoothing the broken surface and punching a center mark (I use an ice pick like awl). I find the drill ends work fine but be sure you determine the correct rotation (it is counter clockwise for drilling as well). I find in some situations a small twist drill is much easier to start and then I drill a small pilot hole before using the drill end to get the exact size. In hard woods a pilot hold is a must but for real hard stuff (e.g. hard maple) I also grind a v groove in the steel screw near the end that will cut a thread for the brass screw.

    You stop learning the instant you start talking...
    And start again when you stop thinking how smart you are.

  6. #5


    Frank you must be a mind reader. I'm just finishing up a jewellerie box for my GD and was stuck on the hardware. I wanted to go with Brusso Q-hinges, but I've never installed them before. Given the short time left and the number of other things that need doing before Christmas, I didn't want to start playing with something I haven't done before. Your directions just changed my mind.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Default Should be a course

    I'd take a course on how to install all kinds of hinges. Maybe Lee Valley will have a course in the future. The best drill bit's for drilling out metal screw's bar none are from the
    Those thin little bit's don't break and I just had to drill small holes thru steel and cement the other day with no problems. Hardened steel is no match for those bit's either. They usually appear at woodshow's.

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