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In our demonstration, we install a simple brass hinge in a piece of hard maple (Image 1).
Use a vise to steady your work as you install hinges. Hold the hinge in place as a template and score around it using a utility knife (Image 2). Score all the way around three sides of the hinge. This will keep the wood from splitting as you chisel out wood to flush-mount the hinge.
To hold your hinge temporarily in place as you score around it, you can apply a drop or two of hot-glue to the back of the hinge using a hot-glue gun. This will steady the hinge without a permanent bond.
A large hinge might require use of a router, but a small hinge like the one in our demonstration can be installed using just a hammer and sharp chisel. With the scored markings as a guide, chisel out a mortise for the hinge-plate to rest in. Chisel out just enough wood so that the hinge can sit flush with the surface of the wood.
Once the wood is chiseled out, pre-drill holes for the mounting screws that will hold the hinge in place. To ensure that the holes are centered precisely, you may want to use a specialized self-centering bit. The guide sleeve on the outside of the bit makes sure that the hole is centered.
With the hinge in place, set the bit over the hole in the hinge and drill the first hole. Repeat for the other holes.
Once the guide holes have all been drilled, install the hinge using flat-head wood-screws (Image 1).
Tip: If you need to re-drill a guide hole very near to a previously drilled hole, you may find it difficult to place the new hole in close proximity to the old one. To relocate a pilot hole just slightly, you can first use a wood dowel to plug the earlier hole, as shown in Image 2: sharpen a point on a thin wood dowel using a knife (or a pencil-sharpener), place a drop of woodworker's glue in the hole and insert the end of the sharpened dowel into the hole. Then chisel off the end of the dowel, leaving the point behind to fill the hole. Allow the glue to dry before drilling thesubsequent hole.