how to chisel a hinge mortise

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Step-by-step instructions on how to chisel a hinge mortise in your next project! This simple procedure is perfect for fixing drawer hinges, cabinet doors, or even a fence. With just a few easy steps, you’ll have a perfectly fitting hinge.


If you’re looking to add some extra flair to your woodworking projects, consider chiseling a hinge mortise. This unique technique can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to any piece. Here’s how to do it:

1. Start by marking out the mortise on your workpiece. Use a pencil or other sharp-pointed tool to make precise markings.

2. Next, use a chisel to start carving out the mortise. Be sure to keep the chisel angled so that you’re only removing small amounts of material at a time.

3. As you continue chiseling, be sure to frequently check your progress against the markings you made in step one. This will help ensure that you’re staying on track.

4. Once the mortise is carved to desired depth, finish up by smoothing out any rough edges with a file or sandpaper.

Tools and Materials

-Wooden boards

If you’re looking to add some extra detail and pizzazz to your woodworking, chiseling a hinge mortise is a great way to do it! This technique can be used on all sorts of projects, from cabinets and doors to furniture and more. And the best part is, it’s not as difficult as it looks! With a few simple tools and a little bit of practice, you’ll be able to create beautiful hinge mortises that will add that professional touch to your work.

Here’s what you’ll need:

-Chisels: A variety of chisels will come in handy for this project, so it’s a good idea to have a selection on hand. You’ll need both large and small chisels for different parts of the process.
-Hammers: A hammer is necessary for driving the chisels into the wood. Make sure you have one that feels comfortable in your hand and that won’t slip when you’re using it.
-Mortise: The mortise is the hole that will be created by the chiseling process. It should be slightly larger than the hinge itself so that it fits snugly around it.
-Wooden boards: You’ll need two pieces of wood that are wide enough to accommodate the size of your chosen hinges. These will serve as the support for the door or piece of furniture you’re working on.

Now that you have all the necessary tools, let’s get started! Here’s how to create a hinge mortise:

1) Begin by marking out the area where the mortise will go with a pencil or chalk. It’s important to be precise here, as any inaccuracies will show up once the hinge is installed. If possible, use a template or stencil to ensure perfect symmetry.

2) Once the outline is complete, start drilling pilot holes at each corner with a drill bit slightly smaller than your chosen chisel size. These holes will help guide the chisel as you carve outwards from them later on.

3) Next, begin carving outwards from each pilot hole with your chosen chisel size until you reach your desired depth (usually about 1/4 inch). Work slowly and carefully here so that you don’t accidentally go too deep!

4) Finally, use a smaller chisel size to clean up any rough edges around the perimeter of the mortise before installing your chosen hinge type

Preparing the Hinge

A hinge mortise is a pocket cut into the door or frame to receive the hinges. Chiseling out a hinge mortise can be done by hand, but it’s much easier with a power drill and chisel.

First, use a sharp pencil to mark the location of the hinge mortise on the door or frame. Then, using a 1/2-inch or larger drill bit, drill pilot holes at each corner of the mortise.

Next, switch to a chisel and remove the waste material from between the pilot holes. Start with a wide chisel and then switch to a narrower one as you get closer to your final depth.

Finally, test fit the hinges in the mortises and make any necessary adjustments. Once everything fits properly, you’re ready to install your doors or frames!

Marking the Mortise

When it comes to hanging a door, one of the most important steps is creating a hinge mortise. This is basically a hole that the hinge will fit into, and it needs to be perfectly sized in order for the door to hang correctly and function properly. Chiseling out a mortise can seem like a daunting task, but with these tips you’ll be able to do it like a pro.

First, start by marking out the area where the mortise will go. You’ll want to use a sharp pencil or pen so that your lines are clear and easy to see. Once you have the general area marked out, use a ruler or tape measure to get precise measurements of the width and length of the mortise.

Next, grab your chisel and get ready to start chiseling away at the wood. Start by making shallow cuts along your lines – you don’t want to go too deep just yet. Once you’ve made some initial cuts, you can start deepening them until your chisel is flush with the bottom of your mortise (this may take some trial and error).

Once you’ve reached the desired depth, it’s time to start working on getting those clean, crisp corners that are essential for a well-fitting mortise. To do this, hold your chisel at an angle (about 45 degrees) and tap it gently with a hammer until you’ve achieved nice clean corners.

And there you have it! With these simple tips you’ll be able to create professional-looking hinge mortises in no time – just make sure not to rush things and take your time for best results.

Cutting the Mortise

A mortise is a hole cut into a piece of wood, and it’s usually rectangular or square in shape. Chiseling a hinge mortise is one of the first steps in hanging a door.

The size of the mortise will depend on the size of the door hinges you’re using. For example, if you’re using 3-inch door hinges, then you’ll need to cut a 3-inch wide by 1-inch deep mortise.

To mark out the mortise, first use a pencil to draw its outline onto the surface of the wood. Then, use a chisel to start carving out the waste material from inside themortise outline. Work slowly and carefully so that you don’t accidentally remove too much wood or damage the surrounding area.

Once you’ve removed most of the waste material, use a file or rasp to smooth out the edges of the mortise until it’s exactly the right size for your door hinge.

Fitting the Hinge

The first step is to find the center point of the door and mark it. Then, using a tape measure or ruler, transfer those marks onto the hinge.

Next, take your chisel and score a line around the entire perimeter of where you want the mortise to be. Be sure to make your lines as close to perpendicular to the door as possible. After you’ve scored your lines, use a hammer to start chiseling out the waste wood in between them.

Start with a small chisel and work your way up to a larger one as you get closer to finishing the mortise. When you’re satisfied with the depth of your mortise, clean up any rough edges with a file or sandpaper.

Now all that’s left is to insert your hinge into the mortise and screw it in place!

Finishing the Mortise

A mortise is a hole cut into a piece of wood, and chiseling a hinge mortise is one way to create this hole. The first step is to mark the area where the hole will be cut. Once the area is marked, use a sharp chisel to begin carving out the mortise. Be sure to angle the chisel so that the sides of the mortise are sloped; this will make it easier to insert the hinge later on.

Next, use a hammer to tap the chisel as you continue carving out the mortise. As you work, periodically check your progress by inserting the hinge into the hole; when it fits snugly, you’re done!


There’s no need to be daunted by the prospect of chiseling a hinge mortise. With a little patience and attention to detail, anyone can do it! Here are some tips to get you started:

1. First, mark out the area where the mortise will go. Use a pencil or other sharp implement to make precise markings on the wood.
2. Next, use a hand saw or power tool to cut along your lines. Be careful not to cut too deeply – you just want to create a shallow groove for the chisel to follow.
3. Now it’s time to start chiseling! Begin at one end of the mortise and work your way towards the other, using short strokes and frequently checking your progress. Keep going until themortise is deep enough to accommodate your hinge leaf.
4. When you’re finished, smooth out any rough edges with sandpaper before fitting your hinge in place. And that’s all there is to it!


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