How to mortise door Hinges

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Mortising door hinges might seem like a daunting task, but it’s a crucial step in ensuring your doors are securely and properly installed. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps of mortising door hinges and provide helpful tips to make the process easier. Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or a professional carpenter, you’ll find valuable information in this guide that will allow you to achieve a perfect and professional-looking finish. Keep reading to learn how to mortise door hinges and achieve a seamless and secure door installation.


If you’re planning to install a new door, it’s important to ensure that it is installed correctly. One of the key aspects of this is mortising the door hinges. Mortising is the process of cutting out a recess in the door and the door frame where the hinge will be placed. This ensures that the hinge sits flush with the surface, creating a seamless appearance and providing stability to the door.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of mortising door hinges, step by step. We’ll cover the tools you’ll need, the different types of hinges, and the different methods of mortising.

Tools you’ll need

Before you get started on the mortising process, you’ll need to gather a few tools. Here are the essentials:

  • A drill and drill bits
  • A chisel
  • A hammer
  • A hinge template
  • A pencil
  • A ruler or tape measure
  • A door hinge
  • A door frame

Types of hinges

There are several types of hinges that you can use for your door. The most common types are butt hinges, continuous hinges, and pivot hinges.

Butt hinges are the most traditional type of hinges and are used for most residential doors. They consist of two plates that are attached to the door and the frame and are joined together by a pin.

Continuous hinges, also known as piano hinges, are longer and thinner than butt hinges. They run the entire length of the door and provide greater stability and support.

Pivot hinges are used for larger, heavier doors and are attached to the top and bottom of the door rather than the side. They allow the door to pivot open and closed smoothly.

Mortising methods

There are several methods you can use to mortise your door hinges. Here are the most common ones:

Using a chisel and hammer

This is the most traditional method of mortising door hinges. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start by marking out the hinge’s location on the door and the frame using a pencil and a hinge template.
  2. Using a drill bit that’s slightly larger than the hinge’s thickness, drill several holes inside the marked-out area. Make sure the holes are close together but not overlapping.
  3. Using a chisel, start removing the wood between the holes. Work slowly and carefully to avoid damaging the door or the frame. Make sure the recess is deep enough to accommodate the hinge.
  4. Test the hinge to make sure it fits snugly in the recess. If it’s too loose, use the chisel to make the recess deeper. If it’s too tight, use the chisel to remove some of the wood around the edges of the recess.
  5. Repeat the process on the frame.

Using a router

This is a more modern method that requires a router and a hinge template. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Attach the hinge template to the door using clamps or double-sided tape.
  2. Using a router with a guide bush and a straight bit, follow the template to cut out the recess for the hinge. Make sure the router is set to the correct depth.
  3. Repeat the process on the frame.

Using a mortising jig

This is the easiest and most precise method of mortising door hinges. A mortising jig is a tool that attaches to a drill and guides it to cut out the recess for the hinge. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Attach the mortising jig to the drill and adjust it to the correct depth and width.
  2. Clamp the door and the frame together, making sure they’re aligned.
  3. Insert the drill bit into the jig and start cutting out the recess for the hinge. The jig will guide the drill bit to ensure that the recess is the correct size and depth.
  4. Repeat the process on the frame.


Mortising door hinges is an essential part of installing a new door. It ensures that the door is stable and secure and provides a seamless appearance. There are several methods you can use to mortise your door hinges, from the traditional chisel and hammer method to the more modern router and mortising jig methods. Whichever method you choose, make sure you have the right tools and take your time to ensure that the recess is the correct size and depth.

Frequently Asked Questions

What tools do I need to mortise door hinges?

To mortise door hinges, you will need a chisel, a hammer, a marking gauge, a pencil, a combination square, and a router or a drill.

What are the steps involved in mortising door hinges?

The steps to mortise door hinges are as follows:

  1. Mark the hinge locations on the door and the jamb using a marking gauge and a pencil.
  2. Secure the door in place and use a combination square to mark the hinge depth on the edge of the door.
  3. Use a router or a drill to create the mortises on the door and the jamb.
  4. Chisel out the corners of the mortises using a hammer and a chisel.
  5. Fit the hinges into the mortises and screw them in place.

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