How to use a router on hinge butt template

Written by paul massey
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How to use a router on hinge butt template
(bifold door image by Scrivener from

The easiest and cleanest way to cut the mortise for a door hinge is to use or make a hinge butt template. There are many inexpensive hinge butt templates available for standard door hinge sizes and, whether you buy or make your template, the procedure for using a hinge butt template to mortise your door hinges is easy to follow and insures a tight, accurate cut.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Hand square
  • Hammer
  • Clamps (optional)
  • Hinge butt template
  • Router
  • 1/2-inch straight router bit with roller bushing
  • Finish nails (optional)
  • Wood chisel (optional)

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  1. 1

    Secure the door upright on its side, with the hinge edge up. Clamp the door to a workbench or sawhorses to make certain it is held stable during the routing process.

  2. 2

    Lay out the hinge locations on the door and extend the centre line of each hinge across the door edge using a hand square.

  3. 3

    Position the hinge butt template on the door edge, aligning the centre line of the template with the centre lines marked in Step 2, then secure the template in place using clamps or finish nails. Make certain the means of securing the template does not impede the full movement of the router through the template space.

  4. 4

    Mount the router bit and roller bushing in the router and set the depth of cut to the thickness of the hinge leaf. The roller bushing diameter should match the template offset from the hinge cut line.

  5. 5

    Hold the router securely on the template and cut the hinge mortise by sliding the roller bushing against the edge of the template guide, then use the router or a wood chisel to clear the remaining mortise area.

Tips and warnings

  • Its recommended to do a test mortise on a piece of scrap wood to ensure the correct depth and cut radius of the template.

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