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Pilot Hole Guide

After cutting a snug-fitting mortise for a butt hinge, you have one more challenge to face. You still have to drill the pilot holes for the screws. It sounds easy, but I often have trouble centering the pilot holes so that the hinge is held squarely in the mortise.

I decided that the best solution to the problem was to not try to drill the pilot holes “freehand.” Instead, I made a simple guide block that accurately positions the holes for me.

The drawing below shows how this works. The ½″-thick guide block is sized to match the width of the hinge mortise. Then I drill “pilot” holes in the guide block that precisely match the screw holes in the hinge. The guide block simply slips into the mortise and assumes the responsibility for positioning the drill bit.


Good Woodworking,

Ted Raife
Online Editor, Woodsmith

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