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Hinge Butt Template Kit (which one?)

Design2Reno's picture

I have a few doors to do and interested in purchasing a Hinge Butt Template Kit?  Does anyone have some ideas about these kits?  Lee Valley, Porter-Cable, Bosch, etc...

Thanks, Dennis

(post #125803, reply #1 of 22)


you want that in 3 or 4 hinge...


Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming

WOW!!! What a Ride!
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!

"Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints"

(post #125803, reply #2 of 22)

Not Sears and not the plastic Porter Cable unit. The Sears unit has the guide too far above the work. It's too easy to let the router tip a bit and ruin the cut. The bit that comes with the PC unit will melt the edge of the plastic if you slow down just a bit too much. After that, you won't get a very good edge to the mortise.

George Patterson
George Patterson

(post #125803, reply #3 of 22)

I am looking at three hinged.  I was thinking of this system:


The house I am working on was built in 1912 (craftsman).  Two hinges on each door.  The door knob and lock are in the older sytle combo system (rectangle looking).  I want to change to the newer style so I also need to fill the door jam with liquid wood or something like that.

(post #125803, reply #4 of 22)

I have not used either, but I took a look at your links. My Porter Cable unit is a single template; if I did more doors, I would opt for something like this. I can't tell from the photos whether or not the PC templates have plastic inserts. I did notice that they include one of their router bits. This combination of plastic bit guides and the PC router bit is what I would avoid. The router bit creates a lot of heat and will melt the plastic unless you move fast.

The Veritas unit is also plastic. I would look into how it works. If you are expected to use a router with a sleeve insert and a straight bit, that might be a good choice. If you are expected to use a bit with a ball-bearing guide that runs against the insert, you have the potential for the same problem the PC unit has.

George Patterson
George Patterson

(post #125803, reply #5 of 22)

I replaced 8 doors a few months ago and either of those will work for you and both of them will require just a bit of getting use to before you'll get comfortable using them (just like most other tools)

If it were me I would go with the lesser expensive one because it dosen't sound like you'll be doing a lot of doors once you're finished with this project. If on the other hand you were going to include doors into your list of specialities, than I would opt for the more expensive option.

(post #125803, reply #7 of 22)

I've used the Sears Hinge template quite a bit.  I think it's a good tool for the price.  It works well, but definitely requires a careful touch to avoid tipping the router as you mentioned.  If I were to replace doors on a more regular basis, I would consider a more professional template.

For anyone using it for the first time, I would suggest practicing (a lot) first.  And instead of tacking it to the edge of the door (as the instructions suggest), I use small screws and a pilot hole.  It helps keep the template from wandering off the mark because of the wood grain.

Here's a link to the template:

And here's the baseplate that I use:

(post #125803, reply #6 of 22)

the Lee Valley unit is junk

the Porter Cable is ok, but I would only buy it if I could get it at a yard sale.

the Porter Cable case is the most poorly thought out case on the planet.  it could double as a pool cue case.

i own the Bosch and an old Stanley which is actually the same unit.  just older looking.  it's best use is for cutting the hinges on both door and jamb in unison, especially with multiple doors.  works well.  it is not as well suited for cutting the hinges on a new door retrofitted to an old jamb.  you can do it, but it's a little slow.   you have to use just one template and center over the hinge location.  sometimes when you drive the pins when using a single template they catch funny grain on the door and the template moves. 

for retrofitting doors in old jambs you need a Hinge-Mate

As mentioned in the reviews, the Hinge Mate works great for retrofits ( way better than the Bosch or PC), but is not good for mortising hinges on installed jambs.  This is the perfect tool for going into a house and installing all new doors in existing jambs in the whole house.

if you just need to cut the hinges on an occasional door and jamb, get one of these from Lie-Nielsen  Nothing puts a smile on your face like using this plane.  Damn quick too.  Faster than setting a router up for one door.

as you can tell, I have the Bosch, the Hinge Mate and the Lie-Nielsen plane.  The plane was a gift for installing a skylight on a 12:12 roof with no chicken ladder. 

carpenter in transition

Edited 9/20/2007 12:31 am ET by timkline

carpenter in transition

(post #125803, reply #8 of 22)

The only problem with the Hinge-Mate is you can't bevel the hinge stile of the door if you use this. If you do your mortises won't be flush. Get the Bosh.

(post #125803, reply #9 of 22)

wow, there's one i never heard before.

i don't put much more than a 2 degree bevel on the hinge side.

and i've never seen the issue you describe.

how much of a bevel are you using ?


carpenter in transition

carpenter in transition

(post #125803, reply #10 of 22)

The Bosch is looking like the best choice I think.

As mentioned before the home is old (1910). The old doors had skeleton key locks in combo with the glass door knob. Therefore the door jam has a larger hole than required for a latch set of today. Does anyone have ideas of how to fill the old jam lock way so I can router a new one?

(post #125803, reply #11 of 22)

custom fit a wood(s) block to fit from the same type of material as the door...


Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming

WOW!!! What a Ride!
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!

"Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints"

(post #125803, reply #12 of 22)

That is because the Hinge Mate clamps square to the faces of the door, not tight to the edge. Hence, if you bevel, you're mortises won't be flush. Like I said, get the Bosch.

(post #125803, reply #14 of 22)

thanks, i know how it works.

i'm just curious about how much bevel you were putting on the hinge side.

after 15 years of owning both the Bosch and the Hinge Mate, our guys routinely grab the Hinge Mate first when doing door replacements.

i will agree with you that if you are only going to own one, get the Bosch because it is more versatile.

as far as a hinge not laying flat in a mortise on a 2 degree hinge bevel ?  if there isn't enough flex in the Hinge Mate unit to get the bearing plate to align with the door edge and as a result the two are not in exact alignment, then the hinge leaf will be standing proud the thickness of a playing card on one side.

hardly worth getting your underwear in a bunch.

i had more of a beef with the Hinge Mate people that the hinge backset was not adjustable in two directions.   i even called the owner and complained to him about it.

i got the cost/benefit speech.


carpenter in transition

carpenter in transition

(post #125803, reply #15 of 22)

I bevel my doors more than 2*. Probably if I was hanging a really nice door I would back off on my bevels because it looks better. but for basic doors and function I'm probably doing 4*. That doesn't take into consideration what type of weatherstrip is used either. I really dislike tight weatherstrip that interferes with the function of the door.

______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ There are three kinds of men: The one that learns by reading, the few who learn by observation and the rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. Will Rogers

(post #125803, reply #16 of 22)

When you guys are referring to the 2% bevel where would this be exactly.  Can you point me to a diagram or techincal document?

Thanks, Dennis

(post #125803, reply #20 of 22)

I don't have diagrams but I think I can explain this. Some people just bevel one side of the door. The strike side. When you are closing the door the first edge of the door that goes past the jam tends to be the closest to it. For that reason the leading edge of this side of the door is shortened a bit by beveling it.

The second place you bevel the door is where the hinge leaves are mortised in. If the jam is twisted a bit, there is a lot of paint on the door or jam, or if any of the screw heads are proud of the hinge leaf, there is some badly applied weatherstrip, these two surfaces can hit each other before the door is completely closed. This condition is called being hinge bound.

To help prevent this the edge of the door where the hinges are mortised in is beveled. You would lower, or open up the hinge a bit by taking off the side opposite form the barrel of the hinge.

I bevel both sides of the doors I install because I want the door to work properly when I install it and down the road when it might move a bit or someone puts heavy coats of paint on it or installs weatherstrip badly.

Is that clear as mud?

______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ There are three kinds of men: The one that learns by reading, the few who learn by observation and the rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. Will Rogers

(post #125803, reply #13 of 22)

I would definately go with the metal kits ( or the Hingemate).  Check ebay, you can usually find a good deal there ( look under Porter Cable, Delta, Rockwell, Black and Decker, Stanely, Milwaukee, Bosch).

Porter Cable = Rockwell = Delta

Bosch = Stanely = Milwaukee = Black & Decker

I would stay away from the plastic Porter Cable or the Carey jigs.


Why do you want to replace your old locksets???  If they are in working condition, they can be worth something.

Live by the sword, die by the sword....choose your sword wisely.
Live by the sword, die by the sword....choose your sword wisely.

(post #125803, reply #21 of 22)

"Bosch = Stanely = Milwaukee = Black & Decker"

I have the Milwaukee setup. Shall I assume that replacement parts are the same if I get them from Bosch?

(post #125803, reply #17 of 22)

If I understand this correctly, you are re-hinging a bunch of doors in a turn of the century house.

Hinge jigs have thier place, usually hanging new doors, but every door you are about to rehang has been set by hand. Every hinge will be at a slightly different level on every door.

To take advantage of the existing screw holes and door to jamb hinge placement, it would be quicker IMHO, to set the new hinges the old fashioned way.

The jig you are looking at may not speed the process and may possibly complicate matters.

On the other hand, who wouldn't want one? I've hung 3000+ doors with my heavy duty Bosch jig (it has thicker pins) without a problem. Don't forget to assign a designated router to the jig, that way you always have a router perfectly set for hinges.

Beveling the hinge side?? Maybe if the hinge jamb is set askew and the door binds. It would be a repair item, not a standard practice.








(post #125803, reply #18 of 22)


I've hung I don't know how many doors over my 30+ years, and I was taught from the start to bevel both edges. Granted, if the jamb is set properly, it's not necessary.

And all the other carps I know around here do the same.

Maybe its a regional thing. But even 100+ yo doors I've repaired have had the hinge side beveled.

(post #125803, reply #22 of 22)

I've seen it too. Possibly hinges in days gone by had no clearance built into the swage. With modern hinges the practice of beveling the hinge side of a door is more habit than necessity.

The door could be hung left or right if pre-beveled. All doors would have an inside and an outside, throw the hinges on whatever side you like. No mix ups.

Personally, I never bevel the hinge side. I do however, increase the bevel of the latch side as the doors get smaller. On a 36" or larger door there is no need for a bevel. A 16" door needs an enormous bevel because the radius of the closure is small.







(post #125803, reply #19 of 22)

  I have used both the Porter Cable and the Bosch.  Get the Bosch.  It is exactly like the old Stanley that my old boss had used for years.  The Porter Cable is like so many other of their tools; they take a "new" approach in an effort to be different and it's worse, much worse.