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Rockler JIG IT Hinge Mortising System

Rockler Woodworking and Hardware is making the difficult, exacting job of routing mortises for quadrant and side-rail hinges in small decorative boxes easy with its new JIG IT Hinge Mortising System.

"Mortising for hinges is among the last steps in building a keepsake box, and a mistake can ruin the entire project," said Steve Krohmer, Rockler's vice president of merchandising and proprietary. "The JIG IT Hinge Mortising System makes it easy to cut clean, perfect-fitting mortises with a plunge router, guide bushing and straight bit."

The system consists of the JIG IT Hinge Mortising Jig platform and an array of five square template inserts, each of which corresponds to a specific type of quadrant or side-rail hinge. (The template inserts are sold separately so consumers can purchase only what they need for their application.) Both the platform and the template inserts are made of durable clear acrylic for maximum visibility.

The platform clamps to the opened box and lid at the same time. Vertical spacers, an adjustable fence and etched guidelines help position the jig precisely along the side of the box at the hinge location. The spacers also position the box and lid the correct distance apart, and the underside of the platform provides a uniform surface to ensure the areas to be routed are flush.

Once set up for a particular material thickness, the jig can be used to cut any number of mortises on material of that thickness. This means that after cutting the mortise for the hinge on one end of the box and lid, the user can move the jig to the other side to cut that mortise without repeating the setup process.

The template inserts fit into the opening in the platform. Each template features precision-milled guide holes for making the cuts needed to achieve the mortise for its specific hinge. Some hinges require as many as three cuts, and the guide holes for those are labeled "A," "B" and "C." The user just positions the template so its "A" aligns with the "A" on the platform and then makes the cut. If a second cut is necessary, the user simply rotates the template, aligns the "B's" and routs away the material. If a third cut is required, the template is rotated again to align the "C's."

"The jig takes care of all the spacing and positioning," Krohmer said. "Before you know it, you're fitting the hinges and putting the final touches on a future family heirloom."

The system requires the use of a plunge router equipped with a 3/8" O.D. guide bushing and locking nut (43877 and 63107, sold separately) and a 3/16" straight router bit (90000, sold separately).

The JIG IT Hinge Mortising System platform (58822) is priced at $49.99, and the template inserts are priced at $7.99 each. All can be purchased at or Rockler Woodworking and Hardware stores nationwide, as well as through the Rockler catalog. For store locations or a free catalog, visit or call 1-877-ROCKLER.