Boxer Hinges


Grumbler in Training
Feb 22, 2005
Hi everybody,

I know this has been talked about several other times, but I cannot find quite what I am looking for in the archives. I am framing a rifle using the Boxer molding and I need to hinge it so he can open it. Could someone please tell me what hinges you use and where you get them. I have been to Lowe's, Menards and the local hardware store looking for piano hinges and no one knows what they are. Also, could you tell me what size you use so I could look online if all else fails. Thanks!
The woodworking suppliers have small dimension piano hinges -- I like to buy from Lee Valley & Veritas or Rockler.

I suggest hinging a long side. If the frame is to be horizontal, such as displayed over a fireplace, put the hinges along the top edge. That way they would be mostly out of sight, and gravity would hold the lid closed.

If the frame is to be displayed vertically, the hinge would generally be placed on the left side, so the frame opens like a book. However, the customer may prefer hinging the right side -- you should ask his preference. In side-hinged boxes, rare-earth magnets make dandy closures. The woodworking suppliers also offer latches & locks for cabinets, which you could adapt.
If you are handy and have access to a drill press, I prefer the hidden aspect of a Soss hinge from the same suppliers.. also use of rare-earth mags.
To install a piano hinge most simply, just screw it to the mating edges of the frames. That leaves a gap of about 1/8" between the frames, which you can fill by gasketing with thin weatherstripping. That pads the connection between the frames and keeps out dust.

Or, if you are so inclined, you can rout or cut away the thickness of the hinge in closed position, allowing the frames to fit tightly together. That is, if they are perfectly aligned and if neither of them is warped, and they stay that way.

The Soss hinges Baer mentioned, like their lighter-weight barrel hinge cousins, are most suitable where the hinges must be hidden. Trouble is, their strength ratings are more limited than normal hinges, so you would need to use several of them. If your rifle-sized frame's "lid" has glass in it, you should probably use at least 6 of them.

Baer might have slightly understated the difficulty of installing them. He said "If you are handy...", but I say you have to be a &%$@ machinist to install them properly. Typically, for each hinge you need to drill two perfectly straight holes about 1/2" apart (depending on the size of your hinges) and then neatly rout out the wood between them. To top it off, you often have to do that machining within 1/32" of the frame's edge. Tricky -- but if you can make them work, they are completely out of sight.
I've bought piano hinges at Lowe's and/or Home Depot. If I remember correctly, they're in the aisle with cabinet hardware and door hinges and things like that. It's hard to believe that a hardware store wouldn't know what a piano hinge is. I've done some hinged Boxer frames using them. I've just attached them to the outside of the frame. It's quickest and easiest that way and they're shiny brass and look nice. Also if I remember correctly, there are 2 widths. You want to get the narrower one so that it doesn't stand out past the edge of where the top moulding curves inward.
OK had to Frankenthread and share...

The wife was looking over my shoulder and noticed this thread.....

"Is that about taking those little pieces of KooZoo paper thingies and rice gluing and all for a pair of jocky shorts?"

"No," I dismissed her "that would have been Japanese Jockey Hinges...".

and THAT folks, is why there is only ONE framer in the family.