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Quadrant Hinge Installation

The quadrant hinge is a complicated-looking L-shaped hinge commonly used on cigar humidors, jewelry boxes and other finely crafted small wooden boxes. Arms of the hinge extend along the sides of lid and base of the box, and an internal sliding bracket extends from and recesses into a slot cut into the base box wall.

Quadrant hinges are installed in the rear corners of a humidor or jewelry box, and serve as both lid support and hinge. The humidor or jewelry box lid is supported at 90 – 100 degrees. Gold plated or gilded quadrant hinges will not tarnish as raw brass hinges will, so are more maintenance free as well as more aesthetically pleasing.

Installing quadrant hinges requires considerably more skill (and appropriate tools) than installing the typical butt hinge. Since the retainer portion of the hinge must recess into the sides of the box, a drill press, or a small router bit is required to crate this recessed area. Also, the sections of the hinge which run along the sides of the lid and box will require a mortised area the exact shape of the hinge wing and appropriately deep for the thickness of the hinge so that it fits flush with the top of the box and the bottom of the lid. Carefully line-up the lid with the bottom, and mark areas to be routed (mortised) with a pencil. Free-handing this mortise with a router is not advised. Set-up a simple straight-line guide for your router with some scrap wood. This jig will take a few minutes to construct, but will save ruining your box with a sloppy mortise. If you cannot figure out how to do this, get a wood working friend to help. A practice run on a piece of scrap might be wise. After you have installed your first set, you’ll have a feel for the technique and it will become a rather routine procedure. Happy humidor and jewel box making.

If you intend to install these hinges on a regular basis, crafting a template to fit each size hinge will save time with subsequent installations.