A comprehensive educational community devoted to trim carpentry, finish carpentry and architectural millwork. Hosted by nationally recognized author and finish carpentry specialist Gary M. Katz.
  Soss Hinges  

All the doors in this home were swung on Soss hinges and skinned with 1/8 in. bookmatched birch, using a red-powdered ureaformaldehyde glue--nasty stuff. Working with the glue was hard enough, but cutting the skins out to fit each door while not harming the fall-off, was the hard part.

I used a small 4 1/2 in. Makita panel saw and a straight edge. Because the base/table of the saw wasn't mounted very securely to the motor, I had to tap the base to align the saw before making each cut.

I mitered the return panel to the left of the door, leaving it long, then scribed it to the stone, removing just enough material so the miter fit perfectly.
This pantry pop-out was bookmatched in the center and at the corner. The hinges on the door are mortised into the corner of the wall, perpendicular to the door, and mortised into the back face of the door. All of the hinge mortises were cut very close to the masonite door skin, otherwise the doors would not have cleared as they swung open. This door, and a set of pivot doors in the bedroom (not shown) were supposed to be 1/4 in. off the ceiling. You can guess why they're 1/2 in. off the ceiling.
The entry closet was also a bookmatched pop-out with a Soss-hinged door. All the paneling is birch.


Scribing and hanging the doors was the easy part. Installing the hinges was also easy, compared to skinning the doors. I used a Bosch plunge router and a Soss two-step hinge template. A three-inch long router bit was just long enough to cut the mortises in the doors.

I set the depth of the router with the depth guide, so the hinges would be perfectly flush. By the way, don't bevel the butt side of a door for Soss hinges--the bevel on the door will cause the hinge to pinch.


Now you can buy two-step templates from Soss, but they weren't available when I hung these doors. I used a Templaco template and installed my own stop screws. With the screws backed out, the first pass is cut to the depth of the hinge shoulders. Then the screws are driven in before cutting the deep pocket mortise. Oh...in case you're wondering, that's Bondo filler on the template. You can probably guess why.


Do NOT attempt to drive these screws without drilling a perfectly centered pilot hole


I didn't use that nice long router bit to finish the mortises in the jambs. Instead, I drilled out the last couple inches with a paddle bit, knowing I'd probably hit nails.

Jambs for Soss hinges must be reinforced. Before mortising for the jambe hinges, I install a length of solid wood behind each hinge, flush with the edge of the jamb. I fasten the backing with screws and liquid nails, that it's one with the trimmer or jackstud, then I cut the pocket mortise.

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