View Full Version : What's the best way to fix hinge hole missalignment?

Nelson Howe
07-25-2009, 6:40 PM
Apparently I didn't drill my hinge screw holes in the exact right location in a box I'm building, and the lid is out of alignment by as much as a 1/16.

What's the best fix? Would you drill and plug with a hardwood dowel and start over?

And what tricks do you use to get the holes in the right place? I eyeballed it and marked it with my awl, but I guess that wasn't good enough. I'm using Brusso 3/4 inch hinges that stop at 95 degree.


Nelson Howe

Stephen Musial
07-25-2009, 7:00 PM
Yep. Fill it and re-drill it. Tape the hinge in place then use a self-centering bit.


Buck Williams
07-25-2009, 7:07 PM
Nelson, can't help ya, I've never mis-drilled a hole for a hinge.:D I guess inserting a dowel is the best way to get some solid wood in there so that you can re-drill. The Vix Bit does a good job of centering a bit, the tapered end fits into the counter sunk hole in the hinge and it's pretty hard, though not impossible to miss centering the pilot hole for the screw.


Jamie Buxton
07-25-2009, 7:13 PM
Instead of inserting a dowel, I like to insert a cylindrical plug. The grain in the dowel runs the same direction as the screw. I make the plug so that the grain runs at right angles to the long axis of the screw (more like the lumber the screw was originally driven into). Screws hold much better in cross-grain than in end-grain. I make the plug with a plug-cutter. They're available with that name at any woodworking store.

harry strasil
07-25-2009, 8:08 PM
These are what I use.



glenn bradley
07-25-2009, 8:15 PM
+1 on drill it out small enough to be hidden by the hinge, glue in a dowel and re-drill.

Scot Ferraro
07-25-2009, 8:50 PM
+1 on the plug and redrill....this happened to me when building my kitchen and it worked great.


Mike Langford
07-25-2009, 10:15 PM
Fill the hole(s) with some glue.....then drive a few tooth picks in the hole(s) and break them off and trim flush with a sharp chisel.

Then do as the others suggested and tape the hinge down and use a vix-bit!

Barry Vabeach
07-25-2009, 10:20 PM
Nelson, I don't know how big the holes are, but the best way to plug decent sized holes is the plugger from Veritas. I use regular dowels and a pencil sharpener to make the plugs, the taper makes them hold very well. http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&p=32280&cat=1,180,42240,53317

Nelson Howe
07-25-2009, 10:51 PM
Well thanks, everybody. Vixbits and 1/4" plug cutter are on order. I knew there was a better way. And I knew I'd find it here.


Chris Barnett
07-25-2009, 11:29 PM
Second the toothpicks. Used many before I bought the self centering bits....work great. Wish I had them long time back. Oops, jsut wasted my words. I do not get the latest version of the topic unless I refresh. Wonder why the dickens that happens?

Greg Hines, MD
07-25-2009, 11:43 PM
The bit to fix your problem is a Vix bit, or self centering bit. You can get one at any Borg for a few bucks and it is very handy to have for just that problem. The other thing that I have is a self centering punch, which are available in several sizes too. If I have a strange size, I will punch it, and then drill with the odd sized bit.


Eiji Fuller
07-26-2009, 1:34 AM
For a quick fix you can glue in some sharpened matchsticks and redrill the holes. I would drill out for face grain plugs only if the hinge would cover the plugs.

Another quick solution would be to mix up some quick setting epoxy and filling the holes with it.

Are the hinges mortised? Without a mortise its hard to keep the hinge aligned while drilling.

Larry Fox
07-26-2009, 11:16 AM
+1 on the toothpick trick. I have had a lot of trouble of this type with setting the Brusso quadrant hinges. The trick I have been using with success lately to keep things lined up is to use a drop of CA glue on the back of the hinge leaf. Put a drop on each side and set everything in place. Line up the lid where you want it and let the glue set up. Once the glue has set, VERY gently open it and keep everything supported. Mark and drill the holes. I have had things go awry with a VIX bit so I uses a center punch and a pilot hole. It takes a while for me to set the hinges but the result is worth the time to me.