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    Simple Sanding Jig Solves a Big Problem on Custom Box

    It’s fairly common to mount hinges in a box with the hinge barrel being located in such a way that it is bisected by the box side. This leaves a minimal amount of the back end of the hinge showing on the box exterior. The trouble is, if you’re not 100 percent dead on with the barrel placement in relation to the box side, your box lid can rub the box base slightly when the lid is fully opened. This occurs when the barrel/hinge is located slightly too far “into” the box. In a veneered box like this, that can spell big trouble.

    That was the problem with this small box but luckily, the solution was simple. By adding a very small chamfer to the two hinged edges, that rubbing issue is relieved. While you could rout the chamfer using a router table, in a case like this, where the box is already finished, that’s a dicey situation. The last thing you want to do is suffer some blowout from the router bit in a finished project. The solution is sanding.

    By building a small jig with a 45 degree fence, and then gluing a bit of 220-grit sandpaper to it, you can carefully sanding away a perfectly flat, uniform chamfer quickly and easily. Then it’s just a matter of re-mounting the hinges and enjoying a box that opens without causing damage on those back edges. Simple and effective.

    Sanding Jig in Action
    Click on any of the images below for a larger photo.

    Veneered box The Problem
    The hinges on this box were mounted slightly too far "into" the box. Half the hinge barrel should be showing, but it looks like it's a bit more than half in this image.
    Sanding jig Sanding Jig
    This simple jig is nothing more than a 45-degree fence mounted to a block. Sandpaper was glued to the fence.
    Using a sanding jig on a box Jig Positioning
    The jig is brought to the box edge in question, so that the 45 degree sanding fence can do it's job, making a slight chamfer on these fragile back edges.
    Using a sanding jig Super-Fast
    It shouldn't take any more than a few seconds of sanding to relieve the back edges enough for smoother hinge operation.