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Topic: Thin Wood
Message: Posted by: ChrisZampese (Mar 9, 2003 05:06PM)
I have a few props in mind that will require hinges to be attached to thin wood. The problem is, I don't really know how to attach these hinges.

The wood that I will use is about 2-2.5mm thick. I can't use screws, and I can't really use bolts as the ends will be in the way.

Any suggestions on methods to attach these hinges. I have used glue on other occasions and it seemed to work OK, but I didn't feel confident that the hinge would hold. Any suggestions on types of glue or other methods for attaching would be appreciated,


Message: Posted by: Chance Wolf (Mar 9, 2003 05:19PM)
Chris, If you are using smaller hinges, they usually come with very small screws. One option is to file or grind the screws until they are just small enough to not protrude through the other side of the wood. Drill a small pilot hole, apply an Epoxy to the backside of the hinge, and install the hinge. Metal epoxy is recommended, usually a dark grey when mixed. Use a Thin coat of Epoxy, staying away from the edges of the hinge so as not to have it squish out the edges. You may use the dreaded rivets as well but I wouldn't recommend them for a nice looking wood effect. If you choose rivets, make sure to use a small washer to the backside to allow a better grip and avoid "pull-thru".
Hope this helps and I am sure there are many other methods as well. Thomas Wayne should be chiming in,with some great ideas, any minute now :)
Take care,
Message: Posted by: RiserMagic (Mar 9, 2003 06:00PM)
I'm with Chance on attaching the hinges. Even though the screws will possibly be ground down too short for the threads to engage any wood, the screw heads look much more professional than the ugly pop rivets so often used. The epoxy will be doing the actual holding for you.
Message: Posted by: Chance Wolf (Mar 9, 2003 06:54PM)
Chris, One other detail. Try to find a small clamp. Pad the clamp contact points with tape or felt stickers and use that to secure the hinge while it dries. Also, find an Epoxy with some "working time" so you have a little room to adjust things before it sets. Jim, thanks for backing me up! :)
Message: Posted by: Jeff Dial (Mar 9, 2003 11:08PM)
Depending on how finished a look you need, with wood that thin you might try Pop Rivets. They are not as nice looking as a brass screw on a brass hinge, but if you are using a steel hinge and will be painting the wood it may be just what you need.
Message: Posted by: Thomas Wayne (Mar 10, 2003 12:52AM)
Depending on the surface treatment of the wood you might try a polyurethane glue such as "Excel" or "Gorilla Glue". I've seen incredible results with bonding metal to wood that are far superior to epoxy. You can still apply the shortened screws afterwards for decorative reason. By the way, most polyurethane glues tend to expand slightly(foaming), so clamping and (very important) masking the surrounding areas are two important steps.

Other approaches might be a fabric hinge - common in small delicate box work - silk or a synthetic equivalent works best, IMO.

Or, you might create an inner plate that aligns with each ouside hinge leaf and hand rivet the two together with brass pins. This approach is somewhat artful, but could be the solution if very high quality is your goal.

Thomas Wayne
Message: Posted by: Kent Messmer (Mar 10, 2003 01:21PM)
I don't know what they are called but they look like the paper brads that are pushed thru paper and the two ends are bent over???
(I hope you know what I am talking about)
I don't know how much weight you need to hold but even the ones for paper might work if you can't find stronger ones.

Message: Posted by: ChrisZampese (Mar 10, 2003 04:17PM)
Thanks for all the advice. I think I will try some different types of glue (metal epoxy and gorilla glue). I also like the idea of using the small screws anyway to give it that finished look.

Thomas, you suggested using fabric hinges, these will probably suit some of my applications, but how do I attach these?? The last time I tried I used a couple of different glues, but they either soaked through the material, left bumps or just didn't stick??

Thanks again,

Message: Posted by: Thomas Wayne (Mar 10, 2003 04:39PM)
On 2003-03-10 17:17, ChrisZampese wrote:
[...]Thomas, you suggested suing fabric hinges, these will probably suit some of my applications, but how do I attach these?? The last time I tried I used a couple of different glues, but they either soaked through the material, left bumps or jsut didn't stick??


Two sources of information will guide you much better than I ever could in a brief post:

1) Go to a hobby store, preferably one that specilizes in hand-built remote control airplanes. Many of the smaller models rely on fabric hinges for the various flaps and rudders that are used to control the planes in flight. You should find all the fabric-to-wood bonding education you'll ever need.

2) Study Tommy Wonder's construction methods in his "Card in the Ringbox", The Books of Wonder, volume 1, page 141.

Thomas Wayne
Message: Posted by: ChrisZampese (Mar 10, 2003 05:11PM)
Thanks for the references Thomas. I might go and talk to the local model shop and see what products they offer. Never even thought of it!


Message: Posted by: Larry Barnowsky (Mar 11, 2003 08:12PM)
If you don't want to use glues and epoxies consider the following: For magic props made from thin wood which will undergo significant stresses and torque on the hinges I have drilled through the wood, installed the screws, and then cut the small brass screws with wire nippers and filed down the exposed screw tip. I find that this works fine if the prop is to be painted. Cutting the screw before hand so it does not penetrate will work also but chances are you'll have a thread or two less anchored in the wood. Another approach would be to use precut screws and adhesive.
Message: Posted by: DougTait (Mar 16, 2003 12:50AM)
The hinges for remote controlled airplane flight controls are made of nylon and come in various sizes (all small). When using balsa wood with the hinges, a slot is made in the center of the thickness of the wood. There is a tool available to do this, although it probably will not work on dense wood.

You can see the hinges and slotter at http://www.dubro.com on page 17 and 37 of their on-line remote controlled airplane catalog.

Epoxy glue should work well with the nylon and wood.
Message: Posted by: JamesinLA (Mar 21, 2003 04:12AM)
Here's another idea. Drill and tap the screw opening in the hinge and then install a flat head machine screw (bolt) from behind the hinge. That is, with the flat head of the bolt recessed in the wood and screwed into the threads that you have tapped into the hinge itself. Then file and sand down the end of the bolt so it is flush with the surface of the hinge.

Message: Posted by: Michael Messing (Mar 29, 2003 08:50AM)
The fastner that Kent mentioned above is likely a split rivet. It is much nicer than a pop rivet. Also, I know some illusion builders use tubular rivets but I'm not sure how they are fastened. (Standard metal rivets have a solid post. Tubular rivets are just what they sound like. Round head with a tube for the post. The tube goes through the hinge and the wood and then a tool is used to flatten the end of the tube. The flattening spreads the tube out, making it very secure.)
Message: Posted by: JamesinLA (Mar 29, 2003 02:56PM)
Reading my post above, I don't think I was very clear. I'm saying tap the already exsisting holes in the hinges. You would do this by opening the holes just a tad with the next largest tap drill. Then use a tap to cut the threads into those holes in the hinge. Then screw a flat head machine bolt/screw from the backside of the thin wood and screw it into the threads in the hinge. There will not be much of a thread in the hinge, but probably enough for this purpose to hold it well. Finally, file, grind, sand down the exposed part of the bolt on the face of the hinge for a very clean look.
Message: Posted by: Thomas Wayne (Mar 29, 2003 03:54PM)
I understood your original post; then, as now, I don't think it's a very workable idea. The gauge of metal used in hinges that one would use to fasten very thin wood would likely be extremely light - on the order of 24 - 26 ga. In metal that thin, you would be lucky to get one complete thread. Meanwhile, the engineering standard for threaded fasteners is an absolute minimum of FOUR threads, for secure holding power.

Even in a large hinge - with leaves at 1/8"+ thick - as one might use for their front door, tapping the hinge plate would be a questionable method of attachment.

However, I have seen some very tiny acorn nuts that might be used on the ouside of the hinge, threaded onto screws coming from the inside. This would probably look fine and work well, if a flush outside surface is not required.

Thomas Wayne
Message: Posted by: magic 12376 (Apr 13, 2003 12:05AM)
I don't know how thin the wood is that you're using, but you might try sex screws. They are available at most hardware stores in different sizes, some for use on certain types of storm doors are quite thin. This will not provide an eloquent or finished look but you can paint them. They're also fun to ask for. :firedevil:
Ronald R. Romiski
Message: Posted by: DoctorAmazo (Apr 14, 2003 12:27PM)
But, then, isn't the name redundant? (OK, OK, that's all I'm gonna say...)
Message: Posted by: kaytracy (Apr 19, 2003 10:30AM)
Has anyone looked into the hinges sold at the wood working shops that are used on glass doors? Or at least those style of hinges? (Look at your stereo/entertainment center cabinet doors.) They wrap from front to back, and have set screws to hold the glass in place. Could/should work on wood, they are a different type of hinge than a flat one though. (How thin IS the wood?)

Also, I have used a backing piece of shim metal and pin riveted through both the metals bits and the wood, clip, peen the end, and add a dab of expoxy or low melt solder to smooth the burr.
Message: Posted by: WizzBang (May 26, 2003 04:15AM)
I use an adhesive supplied by the local fastener company. Aussie Company Universal Meyer makes screws, hinges etc. Basically a specialist hardware supplier.

It is an adhesive designed for the purpose. Basically I use hobby hinges (very small and thin), put two drops of glue, press the hinge to the wood and within seconds it is dry. It has never failed!