Mortise hinges in a flash!

The Hinge Master Flash is a hinge mortising toolset that anyone can use, from novice homeowners replacing a single door to professionals framing multiple doors every day.

Case Study

Attaching a door to a frame with chisel and hammer has not changed since 650 BC. You set a hinge leaf on the door edge, pencil trace around the metal rectangle, cut along the mark with a sharp utility knife (don’t cut yourself, worse, don’t stray outside the line) then chisel out a narrow strip of wood, leaving a shallow, sometimes lumpy cavity (called a mortise). Into the mortise, you will insert the hinge leaf. Repeat up to three times, depending on how many hinges are on the door. If you have a hinge with rounded corners, it’s going to take even longer to evenly cut multiple radii out of the wood.

Our client came to MID to modernize and accelerate this time-consuming process. The idea was to create a flexible tool that could easily cut mortises for the hinges, then switch to cutting one for the door stop.

He had two requirements: his tool, formally called the Hinge Master Flash, had to be intuitive and simple so that homeowners could safely and reliably mount a door on their first attempt.

The second requirement was the tool needed to be robust and durable, for professional carpenter/contractors to quickly hang multiple doors every day of the week.

MID developed the idea through several iterations. The concept was sketched, modeled, and engineered in appearance and function in SolidWorks CAD, with test mockups fabricated in our prototype lab. Each refinement was cutting-tested on real doors and frames until we arrived at the final design iteration.

The Hinge Master Flash consists of two companion tools. The Mortise Cutter has a grippable soft overmolded handle. The Cutting Head has interchangeable cutters for different size hinges, including ones with rounded corners. The tool cuts the outline of the hinge on the door edge or frame. Finally, the companion Hinge Master Flash Plane makes quick work of leveling a surface without lumps or irregularities. Hinges lay flush with the door edge every time.

To wrap up and display the tools at retail with high visibility, MID designed a compact lockable carrying case and retail packaging graphics.