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I am wondering if it's entirely necessary to mortise a door and jamb for hinges and other miscellaneous door hardware. The only thing I can think of is that, in addition to being screwed in, the mortising increases integrity by locking the hinge in place provided that the fit is tight. Outside of that, it looks like it comes down to aesthetics and just looks nicer.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Well, let's take hinges for example. They typically have plates 3 or more millimeters thick and with two such plates it means you need a 6 millimeters gap between the door and the frame to accomodate the hinges. Do you really want a 6 millimeters gap? It will conduct noise, let unwanted cold/hot air through the door, it'll be very easy to put a crowbar and break the door open.

If you don't care of having a huge gap - no problem, you can install hinges without making mortises for them.

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I always assumed that the mortises carried some load as well. – Evil Elf Apr 11 '13 at 12:16
@EvilElf: You'd have to make them with ultra precision for that. Usually they are a bit larger so that the hinge is easy to insert and then all the load goes to the screws. – sharptooth Apr 11 '13 at 12:21
They make special hinges that don't require a mortise and don't take up that much extra room: woodcraft.com/category/1002188/nonmortise-hinges.aspx – Steven Apr 11 '13 at 13:11
@Steven: Great, but this assumes you're willing to tolerate the gap as wide as the hinge plate thickness which is usually used to accomodate future paint. – sharptooth Apr 11 '13 at 13:13
@sharptooth: I always wondered that. I love this place. – Evil Elf Apr 11 '13 at 17:26

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