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I am about to install 5 gate hinges along the 14 foot long edged between two boards. I'm concerned that there will be a misalignment so that the hinges don't operate smoothly. Before I start trial and error fitting, can someone offer a best practices method for getting a good alignment in a case like this?

I thought I would start with the two hinges at each end and then, testing the operation as I go, work my way to the middle with the other hinges, but I still feel like there is more trial and error to this than there should be.

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  • A laser line would be my starting point.
    – Solar Mike
    Oct 29, 2021 at 19:57

2 Answers 2

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Your plan is the right way to do it but I'd suggest using a straight board as a fence clamped to one board and attaching the hinges to the one board and then moving the fence to the other board and attaching the two end hinges, test the operating, and attach the rest of the hinges.

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  • Job done! I simply aligned the gate hinges along one edge. Folding each hinge over the edge squared them and set them flush with the edge. While I noticed that they did not necessarily stay flush once I installed the screws, they were close. I attached to the mating surface starting with the end hinges first then center, then the remaining two. End the end, it worked better than the 14 foot long piano hinge that I replaced. Apparently there is a little play in these hinges that make them forgiving about placement. I don't think I would do this with a door, but this was about gate hinges.
    – Jim
    Oct 31, 2021 at 16:59
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Make a jig!

  • Start with a thin piece of plywood or hard board - 1/8" or 1/4" is plenty thick enough.
  • Lay the hinge on your jig and trace around it.
  • Carefully and accurately cut out a hole so the hinge will drop right in.
  • Align the jig at the edge of the board so the hinge lines up exactly the way you want it, clamp the jig in place.
  • Using a piece of 1x2, 2x2, or other small stock, hold it tight against the board, under the flat jig.
  • Run a couple of screws through the flat stock and into your 1x2.

To install hinges:

  • Simply clamp the edge of the 1x2 where ever you need to put a hinge.
  • Place the hinge in the hole
  • predrill the holes for the screws
  • then drive the screws.

So long as your flat stock is screwed to the 1x2 at a perfect 90°, every hinge will also be lined up exactly square to the edge.

Set the jig on the shelf for the next time you need to install hinges of that size.

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  • Excellent answer! I kind of get lost in the middle, but catch up before the end....
    – gnicko
    Oct 29, 2021 at 23:43

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