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I have many doors in my home that we would like to switch to using a different style hinge made by Baldwin. The hinges are the same profile as the current hinges, but, are twice as thick.

I know I can use a router with a template jig to route the mortise to be deeper. However, is there a bit I can use or some other technique I could do to increase the mortise depth without having to set up a template? Bottom bearing bits typically seem to be much too long for me to use for this purpose.

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    I've used an oscillating saw to plane down hinge beds. It worked well when used like a chisel to define/plunge the edges. I then drug the flat blade across the flat inside area like a farmer's plow at various angles to control aggressiveness. The teeth of the blade slowly and evenly erode the surface, leaving sawdust in the wake. You can sink down a hinge area 2mm in about 20-30 seconds with this technique. Not great on the blade, but nice to the wood and your wrists.
    – dandavis
    May 13 at 19:02

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Have you considered a hammer and chisel?

It's very likely that you could easily chisel out the extra 1/8 - 1/4" of wood in much less time than it would take to set up a template, much less finding the right bit, adjusting depth, etc.

If you're doing the frames as well as the doors (which would be logical, it's likely both leaves are thicker than the old ones), you'd have to pull the stop trim off the door jamb or make a custom fit template with thicker and thinner portions to accommodate the stop. None of that's necessary with hand tools.

With a nice sharp chisel, you tap straight down all around the edges of the existing mortise to create stops to ensure you don't split out too much wood. You then start chiseling out the "field" from the mortise area, going only as deep as your stop marks. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Until your edges are as deep as they need to be, then you should (you may have to pause to sharpen the chisel again) be able to lay the chisel flat and hand push it into the open side of the mortise to flatten out the hinge area. The hinge can accommodate some small low spots in the mortise where it rests, you just don't want any high spots, so this isn't rocket surgery, though it may take some practice to be reasonably proficient at it.

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    Hand work usually has less oops than power tools for small stuff done in place.
    – crip659
    May 13 at 15:59
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    +1 for rocket surgery May 13 at 16:24
  • I've tried chiseling, but I've found that I am terrible at it. The depth I end up with varies all over the place. After messing up two doors, I have abandoned trying it that way. May 13 at 16:36
  • Sorry to hear that, @DavidPfeffer. Sharp chisels really help. Check out Woodworking for tips on sharpening. Also, consider doing some practice on random scraps of wood before digging into more finish work. I do understand the predicament, though. Unfortunately, using a router will require a template and those can be difficult to make accurately as well as difficulties in clamping them in place on a door/frame. My first attempt at making a router template for half-lap joints didn't go well. Fortunately, it was for a bit of shop furniture and beauty wasn't required.
    – FreeMan
    May 13 at 16:43
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    Note that if you're truly terrible at chiselling, it will at least give you the opportunity to practise your wood-filler skills… eventually the two will balance out ;)
    – Tetsujin
    May 13 at 18:14

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