Lee Valley Tools    Woodworking Newsletter
   Vol. 5, Issue 4
   March 2011
   What Is It?

What Is It?

Today's availability of pre-hung doors has somewhat simplified the fitting and hanging process for the finish carpenter. Pre-routed hinge gains in both the door and the jamb eliminate any guesswork. Only with a custom-built door does the installer have to lay out and fit hinges and associated hardware. Regardless of what type of door is being installed (pre-hung or slab), doing it properly is still somewhat difficult to do repetitively; it's just that some of the rules have changed.

By coincidence, we find ourselves again examining the fertile mind of Aaron Thomas Binkerd of Allegheny, Pennsylvania. As stated in the Featured Patent section of this newsletter, Mr. Binkerd was most prolific in producing useful tools for woodworkers. He had two patents granted on the same day, December 4, 1888, and with consecutive patent numbers, 393,880 and 393,881. The tools described are somewhat different, somewhat similar, yet totally complementary to each other in use.

This tool is described in the first patent as a gage chisel used to cut a hinge recess. Fixed cutters along with a depth-control device (screw) provide repeatable marking and scoring at the intended placement of the hinge. Two outriggers guarantee that the placement of the cutters is consistent, depending on the thickness of the door and the location of the hinge. The patent also states that with some reconfiguration, the tool could be used to work on the jamb to replicate the same cutting dimension. The iron ring on the tool's wooden handle can be taken as evidence that this tool was well used. The gauge is made of bronze with steel cutters and adjustment screws and is marked with "Pat Mar 6 88".
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