Tiny Door Hinges- Advent Calendar

Article - October 28, 2010

The Advent Calendar (or Christmas Countdown Calendar) prototype is well on its way. The dado jig worked perfectly! Unfortunately though, my pre-holiday merriment was disrupted when I started to work out the hinge details. The doors on this piece are just under 1.5″ x 1.5″. With 25 of them to attach to the frame, regular hinges are just out of the question. Aaron and I batted some ideas back and forth and it seems that the easiest thing to do right now is simply use two small pins, above and below each door to act was pivot points.

You can see in this image, our main concern is the size of the door and the location of the pin. Obviously the trick is making sure the door clears the frame and opens freely. Aaron did a great job putting together these two samples that show a 1/8″ diameter pin (left) and a 3/32″ diameter pin (right). In both cases, the pin needs to be set closer to the front of the door to help the door swing more “naturally”, similar to what we’d expect from a standard hinge.

So that’s the plan so far, and frankly I feel like there should be a better solution. If you don’t order the little dowel pins pre-made, you’re going to have to cut about 50 little pins yourself. That’s a pain in the nether regions! And the smooth action of the doors will depend on some precision drilling. Nothing that can’t be handled with a few jigs and a little patience, but its not quite as “simple” as I was hoping for. We also toyed with the idea of a friction fit door attached with a leather strap. Neat, but ultimately I don’t think that’s going to give the result I want.

So, anyone have any thoughts? I am going to try to work out the drilling and pins just to make sure everything works as expected and I’ll keep you posted on that. But I was hoping a little brainstorm could yield some unique ideas about how to handle so many tiny doors. Any doll house builders out there?


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