Q I've made a custom dash for my project, and I want to hinge a door in the center to cover the A/C controls and the other switches that will mount in the dash. Where can I get some small, hidden hinges that will work for this application? I've looked at piano hinges, which are available in small sizes, but the barrel of the hinge has to be exposed, and I want a cleaner look. Also, do you think its better to weld the top half of the center bump to the dash, or to make it a bolt-on piece?
Frank Millsap - Via the Internet
A There are many ways to hinge a cover or door. You might check out the Soss brand hinge-it's completely hidden, small in section, and relatively easy to mount. They come in a wide range of sizes, and you could probably use the smallest for this application. You can contact them by telephone at 800-922-6957, or check out their website: www.soss.com
The website has an animation that shows how the clever design of the hinge works, and how the mechanism is completely hidden when the door is closed. I've used these hinges for several projects, and they can be the perfect solution in a number of situations.
Another option is to make hinges similar to a car door, but of course you'd have to scale them down appropriately. The primary problem with this style hinge is that the "dogleg" portion of the hinge requires a lot of room, but they work smoothly, and can carry a lot of weight.
If you weld the hump to the existing dash, you'll get massive distortion on the flat areas. For that reason alone, you could make a very good case for making it as a bolt-on item. Also, since the hinged door will have a gap at its edges, the line of separation between the hump and the dash would make a visual continuation of the door gap. I'd probably go with the bolted construction.
You can email your questions to Professor Hammer at email@example.com, or mail to Professor Hammer, c/o CLASSIC TRUCKS Magazine, 774 S. Placentia Ave., Placentia, CA 92870. We'll print your name and city unless you request otherwise. Ron Covell has made many DVDs on metalworking processes, and offers an ongoing series of workshops across the nation covering all aspects of metalworking. Check them out online at www.covell.biz, or call for a current schedule of workshops and their free catalog of DVDs and fine-quality metalworking tools. Phone 800-747-4631, or 831-768-0705. You can send a request by mail to Covell Creative Metalworking, 106 Airport Boulevard #105, Freedom, CA 95019.