Have you ever struggled to get all of the screw holes perfectly aligned when you are installing hinges? If you do not pre-drill your screw holes in the center of the mounting holes on the hinge, the hinge can be installed at a skewed angle, and/or the screw heads can fail to seat properly, making an ugly installation.
How do the pros install hinges so that they are perfectly aligned, and all of the screw heads are seated properly? They use a tool called a self-centering bit. One particular company has been making these things for a long time, S.E. Vick, and many woodworkers simply call the tools Vix bits.
A Vix bit is a simple device that features a tapered nose that is automatically centered when placed into a tapered hole, such as on a hinge, and a drill bit that protrudes through the tapered nose when the user pushes the drill down into the cut, drilling a perfectly centered hole.
Operation couldn’t be simpler. Alignment takes less than a second, and then you are simply drilling a hole. For best results, you should install one screw to hold the hinge alignment, then drill your other holes, and finally install the other screws. Self-centering bits include depth stops, so you can’t accidentally drill through. Love that!
Simple, perfect hinge mount every time!
Photos By Author
There are multiple sources for Vix bits, and like any tool you will find a range of quality. Mine are from S.E. Vick Company, and are a high quality option that you can find from a number of tool suppliers. A three piece set including drill bit sizes 5/64″, 7/64″, and 9/64″ should meet most of your needs for installing hinges.
S.E. Vick Tool Company
25886 Dodd Road
Lakeville, MN 55044
Love using these bits!
I knew there had to be a solution. Now I’ve got it. Love this site.
Difficult to find a source of quality sets.
Vix company has a poor website, obviously not geared to selling directly.
Most other offerings are for “Vix style” – So who knows, most “reviewers” are clearly not experienced users.
I learnt the hard way by wasting money on a Chinese set which jams up on every hole.
Clearly avoiding frequent jamming is a problem inherent in the design, as is allowing for depth penetration adjustment.
By now any self respecting cabinet maker, or fit out specialist should be aware of these products, so what we now need are reviews that fully evaluate actual performance.
In case anyone is interested I rate the features needed (in no particular order):
1) Freedom from jamming with drill debris,( it’s difficult to clear).
2) Hex drive shaft – makes for quick tool changing.
3) Modestly priced replacement drills – (drills will break occasionally)
4) Reasonable adjustment for penetration (you don’t want to have to extend your drill hole).
5) Correct grind angle on self centering sheath (Yes some are wrong).
6) Decent box or durable sheath to hold the set together.
7) Colour or other coding, to help quick ID of which is which; nice also to have the drill size stamped on the body.
There not too hard – but don’t buy Chinese, they could get it right but clearly don’t care.
Thanks for the comments. Glad you guys find this useful. I was also quite frustrated with hinge installation before trying these. If you decided to give them a try let us know what you think.
This is the reason I decided to subscribe to WWGOA. I learn something new every time!
My holes for hinges and other mountings always go arwy due to wood grain or something and the resulting off kilter screws detract from a finished look. I didn’t know about these bits and I’ll go find some for future projects.
Thanks I did not know this, get way to improve the quality, Thanks