We will be installing the hinges using both bolts and epoxy, to give them the strongest bond possible. Before we get started, scuff hinges and panels with sandpaper to give them tooth for the epoxy to bond to.
Over several prototypes I have tried measuring the hole positions and calculating where I need to drill or placing the hinges on the panels and marking each hole with a pencil. Every time, I ended up having to redrill holes because something was off. Instead, we’re going to do the third and simplest way I’ve found.
Place each panel on a flat surface (that you can drill on) with a 3/4″ gap between them. For the purpose of the instructions I am assuming you have positioned your panels like in the blueprint, with the lower panel closer to you and the top panel farther away. The shelf side of the top panel should be facing up, the magnet side of the bottom panel should be facing down.
Position your two hinges so that they are widest on the upper panel and narrower on the lower panel, with the hinge knuckle facing up and centered as well as you can in the gap.
This is another “learn from my mistakes” moment. As we have the lightweight sketch easel positioned currently, the bolts will be installed facing up so that the nuts are on the inside and when the easel is closed you do not have bolt tips sticking out, waiting to snag on whatever passes by. There are only two per wing of each hinge because there is not enough room for four bolts. They are angled like they are so they won’t interfere with the nuts on the other hinge wing when closed. Trust me on this one, if you look carefully at my finished photos you’ll notice I have a few extra holes in my lower panel after an emergency re-arrange. No one wants an easel that only half-closes!
Use your pencil to mark the bottom outside holes of each hinge on the lower panel, following the positioning in the blueprint. Remove the hinges, center punch the two marks, and use a 1/8″ bit to drill your first two holes.
Once those are drilled, insert bolts (from the backside) into the holes and slide the hinges back on to them, loosely attaching each bolt’s nut. Reposition your hinges and panels so they look right and then tighten the nuts until the hinges are gently held in place. For your second set of bolts on the lower panel, you can skip marking it, just center-punch and drill straight through the holes. Mount bolts and nuts like you did with the first pair.
The hinges are now attached to the lower panel and it is time to move on to the upper panel. If you haven’t already, make certain the two panels are about 3/4″ apart and evenly spaced. To avoid having to redrill any holes, I would recommend starting with just one bolt, like the upper left. Refer to the blueprint for positioning, it should go in the top-outside hole. If you accidentally reverse it, not only will the easel not close properly, the bottom outside hole is so close to the corner cut on the panel you risk ripping it out.
Mark, center punch, drill, and bolt the first hole. Reposition your panels so they’re lined up correctly and repeat the process for the top right bolt on the other hinge. Once you have those two installed, the hinge assembly will be secure enough that you can quickly drill the remaining two spots and slide bolts into them.
Now that we have dry-fitted the hinges to make certain there will be no hiccups during the epoxy process, disassemble everything, mix epoxy, apply, and reassemble, making certain to get the nuts cranked nice and tight. If you have a little loctite to keep the nuts in place, use it. Personally, I used the remainder of my epoxy to coat the tips of the bolts, it’ll help keep them in place and soften their edges so they don’t accidentally snag anything.
You will want to wait for the last bit of epoxy to cure before using the easel, but if you want to give it a test open/close, by all means do so! You’ve earned it.