Installing traditional mortise hinges makes some woodworkers want to turn their electric drill on themselves to just end it all.
While practice is the best teacher, there are little tricks that can help when installing hardware. I have a bunch of “dodges” that people have taught me through the years. This one is ridiculously basic, so stop reading now and watch this silly video of cats.
Once you have your hinge mortise cut (an operation that has its own set of tricks that I’ll detail later), put the hinge in its mortise. If the hinge wiggles left or right in the mortise you should press it up against the wall of the mortise that is your “reference wall” – the wall where all your hinge layout began.
Then take a self-centering punch and… what? … you say you don’t have one? Get thee to the home
center and get one. The Stanley 58-013 version is sloppier than the Starrett version, but it’s usually about $6.