Tuesday, March 10, 2009

hard to see but explains a few things

Some craftsmen complain about the high cost of Brusso hinges, and as I've said, you can use less expensive hinges in making a perfectly fine box. One of the challenges, however, is to bring the hinges up to a higher standard for use. The photo above shows the slight offset in leaf position common in rolled brass hinges. Remember that as these are made, two pre-cut pieces of brass are rolled together around the hinge pin, and while most hinges are made well, there is often a difference in how the outside edges align when the two halves of the hinge are folded together in the closed position. This is something that you may not notice until the lid is attached to the box, and a slight offset between the base and lid becomes apparent.

So can they be fixed, and how?

Here's what I do. Before I install the hinge, I use a file or sanding block to equalize the width of the leaves. Hold it on the barrel side with the leaves touching and stroke on the file or sanding block until both leaves are equal. Watch closely stroke by stroke and remove stock only until you begin to see scratch marks on the shorter leaf. You will need to do both hinges from the set and file an equal amount on each. Sound like a challenge? Most fine woodworking is. And special attention to the hinges is one of the prices you pay when you choose not to use the best. Fortunately, any well made brass hinge on a beautiful wooden box, will last a lifetime, and the few minutes you spend making certain the hinge is just right is little in consideration of its long life. You can buy 20 pairs of cheap rolled brass hinges at your local hardware store for the price of one pair of finer brass hinges.

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