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Woodworker's Gazette
Gazette Archive 5/12/04

Horton Brasses Hinges
by Tim Talma

When working on a project that requires hinges, it's simple to run down to the local hardware store and pick up a pair of inexpensive folded brass hinges. But when your project really needs to stand out, a pair of extruded brass hinges, like the ones available from Horton Brasses, are a better choice.

A hinge is a simple device, allowing two pieces of material to pivot. However, there is a lot of difference in quality between inexpensive folded hinges and slightly more costly extruded hinges.

A folded hinge is made by taking a flat piece of metal, stamping the hinge pattern out, and folding the hinge fingers around a pin. Thin metal is used in order to keep costs down and production fast, so pivot tolerances can be loose. What you wind up with is a low-priced functional pivot that looks satisfactory.

An extruded hinge is made by forcing the molten metal through a form. This form has the hinge knuckle on one side and is flat on the other, called the extrusion. After this extrusion has cooled the fingers are cut in, the holes drilled, and the pin inserted. This method produces a hinge that is very strong due to the hinge being formed from a solid piece of metal, as opposed to bending a flat piece of metal. Extruded hinges usually have a snug fit and attractive finish.

When I received the extruded brass hinges from Horton Brasses, I could instantly tell they were different than those the local hardware store carries. The weight of the hinges indicated I was getting a lot more than a simple bent piece of metal. I was delighted to see hinges that were solid and well made. The machining was consistent from hinge to hinge. The quality and color of the brass was clear and uniform. The hinges I ordered were polished brass finish, and this finish was nearly mirror quality. The hinges came with screws, and the screw holes in the hinges were properly tapped so that the screws were just below flush when they were installed. All in all, everything about these hinges was well made.

The project I was working on, a Mission-style bookshelf, needed hinges that would reflect the character of the wood and construction of the bookshelf. I was glad that these hinges from Horton Brasses exceeded my expectations. When you build a project of superior quality and finish, a pair of these hinges will positively do it justice.

Tim Talma

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