Dating antique furniture hinges
One of the first times I was a guest on Roy Underhill’s “The Woodwright’s Shop,” I was explaining the construction of a schoolbox from the book “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker,” and I had made a terrible mistake. The following statement is pure opinion, but I don’t like to see modern screw heads on furniture that is built in an antique style.
Before we shot the show, Roy explained each shot to the crew that was filming it. It’s like using a plywood back in a reproduction of a 17th-century cupboard. I inherited a huge supply of them from my grandfather’s workshop, who apparently thought along similar lines. So I’ve been buying zinc-plated screws from my hardware store and then stripping the zinc using citric acid. So I was thrilled to learn about Blacksmith Bolt.com, which sells old-school unplated fasteners – including stuff you’ll never find at a typical hardware store.
This is the same drill attachment that you would use if you were installing a modern door lockset.
Use wood glue to stack the pieces in the hole until they are flush with the door surfaces. With a stained door you will need to be more creative. Rosettes (small round door plates) average 2" in diameter and many rectangular doorplates are as small as 1-1/2".
And, last but not least, are rim locks that do not have a doorknob and serve as a skeleton key lock only.
The easiest way is to cut several rounds of plywood with a hole saw the same diameter as the hole you are filling.
A mortise latch does not have a locking function and is much smaller and easier to install.
Tip: You can use the latches with skeleton keyhole escutcheons if you like the look but don't need a locking function.
But when I lifted the lid I saw that Roy was correct.
Despite the fact that the fasteners shipped from the West Coast, they arrived surprisingly fast. Unlike the junk at the home centers, these fasteners are strong and can be driven into hardwood without worrying about the head snapping or the slot becoming completely chewed up.
So if you are in need of fasteners that look right for a reproduction or something in a pre-20th-century style, check out Blacksmith before you attach that cabinet back on with Pozi Drive screws.