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Butler Hinges: an Exercise in Modeling Clay

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Forum topic by poopiekat posted 541 days ago 1238 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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poopiekat

3402 posts in 2236 days


541 days ago

I’ve never worked with butler hinges before. They are designed to have positive stops at 90 degrees and also at 180 degrees. Because of this, there is a pretty strong leaf spring on the underside. This makes for a very irregular surface to mortise in! I didn’t get it right on my first attempt, and so I ripped away the failed part of the surface and edge-glued another fresh piece onto the table surface I was making. Here’s a pic of the underside of a butler hinge: 016 As you can see, there is a bevel and spring and other irregularities, and I wanted to be sure that the two hinges were bedded down into the surface with optimum contact between brass and wood. What to do? I bought some modeling clay at the dollar store, wax paper, and pressed the hinge into the softened clay with the bench vise! After a few false starts, (think: Edison!) I was finally able to achieve a perfect female impression of the underside of the hinge! From this I could visualize what the mortise should look like on the surface of the table: Photobucket Sorry if the image in the clay is hard to see in the photo! but it was about perfect, and I could measure with my calipers and lay out the exact cut lines to follow with a chisel. Another pic: 015
Anyway, this is how I approached the solution for getting an exact image to chisel out an irregularly shaped mortise for that specialty hardware I’m using. Bottom pic shows the good snug mortise I achieved with the help of the modeling clay. Positive comments welcome!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!


12 replies so far

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Joe Lyddon

7450 posts in 2554 days


#1 posted 541 days ago

Nice job of Thinking it through!

I’ve seen hinges like those before but never knew their name… Butler Hinges!

They look super strong…

Are those the type of hinges that would be used on a Slant Top Desk (like for a Secretary) for the writing surface?

What are you going to use them on?

Thank you for the nice writeup!

Looks more like a Carving project than a chisel project… LOL

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

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poopiekat

3402 posts in 2236 days


#2 posted 541 days ago

Hi Joe!
No, these hinges are actually pretty close to the type used on Singer sewing machines, where a top would flip over 180 degrees to add lots of working surface. These are yet different, with those detents. These were for serving trays, all four sides could flip up for walking up the stairs with Madame’s breakfast on it, and once served the sides would fold down for a flat table surface. You are close, though, mine will be used in a fall-front desk in a combination secretary/curio, my fave furniture is what’s pictured in a “Larkin” catalog of the 1920’s. I’m building one to compliment the genuine Larkin bookcase and 5 drawer chest that I’ve owned each for 30 years.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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Gregn

1642 posts in 1486 days


#3 posted 541 days ago

I keep a tub of plumbers putty in the shop for those rare times when I’ve had to duplicate a decorative piece for a repair. Makes sense to use it as a 3D model for this application. Will have to remember that tip for hardware as well. As they say there’s more than one way to skin a cat. LOL

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

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poopiekat

3402 posts in 2236 days


#4 posted 541 days ago

wow, Gregn, plumber’s putty? Wish I’d thought of it! That would have been a better idea, and would have been so much more photogenic than the swirly colored stuff I used. It’s definitely what I’m going to use next time I have an opportunity. The clay had to be put in a sandwich baggie and immersed in hot water to make it pliable enough to mold around the hinge. Thanks for your suggestion!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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poopiekat

3402 posts in 2236 days


#5 posted 537 days ago

Well, I got some Play-Doh, day-glow orange, but indeed it had the right pliability. It didn’t want to stick to the brass hinge or distort when I separated the hinge from the Play-Doh. I ended up with an exact female mold for the hinge, which will enable me to make one more attempt to get the mortise just right. 017 And there it is! I know exactly what the profile should look like, in all its nooks and crannys, and get some precise measurements for the layout. Starting with a 1 1/2 forstner bit, it’s going to be a cinch now. Any time I have to chisel in a cavity for an irregular surface, I’ll be using this method as a reference! Thanks, everyone for the nice comments.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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Joe Lyddon

7450 posts in 2554 days


#6 posted 537 days ago

Have you tried coating the play doh with an oil such as Vegetable or Olive oil before depressing the hinge?

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

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poopiekat

3402 posts in 2236 days


#7 posted 536 days ago

Joe: Play-doh is nothing but Boric Acid powder and Silicone oil. Yeah, probably some silicate fillers too. I didn’t have to use wax paper as I did with modeling clay, I knew Play-Doh would neither stick to, or distort when the brass hinge was lifted off. Well, there is that infamous residue that Play-Doh leaves on everything, but not a problem for the metal hardware. I have some aerosol mold-release agent which I could have used. Cool suggestion, though! I’m hoping other people who have a way to do this will offer their methods too, like GregN did!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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Joe Lyddon

7450 posts in 2554 days


#8 posted 536 days ago

Poopy,

You can always wash the hinge with soap & water… LOL

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

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Mauricio

6693 posts in 1654 days


#9 posted 536 days ago

Good idea PK!

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

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AnthonyReed

3655 posts in 942 days


#10 posted 536 days ago

Thanks PK.

-- ~Tony

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robscastle

1235 posts in 706 days


#11 posted 468 days ago

I built a blanket box and was going to use Butlers Hinges, however I found the installation of them to be less than acceptable, (read as I had no experience in fitting them)

Nor could I find any detailed instructions regarding the various levels requied to be cut out to fit them.
However being not one to give up searched everywhere for fitup details.
I found none!
So set about making a jig to install them,
I did installation runs on scrap timber to perfect the method.
It took about three attempts before I was happy enough to use them on a project.

This was my first attempt at fitting them, I should have used the “clay” method !, ignore the screws as they are substitutes for the actual brass ones, as you can see it looks like a rat chewed the timber out. Very poor effort on my behalf !

The amount of tools I used was incredable, so I set about streamlining the process

I made a three Part jig to make everything neat and tidy
The basic overall shape was one part of the Jig

Because there is an offset to consider if using locking tabs the jig has another two parts

I called them pivot and locking tab jigs 2 and 3

The finished result ended up with no hinge section being visible on the fixed part of the tray,
and the pivoting section had the hinge cut out visible albeit facing down

I cannot remember if I did a blog on the procedure

Hope its of some assistance.

-- Regards Robert

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Joe Lyddon

7450 posts in 2554 days


#12 posted 465 days ago

Woodsmith #205, Hinge work, Page 32 ....

For the Project, see Page 20… All-in-one Craft Cabinet

Hope it helps…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

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