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Hinges Help

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I am helping out the historic village down the road from my middle school and am going tomorrow to look at the progress on the blacksmith shop they are putting up. They are wanting me to make some strap hinges for the doors, and I have agreed with a clause of saying the doors may fall off! I have made a couple of hinges years ago for the simple practice of doing it...

Is there a specific formula, or rule of thumb when making these hinges? The doors re going to be 4'x8' each. I am just wondering about all aspects in this from the pintle to the need for a forge welded eye, length, thickness of material etc. any help from those with experience would be awesome!


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Hi Peyton, This has been covered before on the site, but may take some time to find again.

There are all sorts of criteria to take into consideration with hinges, and without knowledge of the site, the weight of the doors, the place where it is to be hinged from, (this will determine types of pintles you can use in situ.), comparable ironwork around to match, security problems, and so on.

As a general rule of thumb the length of a strap hinge is approximately 1/3 of the doors width making them 16" to 18" overall in this case.

For an 8 foot tall door I would consider using a two and half inch wide strap 3/8" thick

Eyes can be wrapped and drifted, or welded at your preference. just remember to preform the width prior to turning the eye to give a parallel barrel after turning it, alternatively you could use a drift or drill to size to fit.

The pintle can be part of the hinge as an assembly, or a seperate pin to allowing the hinge to be dropped on

It can be fastened to the doorframe/jamb using coach screws, driven into the jamb, or passing through and secured with nuts or roving over, depending on your preference.

I will attach some pictures of various strap hinges made at the St Clems day celebrations at Finch Foundry which may give some ideas as to hinging them if nothing more.

Good luck with the project, I am sure you will get many more constructive replies some off which may conflict with my posting.

If you need clarification on any point feel free to come back on them.






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Here's some pics of the last set that I made:



The doors are probably 5' wide, and seem to be well supported, however, if I had been the one calling the shots, I think I would have made the hinges longer. These were only around 16" if I remember correctly.

These were forged from 1/4"x2" and are not welded. I don't think they are going to unwrap any time soon. The pintles are forge welded.

One thing to bear in mind is the care used in mounting the doors. The door should be dry fit and shimmed to fit the opening, the pintles pre-drilled (under size) and driven in (keeping the pintle square and plumb), then the hinges laid up and the nail / screw holes marked and drilled on the door. Given the coarse nature of a spiked pintle, it's easy to get things off if you get in a hurry.

Do a search for hinges and pintles... I asked a lot of questions myself as I was working through my first couple hinge jobs.


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Thanks guys...

I am feeling a little better about this now. I was under the impression I had to forge weld the eyes...which I could and would be stronger I imagine, but me and forge welding have not met but a few times if you know what I mean...partly because I just do not do it.

Hopefully after the visit tomorrow I will have a better idea on attaching it too. I need to look at what they have done and ballpark a weight for the doors too I suppose.

The photos were a HUGE help too. I need all the help I can get!

This project will also make me do something. I spend so much time doing everything involved in blacksmithing except actually lighting a forge. I am looking forward to this...Mike may not be looking forward to me and my million questions/plans/frustrations/etc. when I get into the forge though. HA! :rolleyes:


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Peyton - Imagine hanging the doors with boughten hinges - what size would you use? When you think about it, all your doing is actually making the hinges and making them better than the hardware store versions. Size and placements are the same as using boughten ones or if you choose - Imagine if it was "YOUR" building - what size would you make them. This just helps bring it into perspective. Have fun getting some time in the forge - You Can Do It ;). - JK

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In the colonial and immediate post colonial days of the now-U.S., whether hinge barrels were welded or unwelded depended on your heritage and training. All Pennsylvania German and Hollander Dutch hinges that I've seen had unwelded barrels. The "Anglo" and Hispanic hinges had welded barrels.

I like to see the hinge cover 2/3 the door width rather than 1/3.

A half-butt hinge will not need a pintle. It is a strap hinge with a plain butt, the butt being countersunk screwed into a gain in the jamb, not unlike the installation of a modern day butt. You'll need to hacksaw and file some knuckles; three per hinge should work. When installed and with the door shut, you see just the hinge and barrel.

Make sure the installation nails or screws don't go through any cracks in boards or between boards.

http://www.turleyforge.com Granddaddy of Blacksmith Schools

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when you look the job over remember the bottom hinge is in compression and the top hinge will be in tension this might affect the placement of your pins if in masonry, and if you are hanging the door wedge it up, and remembr to take up slack on the pins towards the door on the top pin and towards the jam on the bottom hinge ,with heavy doors this point must taken into account .Speak to a joiner and they will put you on the track.

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