Full Chisel Blog

February 8, 2013

Double Leaf Hinge made from a wrought iron barrel band

Filed under: Furniture,Hardware,Historical Material,Of Interest,Techniques,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 11:12 am

leaf hinge1

leaf hinge2

leaf hinge3

It is rare that one finds this particular style of hinge on a piece of furniture made from between 1847 to 1850, as the double leaf hinge usually dates from the late 18th century to the early 19th century.  It is also rare to find a documented piece of early Utah furniture, knowing the original owner from the family history but also be able to determine the original maker because of the construction and decorating techniques.

The piece of furniture is a large secretary with a fold down desk top with loafers to support and has an integral upper double glazed doors.  One of the doors was missing and one hinge was still attached to the carcase.  The intact door also had hinges made in the same manner.  This particular hinge has evidence that it was made from something else as it had a large hole on the underside [out of view] that shouldn’t have been there if it were made from sheet iron.

The hole, with evidence it had been punched is I am certain a hole from one of the two rivets on each barrel band from a water or whiskey barrel.  Out here in Utah in the 1850’s everything is repurposed because of the lack of supplies.  I have seen a pivot hinge made from the under rib of a half stock muzzle loading rifle.

double leaf hingeThe hinge is 2″ long, 1 13/16″ wide [open], [1 1/32″ wide closed], and the metal is .051″ thick, the pin is 1/8″ in diameter.

The drawing indicates how the hinge would look if it was unfolded.  There are two choices as to how the hole was arranged on the barrel.  Because of a small surface crack on the barrel, I think it was made from a fairly wide barrel band.  The grain in the wrought iron would go along the length of the barrel band.

Every other example from this period and place I have examined is the single leaf style hinge; see Shepherds’ Compleat Early Nineteenth Century Woodworker page 73.

Interesting piece of history.



  1. Interesting hinge. Have you seen many folded over like that and not welded? Do you think maybe it was made by a cabinet maker and not a blacksmith?

    Comment by Ron — February 8, 2013 @ 4:54 pm

  2. It took me four days of off and on reading after work but I have just finished pretty much reading this entire Blog from newest to oldest.
    Very, very interesting content and I learned a great deal.
    Being a mechanic for thirty odd years, I have to admit the old tools are what hooked me and that is where I concentrated most of my attention but I did pick up quite a few tips and pointers along the way.
    I have bookmarked this site and will pop in occasionally to see what else you are up to.

    Thank you for doing this.

    Comment by Phil Paul — February 10, 2013 @ 3:29 am

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