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FAQs

FAQs
What size hinge do I need?
Front or back?
Nails or screws?
Will they go rusty?
Can I use them outdoors?
Can I use them on oak?
Can I use them on really heavy doors?
Can I paint them?
What are they made of?
What is the finish?
The ha’penny enders seem a bit too floppy?
Can I clinch the nails?
Can you make up something to my design?
Any ideas?
Can I see a sample?
What if I just don’t like the stuff I bought?
Do you do discounts?

What size hinge do I need?

Most people go for one that extends two thirds across the door or less.

Most people – but not everyone – go for two although some use a third (and we do sell half pairs) especially with a door they think might warp, perhaps one that’s not painted or varnished in a damp room like a bathroom.

Most people want the upper the same size as the lower, although a long original upper and a shorter lower isn’t unknown.

Originally, when glue wasn’t as good as today and wood was often under-seasoned the long hinge might help to stop a boarded door from dropping and it might do the same for your’s.

But really it’s down to taste and what looks right to you – all our ha’penny enders will do the trick

Front or back?

Traditionally a door would open into a room, preferably with the hinges on the left and the ledge and bracework on the back. The hinges would then sit on the ledge, giving extra depth of wood for fixing. That would put the latch on the face side but your Lovely Forgeries Hinges on the back. The choice is your’s – but remember a Suffolk thumb latch will only open away from you

Nails or screws?

It’s up to you ! Old ironwork is designed for nails so generally they have more fixing holes than a modern piece.

The nails we supply (separately) are cut nails, with a much better grip than a modern wire nail or the old, hand-made, soft iron ‘rose heads’.

Some people use black, round-head screws (you can file or grind off the slot)

Remember : you may want to take the door off at some point. People often use nails on the door face and screws on the door frame (which is often covered anyway by the architrave).

We don’t countersink, unless you ask, when we’re happy to do so.

Will they go rusty?

Almost certainly not, especially if wiped over now and again with a furniture wax cloth, and especially in a central-heated house. And if used outside, they will rust unless painted (see 'Can I paint them?'). The metal is mild steel, which is much more prone to corrosion than real old wrought-iron. This had a carbon content approaching nil and just formed a weather-resistant red-oxide patina with time.

Can I use them outdoors?

The short answer : not really.

The long answer is maybe : if they’re painted, with a red-oxide primer and then a top coat they’ll probably be ok, especially if they’re in a sheltered position. This especially true if used on oak timberwork

Can I use them on oak?

Yes…. On old oak beams etc or on modern, seasoned oak. But green or damp oak will corrode any ferrous fixings and may stain. It may be useful to put a greased paper template between the hinge and the timber or paint the back of the hinge with red oxide paint for use in a damp atmosphere, such as a bathroom or utility roon.

Can I use them on really heavy doors?

Yes ! All the ha’penny end hinges have welded knuckles, with a heavy pin and will support a fire-door. We have had them passed by building inspectors - and never rejected - in such situations (where they also comply with regs. on tolerance gaps if properly fitted)

Our H and HL hinges are not welded, but the fold-around on the pin is deep enough and the metal thick enough for most purposes.

Our cupboard hinges - butterflies and the smaller H and HLs - are at least as strong as modern, machine-made hinges but as with them, you would need to satisfy yourself on the basis of the size of the door

Can I paint them?

Not unless you tell us first. We dip them in a hot wax which penetrates every tiny crack and fold. You’d only remove it by heat.

If you tell us first, we’d supply plain burnished and un-dipped for you to paint

They take a red oxide ‘hammerite’ type very well, which makes them very resistant even outdoors.

Original hinges and other metalwork in old cottages are usually painted and the modern preference for bare metal and stripped timber would have horrified householders in days gone by as signs of impoverishment

What are they made of?

Mild steel.

Real ‘wrought iron’ was made by hand and is virtually unavailable today, except by using old scrap, thanks to Henry Bessemer and Henry Cort in the eighteenth century.

Today, mild steel is universally available, strong, cheap and consistent. It is more liable to corrode and more difficult to work but is also stronger.

‘Wrought iron’ is almost certainly an offence under the British Trades Description Act although the term is widely used to mean any piece of ornamental ironwork.

What is the finish?

From the forge, we burnish them with a strong wire-brush to remove any scale. They’re then a silvery grey, which slowly blackens with time. We then dip them in a hot wax – it’s white-spirit based, like a dilute furniture wax or a neutral shoe polish – and take off any excess. This gets into every crevice and fold, prevents corrosion and lubricates any moving parts. It dries with time and any excess can be removed with a dry cloth or with turps. or white spirit. The finish doesn’t obscure the metal but it does intensify the colour, like dropping a pebble in water.

Most hardware store door furniture of the ‘olde worlde’ style is powder-coated with a thick black finish which obscures the metal. The metal itself is usually a casting, an imitation of the original.

Some smiths obtain a finish by quenching the red-hot piece in old oil or wax but this also obscures much of the metal.

The ha’penny enders seem a bit too floppy?

Don’t worry ! Just set them level on the door and vertical on the frame and they’ll be ok.

The floppiness disappears because they’re fixed to the door : the only real movement is radial. The important bit is the knuckle : and the up-down movement at the knuckle is just fractions of a millimetre and even that will be stabilised by the weight of the door. And the left-right movement at the knuckle is even smaller, significantly less than the clearance of the door in the frame. Trust us – no-one who’s fitted a pair has ever wanted a refund. And they’re exact enough to satisfy fire regulations.

Can I clinch the nails?

You can… but try a few first. It’s sometimes difficult to get then neat enough, especially in softwood. It’s the proper way to do it but cut nails in mild steel are not ideal because the radius of the bend tends to be too great because the metal is so much stronger than modern wire nails or old hand-made roseheads. Also, they’re stamped from cold sheet, with the head formed cold, which hardens the metal more. But you don’t need to : the nails are slightly ‘waisted’, that is the shank is wider in the middle than at the head so they don’t work loose and the cut edges also grip the wood better than smooth wires.

You might need to drill pilot holes, especially in hardwood and reclaimed wood.

The old carpenters used a ‘dolly’… a lump of metal like a big hammer held at the back of the door ‘deaden’ the nail and to stop the point emerging. More hammering left the nail then crinkled up inside the wood, making it virtually impossible to extract and giving rise to the saying 'dead as a door nail.’

Can you make up something to my design?

No. Sometimes we can make small changes but we are geared to long runs to set designs which is how we keep costs down. One-offs take a lot of time, often need close liaison with the customer (site visits, design statements etc.) and can take several attempts to get right…. all very expensive

Any ideas?

We’re always looking at ways to expand the range so suggestions are always welcome (sales@forgeriesonline.co.uk)

Can I see a sample?

Of course (Sample Request)

What if I just don’t like the stuff I bought?

It would be nice if told us so we could tell the marketing people but you don’t have to – just send it back for a 100% refund. We just send a cheque,

Do you do discounts?

Yes and no…. We think our prices are competitive (if not, tell us !) but we like to recognise a good customer so we’ve been known to weaken a bit on price for a Big Order or for a regular customer, trade or not. I’d have to say though that we’re thinking three figures here, where the first one isn’t a one.

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