I am attempting to make a small box with a simple knuckle hinge lid.
I have followed the McCreight instructions as well as others. Does
anyone have a foolproof method of setting up and soldering the hinge
without everything warping and getting misaligned and not having the
solder run into the wrong places?
Hi Fr. Alexis,
Not sure what is “warping” for you. I usually hold the knuckles
together with an oxidized brass rod and then tack solder the
individual knuckles with paste solder. When all are tack soldered,
then I remove the brass rod, and proceed to solder the knuckles with
hard solder, each one individually or at least each side separately.
Then when cleaned, they fit together perfectly and the final hinge
pin can be riveted in place. I’ve not had any warp so not sure what
you are referring to there. It just takes a little practice and the
knuckles need to be cut rather precisely.
Good advice. Are you saying that you assemble the lid to the body
and tack all the knuckles to each at the same time?
The best hinge techniques I have come across can be found in Alan
Revere’s book Professional Goldsmithing. Hands down the best I have
come across. This book helped me jump to the next level in quality
hinge work/bench work, not to mention all the other techniques in
this wonderful book. Just a honest opinion I thought I would share.
Rio Grande Technical Support.
There are easy ways to do things and hard. Fitting individual hinge
knuckles CAN be nerve racking, especially if one has not attained
perfect flame control or,…if there are multiple knuckles or they
are very small…or if the part to which they are being soldered is
not exactly flat, or the knuckles are not exactly flat…etc, etc ad
I use what I think is the easy way…if not slightly wasteful. I’m
not sure if it is foolproof either but, rather than trying to hold
two or more knuckes in an exact line and position while soldering, I
solder one long tube in place. It is easy to hold either with a
third hand or free hand. Then I decide where the opposing knuckles
will go and cut/file out the tube at those points. I do the same
thing on the opposing side and…it takes about 10 to 15 minutes to
finish a hinge.
Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut2
Here’s a couple of hinge-making tricks.
Cut a piece of tubing the length of your hinge. Mark the knuckles,
and saw-- but not all the way through! Leave just enough of the tube
uncut so that it will hold its shape. Do this with each knuckle
making sure the closed parts are all lined up on the same side of
the tube. I usually apply wite-out to the middle knuckle and solder
the other two (or whatever), with the uncut part facing AWAY from
the joint. Then finish sawing, remove the middle piece. This is now
for some other use, as it will be too loose by twice the kerf of
your saw blade. Cut a new piece for the space in your hinge, making
it fit exactly right.
When I solder the other half of the hinge, I always do it with the
hinge assembled. Wite-out may be too thick to stay on the surface
where the knuckles meet (I don’t like ochre for this as it may run,
and even the tiniest contamination will make your life difficult).
Old-fashioned carbon pencil works moderately well as a solder
inhibitor. But I always protect the parts that could get soldered by
accident. The hinge pin for soldering can be any high-melting-point
metal that is well oxidized, but if you can find the right size,
mechanical pencil “lead” will work, or, best of all, titanium wire.
It cannot be soldered, has a very very high melting point, and is
not a heat sink. It is very hard to draw down, but I’m here to say
it can be done. Come to think of it, niobium would probably work
well too, but I don’t know as much about niobium.
There is hinge extracted from my book on hinges and
catches at Ganoksin. You can find it at:
Charles Lewton-Brain/Brain Press
Box 1624, Ste M, Calgary, Alberta, T2P 2L7, Canada
Tel: 403-263-3955 Fax: 403-283-9053 Email: @Charles_Lewton-Brai1
Kay, No…I attach the long tube to one side. Remove the portions
where I want opposing knuckles then solder a long tube to the other
side. I then carefully cut away the unwanted portions of that tube
assuring a good fit. Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in
SOFL where simple elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut2
Don, I use a similar technique, but I remove about 3/4 of the tube
where the opposing knuckles will be before soldering the tube in
place. Just solder the tube with the unfiled “bridge” sections facing
up (away from the joint). After soldering, remove the connecting
bridges and fit new tubing sections into the open joint. Make sure
that the new tubes fit tightly. Now, slide a piece of graphite pencil
lead into the joint. Place your new tubes into the joint – the lead
will prevent them from dropping all the way in, but they will be in
the proper location. Now, place the lid onto the raised joints and
solder them. Remove the lead, and the two sections should align
Once you do this, you will find that making perfect hinge joints is
really easy, no matter how tiny or how many joints. I used to try to
solder them individually a long time ago, and I always had problems.
This is so much easier.
Thanks Don - I guess I need to try that method as well - I generally
work with very tiny hinges so my system works for me, but I’ll give
yours a try as I will be needing some larger hinges very soon. I
think that’s the beauty of this forum - so many different approaches
to share and we can all learn something new. Kay