The need to secure precious objects is so innate to humans and many other animals that it is not surprising the earliest locks appear as long ago as 4000 years. The oldest known locks employed a pin tumbler mechanism much like that of our modern "Yale" lock but on a far larger scale. They have been found in cultures as diverse as those of Egypt, Japan and Norway. The Romans can be credited with the invention of the metal lock and in fact developed the "warded lock" which uses the familiar ske...
A full mortise lock is embedded into a deep mortise cut into the edge of the door or drawer. The exposed "selvedge" and a keyhole are all that is visible of this type of lock. Unless some unusual consideration comes into play these locks are generally centered in the thickness of the material.
Because the lock is normally placed in the middle of the material thickness the choice of escutcheon and the method of its attachment will be a consideration. Thread escutcheons rely on a viable thickness for s...
Door & Drawer Locks
Locate the center of the drawer front (or the appropriate position on the door if mounting a door lock). Using the lock as a template, mark its outline on the back and upper edge of the drawer front. Be aware that the key pin is usually offset to one side of the lock and it is the key pin that must be centered on the drawer. With a sharp knife, ruler and square go back over these lines.
Use a router or chisel to create the shallow mortise for the lock plate (I use a 1/4" high s...
We carry around 200 different keyhole escutcheons in a variety of styles in both iron and brass.
Escutcheons can be divided into two distinct categories. Surface mounted types that are simply pinned or screwed over the keyhole and "Thread" escutcheons that are mortised into the keyhole and show as a keyhole shaped brass line (thread). A third style called the flanged thread escutcheon has attributes of both, its body is mortised into the keyhole while it's bead-like flange sits on the surface.
Many cabinetmakers build jigs to speed up repetitive tasks. Installing thread escutcheons could well be a candidate for this approach. I have never been a jig enthusiast, either I'm too lazy or because I have seen too many craftsmen design work to suit existing tools, cutters and jigs rather than the other way around.
A thread escutcheon is a short keyhole shaped brass tube that is set into a matching mortise. Our thread escutcheons are cut from long extrusions of the required section and are very cons...
Catches come in a bewildering assortment of function and design. In very general terms a catch is any device whose purpose is to hold two or more components together while allowing for easy release. Quite what distinguishes a catch from a latch is unclear to me so we will group them together for the sake of this guide. Locks are dealt with elsewhere and are considered distinct from catches.
Door catches can either be mounted to show on the outside of the door or the can be mo...
If any question is guaranteed to stump us at Whitechapel Ltd it is "What kind of handle do you think I ought to use on my …..". While we are perhaps sometimes over willing to tell a customer our own likes and dislikes I hope it is apparent that our choices are less valid than your own, you can look at your furniture, we can't.
In an effort to make the choosing easier all photos in our catalog are scaled 100% so at least you won't have to imagine size as well as style.
If you are ...
Every woodworker will from time to time have call for a stay of some kind. Stays of one sort or another are used to hold chest and box lids from falling backward and sometimes forwards. They can be used to support desk writing surfaces, to hold drafting tables at a suitable working angle and then allow them to fold flat for storage. Windows can held open with a variety of types depending on application. Countless other situations will crop up. Choosing the right stay and figuring out how to install it p...
This approach to 270° opening is popular for entertainment centers and the like. The door swings open on its pair of hinges to 180°. At the point where the door would normally bind (180°) the hinged vertical element of the face frame releases itself from a magnetic catch and allows the door to continue its swing to 270°.
Our cranked hinges can allow a door to open 270°. These neat Japanese hinges are machined from solid extruded brass section and are available to suit ...
Beds are large cumbersome furnishing and since the beginning have been constructed with "Some assembly required" as a given. A typical bed breaks down at minimum into headboard, footboard and bed rails. A variety of fittings are available to join these parts together, some are more satisfactory than others.
Bed bolts are usually 6" or 7" long bolts 3/8" diameter with a square drive head and integral washer. They are supplied with a square or rectangular nut. This type of bed fastener was...
All our Code 1 castors are English made and solid brass. Due to advances in material and manufacturing they are substantially stronger than the period originals. We are often asked for a load bearing rating on these castors. This rating would be expected of a modern castor, but it is not relevant to period castors. Any of our castors could bear loads far greater than they are ever likely to encounter. More important than load rating is mobility. A small castor under a heavy load is more likely to make...
Straight knife hinges are generally used in the illustrated application. The door overlays the sides and is inset into the top and bottom.
Mortising is simple so long as those in the casework are cut before assembly or cut by hand. Not much adjustment is possible with this kind of hinge though some can be achieved by fitting one screw only per leaf and lengthening the appropriate mortise if necessary before fitting the remaining screws.
Offset knife hinges provide an unobtrusive way to hinge an inset door. Fitting is as shown above and so long as the mortises are cut accurately before assembly installation should present no particular challenge. Accurately is the keyword here. The whole aesthetic of this kind of hinge is lost if door fit is poor and very little adjustment is possible after installation.
To provide a little adjustment after installation the door mortise can be cut a little short and the hinges installed with a si...
Ring handles appear as one of the earliest form of handle. Certainly as soon as iron could be forged handles of this basic form would have been produced. The simplicity and fundamental rightness of this form has meant continued popularity through all furniture styles up to the present times.
A handle of this form has the advantages of strength, ease of use and manufacture and low profile. At it's most basic it is nothing but a ring and a cotter (split) pin and we carry just such an item from Mexico. ...
Double ball catches are easy enough to install if you still have access to the inside of cabinet. If you are planning to use these catches on anything but the most rigid cabinetwork it is advisable to mount them horizontally at the bottom or top of the door. If mounted vertically, opposite the hinged side of the door, any small amount of racking will change the lateral relationship between the parts and prevent the catch functioning correctly or worse. Plan also to fit them before the backs go on.
For the sake of efficiency in smaller rooms such as child's bedrooms and guest rooms a desk dresser makes sense. Once the upper drawer of the dresser is pulled out its front can be released and will hinge down to create a flat writing surface.
The hinged joint will need to be formed as shown in the drawing above, this lap type joint serves to help support the leaf when laying flat and to cover the joint when in the closed position so no large unsightly gap shows when the drawer is shut.
It may be ...
Single ball catches can be used with a strike or without. In softer woods it may be advisable to use the strike. As a general principal always use the largest catch your material will accommodate, the larger the catch the better they feel and sound. The Brusso catches we sell are supplied with a cylindrical dome profiled strike. The idea behind this technological breakthrough was to eliminate contact between ball and wood. Up to this point the spring loaded ball either rode directly on its adjacent wood...
Fiche hinges are common on Continental European furniture. We supply French made hinges in a variety of sizes to suit most applications. These hinges consist of two rolled steel tubes capped on opposing ends by decorative tips. One tube carries a fixed pin, the other slips over this pin. The tubes are formed with tangential flaps, the flap on the lower tube projects from one side and on the upper tube the other side.
We have found three techniques that can be used to install these hinges. Firstly the c...
Drop Leaf Rule Joint
While at first glance the rule joint seems simple, the realities of this joint can be frustratingly troublesome. A first attempt will often result in a joint that scrapes and binds or leaves unsightly gaps. To get it right the first time requires both an understanding and application of the geometry at work.
These days the majority of us will cut the rule joint profiles with a router. Though this tool can quickly produce a very accurate pair of matching cuts, it can just a...
It helps to remember that a quadrant hinge is simply a butt hinges with integral lid stay. The same rules that apply to installing a butt hinge apply also to the quadrant hinge. Many jigs are now available to speed up the installation of these hinges. Some are particular to a single brand of hinge and some claim to be universal. Unless you expect to install dozens of these hinges the purchase of a jig is probably not worth the investment. The tool that you will need is a straight cutter the same diamete...