July 27, 2009

Hinge project

photo copyright Karin Corbin 2009
Today I was able to spend some time making practice hinges for my doll house cellar door. My first practice pair are shown above, they are not finished yet.

The camera is a great critique tool, turn on that macro lens function and you simply can't hide the flaws in the work. I can see that the sizes are not a close enough match, the top hinge is just a little too wide as it enters the details on the end. Not enough emphasis on the taper on that strap. The brass looks like iron under room light but shows up brassy under the camera flash, that won't do as dollhouses do get photographed.

I am certainly no blacksmith yet. Good thing this is a rustic dollhouse. I will need to do several more pairs before I get it all figured out. I do want them to look weathered and rusty which is a good thing. That way I don't have to drive myself crazy trying to get them looking like a Tiffany jewelry piece.

Getting brass to look like rusted steel without putting paint on it is tricky. But a little aluminum oxide grit blasting with a air(brush) eraser and a combination of several chemical patinas has got it heading in that direction. I will have to record what I do, in what order and what formulas I used that worked.

I need to work on the pintels next. A pintel (pintle) is a hinge pin that slips into the single knuckle on my hinge strap. I am not quite sure which way to approach the fabrication of them so I suppose it would be best to try several ways of making them and see what looks best.

I try to make most of the components that go into my projects. I want them to be as unique as possible while still referencing historical architecture sources. This approach is like slow cooking versus fast food. It takes extra time and I have to learn a whole lot of techniques.

The spiral curves on the end of the strap are called rams horns. Those were fun to make with a special type of pliers, the package they came in calls them coiler pliers, but they are also called looping pliers or wrapping pliers. I took a several hours of one on one instruction from IGMA artisan Alan Hamer several years ago and he introduced this handy tool to me. Alan used to be a blacksmith and took up making the same kinds of items in miniature after he suffered injuries that would not allow him to do full size smithing. Alan teaches at the IGMA school in Castine, Maine.
photo copyright Karin Corbin 2009