Friday, September 11, 2009

Hinges, Pintles and Gudgeons

The Field blacksmith shop is making hardware for hayloft doors for the Morey Barn. Our shop has been reproducing hardware for the museum’s historic structures since 1946. The barn is near the blacksmith shop and houses the Children’s Barnyard. During the summer a small herd of sheep, goats, chickens, and Annabelle the calf live there and greet children.
This has been a fun project. The hinge starts as an 18 inch long bar of steel. The barrel or eye of the hinge strap is forged and rolled. A sizing pin is driven through the eye to make sure it is the proper size. This round hole that rides on the hinge pin is traditionally called the gudgeon.
Then the bar is drawn out at the hammer and anvil. That takes nearly an hour. The next step is to forge the pintle, which is the other half of the hinge. It has a spike that gets driven into the barn beam and a pin (the pintle) upon which the gudgeon rides. Most people call this a strap hinge, but it is more properly a pintle and gudgon strap hinge.
The doors and hinges that we are replacing have worn out from more than a century and a half of weather and wear. If my hinges last as long they won’t need to be replaced until the year 2159!


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