Apprenticeship Session 23

We finished a project in one session!

Today we started on our first door/cabinet hardware project which will be the focus of our work this year. We made a simple strap hinge similar to those on the Måstermyr chest. I had attempted to make one of these before but had not finished, so this was going to be the first actual hinge we had made.

The first step was to take a piece of bar stock and hammer it to thin it out a bit. We were trying to match the dimensions of the Måstermyr hinge as best we could and came pretty close. Then the next step was to draw out a “tang” for the loop that would connect the two pieces of the hinge. This involved tapering one end, setting shoulders, and then rounding the taper. On the other end of the bar stock, we used a chisel to punch a hole through and then drifted it into a circle.

After that the two ends needed to be cut to length and hammered a bit more to make the dimensions we were going for.

Next was to make the holes for the nails to go through when you attach the straps to the chest, or whatever you might be using them on. The holes actually went farther back on the strap than I initially expected, but it made sense in order to give the strap clearance around the wood joint so that it could move freely. While traditionally we would have used a punch to set the holes in the straps, we opted to use a drill press – partly for time’s sake and partly for the experience of drilling through metal. We’ve punched holes through metal several times, but never drilled a hole before. It turned out well and was very quick (and fun to do), but it felt like cheating. Not going to be our preferred way to do that going forward.

We also invented a word today – “schmoogle”. A schmoogle is those fold marks that appear when you are working the edge of a piece of metal. Apparently they can happen because the hammer you are using is too light and is only moving the surface of the metal and not getting all the way through. It happens to me a lot. Like every time I make something. It’s why we swung the big sledge hammer making our nail header, and after that experience I’m determined to start using bigger hammers when called for. I guess my arm will just have to get used to it.


“Schmoogle” is a great word for this. “I schmoogled this piece.” (Adverb) “The drift hole is starting to schmoogle.” (Verb) “My schmoogle isn’t too bad.” (Noun) Perhaps there is an official word for this phenomenon, but until we learn what it is, we are going to use this term.

The last step in making the hinges was to connect the two pieces. We started with a small curl at the very end of the tang end and then heated up the tang and slipped it through the hole of the other piece and curled it into a loop. Ideally, you’d like to do that in one heat. Then we curved the one piece that would have gone on the lid of the chest to match the curve of the wood. We used a leaf spring as a guide for the curve. And there we had it! I finished – and matching – set of strap hinges.

Something that once again I underestimated the effort to accomplish. I figured we’d be done in under three hours, but it took us nearly five. And we’ve gotten much quicker with our work, especially on a project such as this that didn’t really introduce a lot of new techniques. Really makes you appreciate the work that went into simple, every day items.