vintage cabinet hardware and mortise hinges

laurielou177May 27, 2011

We are hoping to have custom cabinets for our kitchen. Waiting on estimate. The estimate will be w/out the hardware, as we are still deciding and will just purchase on our own. Looking for 1920's era pulls, knobs, latches as well as mortise hinges. Two questions: 1. Have looked at stuff online and would love to be able to actually pick up some of this stuff to help make a decision. Of course we can order multiple possibilities and then just return what we don't want, but would be so much nicer to go to a big hardware store w/lots of choices on hand. I'm in capital district of NY state. Anyone know of places, even as far as Syracuse, Boston, NYC that have lots of vintage hardware on hand?

2. Anyone familiar w/durability of various price ranges of mortise hinge? We have a great one we ordered to look at that was used by cabinet maker to make a sample cabinet door, but we bought it on sale for $10. It's normally $25. A lot like it in this price range when full price. That's a lot for so many cabinets. There are some for less, but not sure how much you pay for what you get w/hinges. We are looking for something that really lasts. Or, do most of the vintage hardware places (Rejuvination, Vandykes, etc have pretty regular sales, so we can just wait and purchase on sale?

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1. We do new vintage hardware. Don't know much about actual vintage hardware, but somewhat local to you (Cooperstown) is the William Rigby Co. They are pretty well regarded.

2. Without getting to pushy, we make exceptional mortise butt hinges for a reasonable price. Our hinges are used by many of the best cabinet shops around. Feel free to e-mail or message me with hinge questions. I know as much as anyone about the different varieties.

Regarding hinges in general-solid brass butt hinges will last several lifetimes. Brass plated hinges will wear out. Whatever you decide to do, I would recommend solid brass.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 2:23PM
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I used the Rejuvenation extruded hinges for my cabinets; at the time they were $22/pr, now they are up to $23. They come with matching finish slotted screws, which was very important to me; My hinges were polished nickel, and you can't find nickel plated slotted hinge screws _anywhere_.


Here is a link that might be useful: Hinges

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 10:22PM
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House of Antique Hardware has slotted screws in most of their hardware (and they tell you what type they come with - other places you have to guess from the photo), some of Van Dyke's stuff does.

(I'm treading dangerously close to "obsessive restorer" myself....)

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 10:46PM
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We have mortise hinges from both Rejuvenation and Horton Brasses in various places in our house, and I think both are great quality. Be forewarned that the mortising itself is a pain in the neck if you aren't somewhat experienced in carpentry, though! (We had to do one door from an old built-in that, ironically, once had a mortise hinge, but had been filled in a prior remodel...) So even if you buy the hardware, be sure your cabinet person can build for it and put it in.

Rejuvenation used to have fairly regular sales but hasn't had one in a while, so they may be doing well enough now that they've stopped. Van Dyke's seems to always have a 25% off sale running, though I'm lukewarm on their quality. Most of the stuff we've gotten from them has been made in China, which I wasn't psyched about---though in fairness, they price it accordingly. For actual vintage hardware, do you have a flea market or antique fair near you? We have a big monthly one that always has a good selection. You could also try Historic Houseparts---they have a store in Rochester.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 11:05PM
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Circus Peanut

Historic Houseparts in Rochester is probably the most fabulous resource in your area.

There's also:
Silver Fox Salvage in Albany

New York Salvage in Oneonta

Portland Architectural Salvage here in Portland ME always has a large stock of hinges etc on hand. Old House Parts in Kennebunk has some, too, but I'd go for the upstate NY stores first before getting too far afield.

In general, I've found the best prices on eBay for vintage hardware -- you can't handle and touch it, which is the big drawback, but you can save up to about 80% over the specialty salvage stores who know the value of old stock to the penny and charge it, too.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 8:39AM
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Thanks. Lots of good info. Would love to take a trip to cooperstown if we can squeeze in the time - plenty of other things to do there. And, yes, the hortonbrass prices are less than others we've looked at for what is at least described as similar product. We are interested in quality not just for ourselves, but just think things should last.

Cabinet maker who's making estimate for us did a mortise hinge on sample cabinet because that's what we were interested in. Not easy, and will add some to our cost, but what he did looks fine. Mortise hinge with inset cabinets is one thing we'd really like. Really makes cabinets look different to us - well, different, but same as from period of our house.
Is there a "typical" size for cabinet hinges? Cabinet maker felt the sample ones we got seemed hard to get into small upper cabinets we are hoping to have made above the maine cabinets. And, he's not sure of strength of morise hinge for larger cabinets.
Also, we are debating whether to do cabinet latches and bin pulls in brass or glass bridge handles and pulls. We noticed lots of the glass pulls and handles have a nickle bolt, though some more expensive have a brass bolt. Would most houses have had matching hinge color to the bolt color in glass? Could it be different, or look odd? We like the dark brass finishes, but thinking it might be too dark for the glass pulls w/nickel finish bolt? Would a 1920's house have nickel finished hinges, or more the darker colors?
Thanks also for the other suggested salvage places. Lots of good advice.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 8:15PM
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Nickel is period appropriate for the 1920's. Mortise hinges are much stronger than a non mortise. There should not be any issue with tall upper cabinets. Not sure the strength of a mortise compared to a euro hinge,, but you should not have a problem. 2" or 2-1/2" tall by 1-1/2" wide are more or less standard for cabinetry.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 9:13PM
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