Making a Reading Table – Part Ten

Brasses have been a particular thorn in my side recently. I rue no longer having my small forge and foundry. I don’t make a living from restoring antiques any longer now that I’m retired and I only produce pieces of furniture sporadically, so re-establishing casting facilities wouldn’t be viable.

Unable to find the exact pattern of handles I wanted for the reading table, I bought a pair of brummagem olive green handles with the mounting hole centres, at least, of the appropriate spacing. The bails and pommels were poorly finished and required filing and buffing to remove excessive casting flashes and refine their shape. The back-plates were equally ignominious, with dulled edges etc., but they were larger overall than I required, so I was able to cut them down, reshape them and better define their bevels with a file.

Reshaped back-plates with crisply filed bevels.

After the episode with the olive green hinges I mentioned in Brassed Off, I returned to another old cabinet brass-foundry in England for the reading table hinges. After weeks of emails and assurances, the hinges eventually arrived (a Royal Mail strike was the culprit). The new hinges are a huge improvement on the previous olive green aberrations, requiring only minimal filing of one knuckle to make it concentric with its counterpart. The hinges are tight, of good gauge, square and open and close perfectly. They were cast for me by Marshall Brass in Norfolk and, while their, at times obtuse and monosyllabic communication could stand improvement (I’m advised a new on-line shopping cart is imminent), their foundry work is excellent. The Marshall Brass catalogue is possibly the largest and most comprehensive in the business. Be sure to pass on my regards if you place an order with Marshall.

Marshall Brass hinges – quality reproduction hinges.

All the brassware can now spend a while in the Bucket of Wrath until they acquire the appropriate chrysochlorous colour.

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About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
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