Monday, November 14, 2011

Butler's tray hinge repair

Butler's tray hinge
Butler's tray hinges are made to hold a flap (originally the flap handles of a butler's tray) either horizontal or vertical.  A spring is riveted to the underside of the hinge.  This spring holds the barrel of the shorter side of the hinge in position, but over time the spring can lose its springiness and bends away from the barrel.  The result is the flap becomes sloppy and won't stay upright.

It's possible to buy new hinges, but these won't necessarily match the rest.

The solution to this problem is to drill out the existing rivets, turn the spring over and reattach it with new rivets.
Butler's tray hinge 2
The rivets show on the top of the brass hinges as slightly different colored circles of brass.
Using an automatic center punch I put a dimple in the middle of each circle.
Next a couple of off-cuts of wood (1/4" thick tenon cheeks) made a simple jig to screw the hinge to, allowing it to be clamped flat under a drill press.
Butler's tray hinge 3
Drilling out the rivets with a drill the same size allows the spring to be removed, turned over and re-attached with pop rivets.
Butler's tray hinge 4
With the rivets hammered flat on the other side, the hinges are ready to work again.

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