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How to repair table hinges

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Cal

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Hi, I’m looking for advice on how to repair some table hinges.
I have a small antique drop-leaf side table, it’s Victorian made from mahogany.
The table leaves don’t open properly and the hinges appear to be bent.
I’d like to keep the original hinges (and probably can’t remove them anyway because the frame under the table that supports the legs has been fitted on top of two of the hinges).
- Should I unscrew the hinges to remove the wooden drop leaves? And will the fixings hold if I screw them back again?
- How can I straighten the brackets? I’m very much an amateur and have few tools (I have a hammer).
- Is there a risk that the brackets will snap?
- If the brackets are weak is there a way to strengthen them (and ideally keep their antique appearance?)
Any suggestions will be very much appreciated - thanks.
 

EddyCurrent

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If you need to ask questions like that then my advice would be to take it to someone who knows how and what to do.
 

Sgian Dubh

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I’d like to keep the original hinges (and probably can’t remove them anyway because the frame under the table that supports the legs has been fitted on top of two of the hinges).
Remove the top from the frame.
- Should I unscrew the hinges to remove the wooden drop leaves? And will the fixings hold if I screw them back again?
Q 1. Yes
Q 2. You'll only know when you try to refit. If they won't hold you'll have to pack the existing hole with a glued in wood sliver and bore a new pilot hole.
- How can I straighten the brackets? I’m very much an amateur and have few tools (I have a hammer).
You'll find out if you can when you get the hinge dismounted. You may be able to just straighten the leaf in a metal working vise. You may be able to tap gently with a hammer over a flat metal surface to straighten the leaves. Maybe some gentle heat might work.
- Is there a risk that the brackets will snap?
Yes.
- If the brackets are weak is there a way to strengthen them (and ideally keep their antique appearance?)
Probably not worth the effort and likely to fail anyway.
Any suggestions will be very much appreciated - thanks.
You can probably buy replacement hinges. They might, for example be dropleaf hinges, the type used for a rule joint, as below sourced from Paxtonhardware.com:


If the mating between the drop leaf and the fixed leaf is square rather than the rule joint shown above, you'll probably need a back flap hinge, something like this one, with the image sourced from doorfurnituredirect: Slainte.



 

Sgian Dubh

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If you need to ask questions like that then my advice would be to take it to someone who knows how and what to do.
I'd like to think there are some contributors here, myself included, that do have reasonable or good knowledge and experience repairing old and antique furniture, and more recently made stuff that has suffered damage. True, a forum such as this isn't quite the same as a face to face consultation, but I hope that Cal can either mostly follow the suggestions I've made, or if he (she?) realises all this technical stuff is outwith his or her abilities then taking the table to a reputable restorer is an alternative option. Slainte.
 

Peterm1000

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I'd like to think there are some contributors here, myself included, that do have reasonable or good knowledge and experience repairing old and antique furniture, and more recently made stuff that has suffered damage. True, a forum such as this isn't quite the same as a face to face consultation, but I hope that Cal can either mostly follow the suggestions I've made, or if he (she?) realises all this technical stuff is outwith his or her abilities then taking the table to a reputable restorer is an alternative option. Slainte.
Agree on that... if the damage is only bent hinges and no damage to the wood then this should be fairly easy and should not require taking the table anywhere. If this is a £2,000 table and you aren't confident I suggest you take it somewhere. If it is one step from the dump which a lot of these victorian items are, have a go yourself.
 

Cal

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Thank you all for your comments and advice. The table probably is one step from the dump so I’ll have a go and hope to learn from it.
 

Cabinetman

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It’s the only way to learn, I’ve been taking stuff apart since I was quite small, it used to be a joke – watch out he’s got his screwdriver out! and there hasn’t been much I haven’t been able to fix over the years. Ian
 

TRITON

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Heres a vid on preparing hinges for use, in that hinges probably arent precision off the bat so must be fettled before installation.
There was another vid I was looking for, featuring how to fully flatten but cant find that one. Anyway, here you go
 

Cal

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Thanks Triton for the vid, and Cabinetman for your encouragement. I haven’t started on the hinges yet, have a few other jobs to finish first. I’ve only just joined ukworkshop and am so impressed with the advice that people are offering - thanks.
 

Ollie78

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It’s the only way to learn, I’ve been taking stuff apart since I was quite small, it used to be a joke – watch out he’s got his screwdriver out! and there hasn’t been much I haven’t been able to fix over the years. Ian
This made me chuckle.
I am the same. My grandparents bought me a posh high chair when I was small. I took it apart immediately. My parents would only get it out when they would visit.


Ollie
 

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