They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To: Hinges

Door hinge with pin punch hole

Door hinge with pin punch hole

A hinge started squeaking, which required nothing more than a long pin punch, a soft hammer, and a dab of oil.

The unplated steel hinges in our house date back to the middle of the last century and all of them have a convenient hole in the bottom for a pin punch: much fancier than the raw edge of the folded frame and the butt end of the hinge pin. You drive the hinge pin upward with a few taps, lube it, and tap it back in again with a soft hammer (perhaps against a folded rag), and you’re done.

On the other side of door, however, lies one of our follies. For reasons that made perfect sense at the time, the hallway has five different shades of white paint:

  • Flat walls
  • Eggshell ceiling
  • Gloss trim
  • Semigloss front door
  • Epoxy hinges

The hallway has three branches, two openings, and ten doors. The white really sets off the hardwood floors and doors, while brightening what would otherwise be a rather dim area, but never, ever again will we make that mistake.

On the other paw, the hinges came out well. I took them off all those doors and jambs, cleaned the steel, gave ’em two rattle coats of white epoxy, and reinstalled. Much nicer than contemporary “shiny brass” plating or raw steel.


  1. #1 by George Martin on 2012-07-15 - 13:06

    I’m working with the stamping company that stamps out door hinges. One BIG Press to stamp out hinge shape. Then smaller presses but still big to progressively hit and roll the round portions. About one hinge every 3-5 seconds falls out of the machinery!!!!

    • #2 by Ed on 2012-07-15 - 20:32

      One BIG Press to stamp out hinge shape.

      Reminds me of the guy who worked for Pratt & Whitney a while back. He visited the jet engine turbine blade foundry in Massachusetts and reported that you could feel the ground shake as you drove into the adjoining town… something to do with the difficulty of forging monocrystalline superalloys or some such.

      Impressive technology, even for punching out hinges!