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Gallery > Custom Hardware

We’ve been studying and recreating early hardware since the bi-centennial.  The “recreating” part is where the learning comes in.  To a blacksmith, each original piece tells the story of how it was made – the material selection, the varying thickness of the piece, the hammer marks left by the original smith… all combine to point the way of how to make it again. 

We can, so we do.   Custom hardware – whether to match an existing original or to create a unique piece to complete your project’s vision – is a big part of what we do, how we teach and learn, where we get challenges and satisfaction.

Some examples of Brandywine custom hardware…. And how we make it.


First, you get a hammer and an anvil.  Looking down the length of the anvil.  Set up with all the tools needed to scroll the shutter dog closest to you. Then you get yourself some fire.  We use propane fired forges, with their constant heat we can put more irons in the fire. Then you strike while the iron’s hot and most malleable.  We like to work pieces from a bar, better control than tongs.
A nice latch, part of a matching set of 1930’s hardware.  Windows on an addition really wanted hardware to match the main home. An original shutter dog from Charleston – a semi-hand forged copy of an 18th century local dog.  Our copy to the right. We got an original and made these copies.  Tricky free-hand forgings.  The old one hinted how to make it.

A six foot driveway gate hinge.  There was an existing passage gate with 1920’s custom matching hardware.  We worked from photos of existing, scaled it up to gate size, and reproduced the full set for new passage gate. Felt like Samuel Yellin work.

Above right, detail of our interpretation of the original door knocker/latch.  Making one of something can be difficult – although this knocker is something we virtually never do, this one jumped right into the proper shape.  A spontaneous bend is natural, organic, fresh.  Maybe I got lucky, more probably the piece we copied was made by an old boy who made a lot of them.  Following his outside profile, the inside bend just happened to happen just right…

Funny, we always find the nicest and most popular historic hardware is also the easiest to hammer out.  There were hundreds of British hardware manufacturers selling into the colonial markets.  The less time to make, the lower the cost.  The old boys understood iron and made pieces that flowed naturally under heat.

To the right the full set of knocker, pulls and escutcheons matching those on the original gate


Linda Martinez with a pair of custom hinges.  Same hinges on a boat house in Kodiac, Alaska.  The “double braced” hinges mandate four pintles, where the load is borne.


“Mickey Mouse” shutter dogs.  Originals date from 1930’s/40’s.  I’d seen these on a sample board by Israel Marshal Forge. Cast iron shutter hardware.  It breaks.  Sometimes we’ll match the right stuff. Charleston, SC.  Does the car match the house, or does the house match the car.  I can’t know, but I like it.

We designed and fabricated the hardware for the big doors on Royal Carribean’s new cruise terminal in historic Falmouth, Jamaica.

Doors 12’ high and up to 14’ wide on retail shops and service buildings were fitted with Brandywine heavy strap hinges, head bolts, foot bolts, custom pintles anchored to poured concrete walls and covered with brick or limestone facades.  We provided hardware visually correct for the defined 18th century British port/warehouse complex in the islands.  At the same time, the hardware and its mounting of the massive doors provided time tested protection against the violent hurricanes and storms that batter the north shore of Jamaica.

This was a big project.  We delivered hardware for over a hundred doors in this size range.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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