MFA cupboard restoration resumes

new door installed

It’s been quite some time since I worked on the cupboard restoration for the Museum of Fine Arts. A while back I made a second version of the door frame; slightly changing the carving pattern.

Today I installed the wooden “pintel” hinges & fitted the door. The wooden hinges are simplicity itself, so I thought I would show a bit about how I fit them. I didn’t shoot the whole thing, but it should be easy enough to describe.

After boring holes in the inside edges of the upper & lower rail, I test-fit the door and then mark where the holes go in its upper & lower edges. Then I bored these. Next I shaved two small wooden pins that will fit these holes with some clearance.

The upper pin fits all the way to the bottom of the hole in the door’s upper end. Make sure the hole in the upper rail is long enough so this pin does not bottom out.

pin at upper end of door

The hole in the bottom edge of the door needs to be deeper than the pin is long. This way the pin can fit all the way up into the door & disappear.

pin at bottom of door stile

The hole in the upper edge of the lower rail is quite shallow. To install the door & hinges, slide the upper pin into its hole in the upper rail; then position the door in place, and knock on the stile near the bottom pin, which hould then drop down into place. Sometimes a slight bop with your fist is enough, sometimes a hammer helps.  It takes a bit of fiddling & wiggling, and this sort of hinge has some play in it. If for some reason you need to take the door out again, just turn the frame upside down & bop things around til the bottom pin slides up into the door stile. Then tip the door out.. 

knock the bottom pin down into place

I’ll be working steadily on this project in December & January, so there will be lots more to come…


One thought on “MFA cupboard restoration resumes

  1. Peter: Do I understand correctly that the cupboard top you are making is copied from the top of a surviving 17th century piece? What are your thoughts about the lack of vertical symmetry in the carved door panel? Is the panel you are copying original?

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