What now? We get this question a lot. You have a broken pull on an older dresser, typically something dating from the 1950’s to the 1970’s. The first thing to understand is that the furniture you have is not an antique. An antique is technically 100 years old, or older. You will not be devaluing your furniture by changing the hardware, refinishing it, or putting new holes in it. The Antiques Roadshow has really spread a lot of misinformation about refinishing furniture-unfortunately most of it is wrong. Yes, if you have an 18th century Townshend original-you should not modify it in any way-and anything you do should be under the supervision of an experienced conservator. But for factory made furniture from the 20th century-you will be doing a world of good to get it usable again.
How to proceed? First you have to decide what you want done. Do you want to refinish the whole piece and make it new again? If so, check your local yellow pages for a furniture refinisher. These folks will get your piece looking great again. Is it just the hardware? That is where we come in.
What do you want? Do you want to update the look with completely new hardware in a new finish or style? Or do you just want to replace the one or two broken pieces? Either way, the first thing you need to know is the boring size. The boring is the distance from the middle of one hole to the middle of the other hole-on the furniture itself. Different types of hardware fit in different ways, but boring is consistent-as long as the new hardware fits the same boring, you should be all set. The easiest way to measure the boring is to measure from the outside of one hole to the inside of the other.
Now that we have established the boring, its time to determine what fits. At Horton Brasses, we manufacture hardware in a variety of styles and sizes. You can use our handy dandy boring chart to see all of the hardware arranged by size. Just click on the part number, under the size you have, to see what fits.
Sometimes you can get away with just replacing a broken part, typically the bail (handle). We do sell parts, though we are one of a small number of companies that does. Bails are sized by boring-not the dimensions of the bail itself. So a 3″ bail, PRT-10, for example, will fit a piece of furniture with a 3″ boring. You can see parts here to get an idea. Generally, if you are replacing parts you just want to get something that fits and looks reasonably similar to the original. What we suggest you do is place the replacement part on one pull and then move it to the bottom drawer so it is out of the way.
Lastly, we produce traditional American reproduction furniture hardware. Much of the hardware made for post war furniture is considerably larger than the items we make. There isn’t much we can help you with there, but if the borings on your furniture are more than 4″ we would suggest seeking out replacement hardware at Ansaldi & Sons. Ansaldi carries a lot of hardware from that era and has larger items to fit.