Custom Hand forged black iron lion paper weigh

Custom Black Iron

Custom Hand forged black iron lion paper weigh

     Hope everyone had a fun and safe New Year’s! Now that we”re back from our winter break, I wanted to share with you all a recent project we worked on right before we closed down for the holidays. It was for a customer who was looking to have some custom shutter dogs made. Now to be honest, prior to this project I had no idea what a shutter dog was, (as I’m still learning about all the hardware and its use). And if you’re like me and you don’t know or didn’t know, shutter dogs were designed to hold wooden shutters open, but over time have become more of a decorative hardware piece.
     When I was assigned the project, our customer wanted us to sketch out a design based off of his existing logo they had for their law firm. So I was given their business card and I began hand sketching my rendition of their logo. Once I was satisfied with the way it looked, I quickly transferred it over onto Illustrator and passed on the file over to our blacksmiths. Now I have to say that all the credit should go to our very talented blacksmiths, Terry and Darryl. Without them, none of this would of been possible.

The entire process took about 2 weeks to finish, mainly because our blacksmiths work from their shops in Tennessee and Ohio. The finished piece came out amazing and the customer couldn’t be happier. They measure about 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″. We ended up making two versions of the hardware, one being the actual shutter dogs and the other to use as a paper weight.

So if you’ve enjoyed these shutter dogs as much as I have and you’re looking for something similar feel free to let us know, or if you already have an idea in mind, feel free to tell us about it! We’d be more than happy to help you out with your special project. I know I’ve had a lot of fun working on this project and look forward to working on more.

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A Special Commission: Campaign Furniture Hardware

One thing I love about this very odd job blogging about furniture hardware is the opportunity to expand my knowledge base. I cannot tell you how many times I watched Jewel in the Crown, The English Patient and other films with a strong colonial British showing without knowing the proper term for all that striking military luggage-like furniture.

Despite a history of vast travels throughout the British Empire, the majority of Campaign furniture has settled in England and is available through reputable antique dealers such as Christopher Clarke. Additionally, reproductions also seem to be an English specialty. In the United States, retailers seem to carry only metal frame pieces vaguely inspired by these wooden works of exceptional craftsmanship.

image courtesy of Christopher Clarke

Furniture With History

Campaign furniture’s design caters to the refined taste of high ranking military officers and government officials of late 18th and early 19th century England. These men traveled the world with pomp and privilege. Campaign furniture made the comforts of home portable, with specialized compartments for equipment, maps, uniforms, etc. The pieces were well made, practical and designed to withstand the rough travels over sea and land. Chest-like desks and other pieces would sit atop metal stands to avoid the wet ground when out in the field.

Time To Bring In The Special Forces

Because of fluctuating exchange rates and the expense (and hassle) associated with shipping from abroad, bringing one of these Campaign furniture pieces over from England is not easy. Today, the majority of reproduction pieces are built in England.

In the U.S., however, campaign furniture pieces commissioned by antique dealers and high-end retailers often go to one man esteemed for his unsurpassed craftsmanship, Douglas P. Dimes of famed D.R. Dimes.

This cherry wood table is a recent example of the fine work done by, D.R. Dimes and their ability to create historically accurate reproductions down to the smallest details. One distinguishing detail of Campaign furniture is the intricate hardware, designed to embellish the piece, keeping functionality in mind. The recessed hardware design kept the metalwork from catching.

Campaign furniture’s flush mounted hardware, a unique style that later permeated other applications of colonial furniture, could not be approached as an afterthought. The flush-mounted hardware is intrinsic to actual construction of the table. Therefore, Doug turned to Horton Brasses for specially commissioned brass.

Horton Brasses had the unique ability to make the custom hardware for me and understand what it should actually look like and work.  There are any number of companies that could do the work but Orion and his people have an institutional knowledge that can only come from a multi generational family owned business.  I know what I needed but I am in the furniture business.  To have a vendor that gives me the answers as opposed to asking questions is very important.   The fact that I have a very good relationship with Orion both professionally and to a degree personally makes working with Horton Brasses both valuable and a pleasure.  I wish I had more vendors like them.

–Douglas P. Dimes