Hinges come in various sizes and patterns, each with a different use. They are invariably described by the shape they most closely resemble a very helpful thing to remember when ordering although it has to be remembered, each blacksmith will probably have his own designs! The most common forms of hand-forged hinges produced by English blacksmiths today are:
T hinges are the classic hand-forged hinge, familiar to most from the backs of farmhouse doors or barns. Shaped like a horizontal letter T, with their variable length tapered fixing plate, or strap, and excellent load capacity they are ideal for use on internal doors or external doors or gates with the correct anti-corrosion finish. They come in various decorative designs such as penny, bean or arrow-head end.
H hinges are, as the names suggests, shaped like the letter H. They are ideal carpentry hinges for cabinets, shutters or for doors where there’s limited space for fixing. There is some superstition attached to them whereby using them on doors would protect against witchcraft, the H representing “Holy Lord”.
HL hinges are similar to H hinges but with one strap shaped like the letter L. Used in similar applications to the H hinges or where the door is maybe a bit heavier or has undergone a repair.
Butterfly hinges are again decorative carpentry hinges although with “wings” resembling those of a butterfly. They are also known as dovetail hinges, for the same reason. They range in size and application, from large for use on heavy doors or desk lids to small enough for jewellery or trinket boxes.
Half butterfly hinges are similar in design and usage to butterfly ones but with one wing replaced with a half-butt hinge, making it easier to mount in restricted spaces.
Shutter hinges are designed with an angled offset on which the shutter is mounted so that when the shutter is opened it is thrown clear of the window, flat against the surrounding wall.
Ornate hinges can be any of the above hinge patterns but, as the name suggests, they are of far more decorative designs with extensive scroll work and punching. In this respect they are usually based on the T or butterfly pattern as these would have enough area to allow for the scrolling without compromising the loading capacity.