The Rolls Royce of Hinges archive

Wednesday 9 March 2011

Robert Ingham finds out if the Smart Hinge designed by Andrew Crawford in collaboration with Clive Jarman is worth its billing

Robert Ingham finds out if the Smart Hinge designed by Andrew Crawford in collaboration with Clive Jarman is worth its billing

Why hasn't someone thought of this before? A phrase that is often quoted when a breakthrough occurs in almost every field of human expertise and it's certainly true of the smartHinge that has been developed by Andrew Crawford in conjunction with Clive Jarman, an ex-Rolls Royce engineer. Andrew has an international reputation and is probably one of the best known box makers around, so his knowledge and skill is certainly the basis of this new hinge.

Simplicity

It's simplicity itself. The hinge has a built-in stop that enables the lid to be held safely in the vertical position when the box is opened. This factor has been incorporated into hinges for quite some time.

I've seen an antique box, made in Victorian times, that had butt hinges with two narrow angled projections that provide a stay for the lid. While

it worked efficiently, its appearance lacked aesthetic subtlety. Quadrant hinges with a stay that drops into a slot in the side of the box also work well but they're fussy to fit and the material removed to accommodate the quadrant weakens the corner and side of the box.

There's another hinge available that's inserted into recesses in the sides that has a square projection, which is part of the outer knuckles of one strip of the hinge. Its appearance is also unattractive as it can clash visually with the outer surface details and decoration.

Subtlety

You need to examine the smartHinge to discover the subtle feature that enables the hinge to be opened and stop at a vertical angle of 95º. It's so unobtrusive that the only appearance when the lid is closed is the half-round projection of the knuckle.

Fitting

Fitting these hinges is also very straightforward and easy. All that's required is a router table with stops fitted to the fence. The 8mm wide strips have rounded ends, which fit into the corresponding profile produced by the cutter.


Tegan Foley

Tagged In:

Furniture and Cabinetmaking , Andrew Crawford , Clive Jarman , Smarthinge

F&c Verdict

As a box maker who has shunned manufactured hardware for many years the smartHinge has caused me to rethink this attitude and I can see myself using it in the future.
Pros:
Simplicity
Subtlety
Cons:
None
Price: £39.50 pr +p&p
From: smartHinge
Tel: 01694 781 318