Adventures in Making Hardware Part II

Hello and welcome to my blog.  This post completes a series in which I’m building a butler’s desk of American black walnut, in this post I will complete the process of making hardware I’ve designed to function as a stay.  Where we left off my concept had been formed in brass and the parts were ready for trial installation.

The first step taken is to cutout for the foot on the door’s interior left side and the cleat on the right side.  I’ve designed the foot to wrap around the outside corners but not to show on the cabinet face.  The installation also allows the screw connections to grip both the door panel and the supporting batten which was cut into the door sides.

After marking out the lines with a knife and kebiki gauge, I use a large paring chisel to create a recess along the mark which helps reduce the change of splitting out on the opposite side of the mark.




Next I pare out the remainder of the mortise.


Followed by marking out then paring into the sides of the mortise.



Finally I pare down the sides from above, then remove the remainder by cutting to the knife mark from the side.


Test fitting the parts reveals a tight fit.


Next I use a birdcage awl to start the screw holes.


Followed by installing screws for both the foot and the cleat.  Moving on, I began locating the stop inside the case, which took some careful measuring as I wished to avoid taking apart the case to gain access from behind the closed door.

I took measurements from the bottom of the case to the center of the foot and applied that to the stop to align the two pieces when the door is closed.  I then took a measurement of the height of the assembled foot from the front of the case and applied that plus some additional clearance.  After locating the stop I carefully cut the mortise.

These two pieces are made to work best in proper alignment, so I took care to ensure that the clearance between the door and the case was accounted for in making the stop.  This also helped to keep the linkage from scuffing the case side.


Now with the linkage installed I scribed a mark behind the stop.  This mark would indicate exactly where the rear pin would need to be located.  For the pin I decided to use a machine screw identical to that used to connect the foot and the linkage.  I went back to the to the Bridgeport once again, drilling and tapping for the machine screw.

Finally, I applied the bluing finish to the hardware then installed both pieces.







This completes the Butler’s Desk series, I hope that you have enjoyed following along and look forward to your comments below.


The Butler’s Desk series from the beginning



  1. Pingback: Adventures in Making Hardware | Brian Holcombe Woodworker

  2. Brian, you have extraordinary talent in many area! From my perspective, particularly regarding your fit and finish, attention to detail and the overall execution of your furniture.

    I don’t claim to be any kind of expert. However I have been a hand-tool ww’er for 30 years, and have built my share of decent furniture over the years. I marvel at the precision of your joinery, the beauty of your hand planed surfaces and the overall high standards of the craft you adhere to. Thanks for sharing your work. I hope your clients recognize how rare it is to find a craftsman of your abilities.

    Best, Mike

    Mike Allen
  3. Pingback: Adventures in Making Custom Hardware with Brian Holcombe

  4. Beautiful work! I am in the process of restoring an old Butler’s desk and can’t find the hardware. Do you know of any vendors that make or reproduce hinges for these type of desks?

    Dave Hickey

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