You do not have to spend $20 on a corner brace for your next piece of Campaign-style furniture. You can, in fact, spend less than 98 cents per brace and pick them up at your corner hardware store.
While finishing up work on the folding bookcase I’ve been working on the last couple weeks, I walked down to our local hardware store to pick up some cork feet for the bookcase so it wouldn’t scratch the living snot out of the furniture below it.
At the hardware store, I spied some brass mending plates and corner braces that look darn near like the hardware shown on many old piece of Campaign furniture I’ve been researching. A pack of four plates was $3.89. I snatched several sizes and shapes to mess around with in my shop.
The good news: These are available everywhere. You can find them at home centers and hardware stores in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and finishes. You aren’t going to find a corner brace with an ogee ornament, but that’s the price of frugality.
More good news: They don’t totally suck a lemon turd. From a distance, they look pretty good. With some careful insetting and some new screws, them might pass – like bringing home a top-notch cross-dresser to meet maw and pa.
The bad news. The “brass” is one molecule thick on these babies. If you rub them the wrong way with your thumb, the brass will disappear.
Other bad news: On some corner braces the countersink for the screws is on the wrong side of the hardware. These braces are supposed to be used on inside corners. If you have a countersink bit, this problem is easy to remedy.
The bottom line: Don’t buy the “brass” ones. Buy the steel ones and make them gunky with a combination of gun blue, flame and urine. That will give them the grunge they need to look sweet.
I plan to make a lap desk or small chest using these braces – after they have been given a golden shower and the torch (just kidding about the pee-pee). They really are not as bad as I thought they would be. And at less than $1 each, it’s hard to complain.
— Christopher Schwarz