Backwards Hinge?

A few weeks ago I ran across an old tool chest at an antique store and it managed to follow me home. It is not particularly unique in its construction; I was mostly taken by the old red paint job on the inside.


When I got home with my find, I took the tills out and had a close look at the inside to see what kind of tool marks there were. Also, looking for the almost-always nonexistent signature or possible date. It is not signed anywhere other than red paint fingerprints on the undersides of the tills.

One thing I did notice when I was looking it over in the store is that the lid had an extra hinge on the outside of the chest. I assumed it was a repair, that maybe the center hinge on the inside had pulled loose at some point and it would have been easier to add another hinge on the outside.


On closer inspection the outside hinge was the same size and type as the inside three. It looked to be original. The outside hinge also has two carefully made spacers so the barrel of the outside hinge and the inside hinges align. After thinking about it and wondering why the maker did not just space the four hinges on the inside I happened to open the lid up while standing behind the chest. Ah ha! The outside hinge is the stop for the lid.


Most box hinges the leaves of the hinge will close completely on one another in one direction and won’t in the other direction. When I realized how it worked I felt like a total dumb-ass (a regular occurrence) for not figuring it out sooner.

– Will Myers


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7 Responses to Backwards Hinge?

  1. Bharat soni says:


  2. Mark Baker says:

    Nice to see someone was thinking back when the box was first made as well as today .

  3. nrhiller says:

    So clever! I’ve never seen such an application, though I did once have a job for which “stop hinges” were an ideal solution to stopping a lid from falling backwards without having to use stays. Kudos to you for figuring this out.

  4. ericfromdayton says:

    I guess my question is why they didn’t install all the hinges that way?

  5. orion Henderson says:

    That’s actually quite brilliant in it’s simplicity.

  6. Bill Barr says:

    Do you see the crack in the wood just below the lower edge of the spacer for the external hinge? Is this crack visible inside the chest? Perhaps the crack was caused by the the force required to hold the lid up when it (the lid) was in the open position. Or perhaps the crack was caused by someone pushing the lid beyond the normal open position.

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