Other - Butler Tray Hinges (Rating: 5)

I decided to write up this review after finding little or no information regarding their use and also their installation.


I purchased the hinges from a Creative finishes for Hardware supplier located in Dungog N.S.W. Australia.

Butler style hinges all appear to be in the ormanental catagory and are mostly brass or polished Stainless Steel.
The profile is overall rectangular and the ends can be square edge or rounded.

The hinges I used were solid brass polished to a high finish rounded ends and 38mm x 64mm. or 2.5" x 1.5" x 1/8"
they open from 90 deg to 180 deg and have a spring loaded locking mechanism.

They have six screw holes and the mounting screws were supplied with the hinges as a kit.

I wanted to use then in the construction of the Blanket Box I made and posted as a project by the same name.

When I opened them there was no installation instructions provided so I decided to look on the internet for some instalation information.
After scanning through numerous hardware suppliers and found the hinges listed as Butlers Hinges, Butlers Tray Hinges and incorrectly refered to as Sewing Machine hinges, which look very similar but open 180 deg as opposed to 90 Degrees.

I used concealed fall flap hinges as an alernative so I could finish the project and spend so more time later researching how to install the hinges I had.

The hinges were not cheap and from memory were about $38 a pair.

Quality: The hinges are a very good quality Solid Brass highly polished and covered with a protective finish, the accompaning screws were also of the same quality.

Installation Instructions: There was no instruction literature with the hinges and all my attemptes to locate any information even from a third party information sheet was also unsucessful.
I thought this very unusual as the hinges being Solid Brass looked very nice and would have been an attractive item to use.

I made a couple of unsucessful attempts to install them and decided to make a jig to assist in the recess profile required.

Step 1. Overall profile
As they were 3mm or 1/8" overall profile I routed the perimeter profile depth using the jig in the accompaning pictures.
Step 2. Hinge pivot detail
I then routed the hinge profile down to 10mm 90 degrees
Step 3 Hinge locking spring detail
As the hinge locking mech needed to pivot out fron the hinge lock recess I routed this out to a depth of 10mm also
Step 4 Squaring up the routed areas
I used a chisel to square up the hinge end recesses as they finished square and parallel to the hinge perimeters.

Step 5 Fittment of the hinges
The hinges fitted up OK so I screwed up the six screws thinking the job was finished, however when i attempted to rotate the test sample the hinge wouldnt close.

I then dismantled one side and sanded a 45 deg bevel on one side and reassembled everything.
The hinges then worked just fine and locked in the 90 deg position OK.

At first I thought that they were worth time time it took for me fit them, as the certainly looked OK in the open position. The asembly time was about three hours, not considering the research I did trying to find installation instructions.

However upon seeing the exposed sections of the hinges when closed changed my mind they were very ugly to say the least, ignoring the protruding screws, which I accept again lack of info.

This exposed area could be reduced 50 % by ensuring the axial hinge area was contained in the moving portion of the flap, again lack of information prevailed.

Value for Money:
New installations, not value for money, difficult to install and time consuming.
Replacement of existing system, altough expensive they are unique in their operation.

Good points. Well manufactured and finished and do look good
Bad Points. Expensive,difficult and time consuming to install, need to be oriented to conceal mechnism from view, no installation documentation available

I am not sure where you would use such a hinge again no doubt there is an folding panel application for them.
The hinges are let down in a big way by the lack of detailed installation instructions, along with their cost and limited application due to the size of the folding panel which relates to introduced stresses by the amount of weight it can support.
The hinges by virtue of my installation proved they have a fixed and moving orientation fitment.

Recommendation: I would not recommend the use of these hinges. In particular I would discourage any application in softwood due to introduced stresses on the timber and hinge via the folding panel from the user.
They possibly still has a role in the retro replacement of existing installations upon failure.

Conclusion: Due to the lack of information available which to me this alone indicates a very limited use of Butler Tray Hinges as a common furniture hinge in todays society.