Antiquing Hardware

The hardware for a project is just as important as the stain and finish. Here are a few hardware "finishes" to give your project the right look.

Straight from the store, brass hardware has a clean, shiny look that works for some projects — but not all.

One of the challenges in building a project is matching the hardware — like hinges and knobs — to the look and finish of the project. The problem is the solid brass hardware 1 like to use usually comes with a bright finish that just looks too new (margin photo).

Now you could wait mid just let the brass age naturally. This takes time (or may not happen at all with the protective coating on most hardware). A better solution is to "finish" the hardware and create your own "instant patina" or antique look. The nice thing is the process isn't all that difficult.

STRIPPING THE HARDWARE. The first step in creating a new finish is to remove the protective coating applied to the hardware. In most cases, lacquer is used to protect and preserve the look of the brass.

The first step in finishing brass is to remove the lacquer coating from the hardware.

Steel wool and synthetic pads make quick work of removing any stubborn coatings.

As you can see in the lower left photo, removing the lacquer coatings is just a matter of soaking the hardware in lacquer thinner. Some coatings can be tough to remove, so you might need to use a little elbow grease and complete the stripping with some synthetic pads or steel wool (lower right photo). And once you're down to bare brass, be sure to keep it clean and fingerprint-free.

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