brass ideas/experience needed.....

lizbeth-gardenerSeptember 27, 2010

We have solid brass doorknobs and hardware. I just took the lacquer off of one and it cleaned up nicely. Now am not sure what I want to do for a finish, as the freshly cleaned brass is a bit too bold on the dark stained old doors. Is there something I can do other than let them oxidize to get a "not so bright" brass finish?? If I just leave them natural, will they get dirty looking quickly?

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Brass will naturally age, or as you put it, get "DIRTY". Every finish that is added to brass is done to replicate, most unsuccessfully, that "DIRTY" look, so why not save the time, money and energy of faking it and let it just occur. is it really that horrific that you cant live with it for a few months ? There is nothing as beautiful or desirable as perfectly aged brass.

here's a story: I put new reproduction brass handles on a 200 year old dresser and my SO was VERY unhappy since they were so shiny. In about 9 months the brass had already darkened a bit and he even said they looked perfectly in keeping with the 200 year old dresser.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 9:51AM
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old house j i m: i guess i didn't word my post well. i'm o.k. with the current oxidation of the knobs. i just wondered if they will just look like dull brass or if they will eventually look awful. if they do look awful, are they easy to clean up since they are no longer lacquered? the hardware on this house is the original (1918) and the lacquer is half off most of the knobs and makes them look filthy rather than just dull or having a patina-that is my concern.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 10:10AM
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OH MY - dont lacquer them - heres what happens, like you notice, half the lac. wears away, the other half gets crappy - alternatively, WAX them after they age a bit (to your liking) - the wax will still allow some oxidation but they are easier to clean and the wax comes off with a swipe of some turpentine of soap and water and can quickly be reapplied- OR, just leave em alone - your hands will wear off some of the oxidation and you'll end up with that LOVELY high low pattern that so many reproductions attempt, but never achieve - just one note: make sure you wash the brass really well after you install it - any residue from fingers, cleaners, paint thinner, etc. will ruin the natural aging your after - BEST OF LUCK.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 8:39PM
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old house j i m: Thanks for all the great info. I think I will just leave them natural with no wax, but just in case I change my mind down the road, what kind of wax are you referring to??

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 12:42AM
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ok, sit down, get a pen and paper, heres how I do it cause even though this seems like a lot, im lazy and dont like buffing wax.

I put on 1-2 coats of car wax, let dry, then buff with an old shoe brush (horsehair, you can get them at a drugstore for about $3). The car wax is usually tougher and longer lasting than most others. Then i put on a coat of dark brown tinted wood wax, I have liberon, but usually any that is tinted deep brown will work.

What this does is hide the white residue from the wax that usually is near impossible to remove in teh grooves of old hardware. It will also impart a little of that antique glow we all love so much. You can use the tinted wax alone, but will have to clean off and reapply it more often.

JUST BE SURE ITS DRY - it will stain everything if you dont let it dry long enough ... thats it - youll love your old brass ...

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 2:58PM
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Old_house_j_i_m: lol!! I had it all wrong? "Herb Alpert & the Carnuba Brass"? Sorry - been holding that in for hours & couldn't take it any longer. :-)
Seriously, thanks for that suggestion. I got a lot of old (I guess brass) doorknobs, and "plates" for them (?) when my dear friend passed away last year. They've been boxed up because I haven't known how to deal with them. (In more ways than one, I guess). They're in sorry shape, she intended to sell, not use, as antiques. As with many of these things I've ended up with, of hers. Now I'm hopeful that I can use them in my home - where they seem like they'd belong.
Car wax. Who'd have thought? Lol!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 8:28PM
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old house j i m: Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experience. Having gardenweb to connect with people like you is such a gift! Liz

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 11:28PM
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