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old painted hardware to bronze finish

I am restoring a 1912 Foursquare home. Beautiful old hardware-craftsman style but many are painted or just have a dull old bronze finish. I have been told that the backplates are steel not brass. I have removed all of the old paint but would like to end up with a finish that looks like oil rubbed bronze without repainting them or replating them. Any suggestions?

Re: old painted hardware to bronze finish

I don't think you are going to find a solution that does not include paint or some type of plating. Personally, I would prime and paint them using common spray cans. RustOleum makes an "Oil Rubbed Bronze" spray paint in its new Universal Paint line of spray cans which is available at Home Depot. The Universal line is also self-priming.

Re: old painted hardware to bronze finish

Ooh, I'm going to have to try this. Lots of original door hardware in my 1914 Craftsman, and it's covered in silly paint. Might have to try something to get it back to the color it should be.

Re: old painted hardware to bronze finish


You might will want to determine what kind of metal you have. You should be able to tell by looking at the back of the hinges. If it looks like brass, try scratching it with something sharp to see if it is solid, or meerrly plated.

If it is covered with lots of latex paint, a night spent in a crock pot will remove it. If it is oil, put it in a shallow metal pan, such as a bread loaf pan, and submerge it in lacquer thinner, acetone or water soluble paint stripper. Cover the pan! The solvents are flammable and the active ingredients of stripper will flash off. Normally, the remaining paint will rinse off with water.

I grew up in an 1883 Victorian in Chicago. When we moved in, the door knobs looked like black pot metal. My dad, upon cleaning, discovered they were solid copper and brass. He bought a bench grinder with cotton buffing wheels and polished them all with polishing rouge. They shined like **** when done! He then sprayed them with clear lacquer.

Re: old painted hardware to bronze finish

A magnet will be most telling. If it's plated it's likely a steel base.
Rustoleum has some metallic spray cans in colors; I used their metallic black on my front door hardware and it looks pretty good, but it's not solid coverage; I think if you sprayed it over a colored base, like black metallic over a copper color, you could get enough variation in the finish to look convincing from 10 feet away. The copper will be visible through the black which is a clear base (I had to spray it over a solid black primer to get it at all dark).

Re: old painted hardware to bronze finish

there is a product call hammerite comes in a spray or you could brush on it has a hammered look or a plain look maybe this could be what you're looking for

Re: old painted hardware to bronze finish

Ditto on the magnet and kudos for saving the history, even if it means painting a faux finish. Replating is possible, but very costly now that the EPA oversees it so closely. Old brass and copper can be blackened with a gunsmith product called "Brass Black" made by Birchwood Casey. You might want to try this on something you're not keeping as it leaves the surface a dull but durable black, and that may not be exactly what you want. I've never tried altering that finish, perhaps an actual oil rubbing will get you what you seek after the blacking. If you try this let us know how it went.


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