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Soaked paint off old brass hardware (crock pot method) - now what?

I live in a 1921 Chicago bungalow. I'm stripping the paint from all the original woodwork and attempting to restore the painted hardware as well. Finished the first door today and it looks amazing! Soaked all the hardware in a crock pot with dish detergent last night and all the paint came off beautifully. I'm now left with somewhat dull bronze/brass (?) hardware. The non-painted hardware (but not yet cleaned up) on the rest of the doors are a black metal. I'm assuming this is a natural oxidation of the metal. Will the metal I just cleaned up eventually return back to that darkened patina? It doesn't have any shine or sheen to it at all now. It's very dull. What should I do to finish this up before I put the hardware back up. It doesn't seem "finished" in the current state, but I can't find anything that tells me what to do with it after the crockpot bath soaks the paint off.

(Not looking for any suggestions to spray paint, etc. I'm trying to stick with the original finishes and looks. Thanks.)

Re: Soaked paint off old brass hardware (crock pot method) - now what?


The easiest and cheapest thing for polishing your hardware is old fashioned "Brasso", a mild liquid rubbing compound known to every soldier in the Army. It polished your brass buckles and insignias beautifully. Once clean, spray them with a true clear lacquer, such as Deft, which is available in spray cans.

I spent my teen-age years in an 1883 Victorian on Chicago's NorthSide (Broadway and Foster Avenues). When we moved in in 1956, all the ornate doorknobs and backplates looked like they were cast iron, they were so black. Somewhere along the line, my dad discovered they were actually solid brass and copper. After soaking off the surface grunge, he started buffing them on the buffing wheel of his workshop benchgrinder, using jeweler's rouge. They sparkled like ****! Following the polishing, he sprayed them with a simple spray can of a true lacquer. This helped them hold their shine for years. Should they need cleaning in years to come, a true lacquer will readily soak off with lacquer thinner and be ready for re-polishing.

Re: Soaked paint off old brass hardware (crock pot method) - now what?
Re: Soaked paint off old brass hardware (crock pot method) - now what?

Are you looking for patina or shine? Each will require a different approach. For shine, Brasso is coarser than Flitz, and finest (but expensive) is Simichrome polish. After applying, buff with a cotton rag (old T-shirts are perfect for this) and apply a paste-wax. Renew the wax as needed- doorknobs with high use will need this about once a month, and maintain with the cotton rag in between. If you discover dulling, hit them with the Simichrome and wax again and they will gleam like new forever.


Re: Soaked paint off old brass hardware (crock pot method) - now what?

I guess what I was/am looking for is somewhere between patina and polish. I don't want them to be shiny new brass, but I don't want them to look like something that's been buried for 50 years.

What I ended up doing was scrubbing them with 0000 steel wool soaked in mineral oil. I rubbed them to a finish similar to what new knobs label as "antique bronze". High sheen on the raised details, but I slightly overall aged look. After the oil treatment, I wiped them down with wax and buffed them out. I'm fairly happy with the result, but I'm still not quite sure what the original look was.

If I could figure out how to use an attachment on this forum, I'd attach a photo. ;)


Re: Soaked paint off old brass hardware (crock pot method) - now what?

Upload it to http://imgur.com/ and share the link.

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