Quick Tip #11 – Aging Hardware

I’m not a big fan of shiny finishes on hardware for the pieces I make. I much rather prefer hinges, screws, etc. that look like they have some age to them. In the case of inexpensive hardware from the big box stores, the solution is easy. Hinges and screws from the hardware store are typically zinc coated to make them shiny and prevent corrosion. However, I want the corrosion [we call it patina ;)]. To get rid of the ugly zinc coating and speed the patination, all it takes is a little salad dressing.


 

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Quick Tip #11 – Aging Hardware — 9 Comments

  1. Nice! I was just thinking how much I disliked the standard shiny finish of my hinges for my Saw Bench Box I finished recently.

    I the next box might get this treatment I think. since I’ll be doing some carved S-Scroll work on the oak I’ll be using, and I’ll want to keep the vintage feel to it.

    badger

  2. Great trick for aging the steel. The only other thing I do is heat up the steel red hot, either on a hot plate or in the wood stove, in a metal fish can etc. and then put some wax on it as is cools a bit, turns the steel a nice aged dark/black color.

  3. Nice video, Bob.

    I’ve been thinking about this for solid brass hinges I bought from the hardware store for an outdoor project. They’re super shiny – I assume they’re coated with lacquer or something similar. Should I hit them with the torch, sandpaper, or something else first?

    • You have to get the lacquer off first with the brass ones. A good soak in lacquer thinner will work. The torch will burn it off too if you get them hot enough. I don’t like sanding because it scratches them up and it looks unnatural. Once you have the lacquer off, just about anything caustic (acidic or basic) should give them some nice tarnish.

      • Have you noticed any problems with the hinges not working smoothly after this process? I was considering it for a my hinges, as well, but they’re those really heavy duty, smooth working ones. I’d hate to make them work poorly.

        Also, and and I know this is a bit gross, but an old bronze sculptors’ trick is to take your brass or bronze parts outside and give them a good, natural “pee” bath and let them sit for a couple of days. Heating the bronze/brass before hand helps. Of course, there are commercial patinas that work similarly :)

        • I haven’t noticed any difference. The laquer coating is really thin and serves only to keep the brass from oxidizing and losing it’s shine. I’ve never had a problem removing the laquer. Sooner or later, though, the brass will wear in and the hinges will gain a little slop with extended use. It’s just the nature of brass. Brass is soft and eventually, just the normal wear will make them a little loose. As for peeing on them, well, it’s basically the same as soaking them in any alkaline solution (urine is very alkaline). So regular household ammonia will basically do the same.

  4. I like your “saw-till” Bob. The one I can see over your right shoulder in the introduction. The price is right! :-) Oh, and good tip on the zinc coated hardware.

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