What is on my hardware?
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Christine



Joined: 02 Jul 2009
Posts: 10
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 4:02 pm    Post subject: What is on my hardware? Reply with quote

I am beginning the process of cleaning and conditioning the metal hardware on my 100-year old doors and windows. The majority of the pieces are not painted, and are mostly a smooth black metal finish. As I am working on them, is there a way to figure out what is on the surface? So far, I have been rubbing oil into them with an old washcloth, and it appears that a fair amount of something is coming off.

If this were a multiple-choice question, I would offer the following options:

1) Patina, or a protective layer of tarnish. Is overzealous elbow-grease removing a layer that should be left alone? A cabinet latch is copper-colored under the black. Though I've only lived here a year, I am used to the black color, and I assume that returning the latch to a "new" appearance is not necessarily a good thing.

2) Rust. I removed the handle from an unused screen door. After soaking it in water and baking soda in the crock-pot, the paint came off easily, but there was a thin layer of rust. Rubbing oil into the handles has returned them to a satin black finish. I am assuming that rust is not desirable and will continue to damage the item.

3) A finish that should be protected, not scrubbed off. Some interior doors appear to have a japanned finish that I do not want to damage.

4) Dirt, grunge and grime that is doing little to enhance the appearance of the piece.

In the end, I am looking for advice on how to determine what layers should stay, and which ones need to go. Thank you in advance for the advice and information,

Christine
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rncx



Joined: 21 Jun 2008
Posts: 660
Location: Little Rock, AR

PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

without a picture to guess from, i would guess patina.

un laquered brass will turn quite black over a span of decades.
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R Phillips



Joined: 31 Oct 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Edinburgh, UK

PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is the hardware made of? wrought iron? cast iron? brass...? That would help identify the finish. a picture would be useful too.
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