Saturday, May 9, 2009

Quick and Easy Hardware Antiquing

A while ago I finally finished the Shaker cupboard project - mostly. In the final push, I just went ahead and used the nickle plated hinges "as is", even though I knew the bright, shiny finish would bug me. It did.

Well, I finally got around to antiquing the hinges. Here's what I came up with: fire. I made a small fire in a metal bucket, threw the hinges in the coals and left it alone until it was cool. They came out looking funky, but a quick wipe with an oily rag took off the surface layer (oxidation? ash?), exposing the steel underneath.

I really like the color - it has a nice, varied, aged look to my eye. Next step is actually putting them on the cupboard. I hope that doesn't take another year...


  1. Dan: Another year to put on eh... I bet if you set your mind to it... you could have it done, Oh lets say... By mothers day! lol

    Or a Present to yourself and say... Fathers Day!

    Nice work on the Hinges thou... I wonder if using a Propane Torch would do the same, by braising over the area in different patterns would give you a Simular Effect?

    Might have to check into some different effects fire enhances metal or hinges etc.


  2. Nice work Dan! I've seem a similar thing done to modern screws to remove the zinc coating and expose the raw steel and make them look better. I think Stephen Shepherd (Google Full Chisel blog) uses vinegar if I remember correctly to remove the zinc coating. I keep meaning to try it myself but have not yet needed to do it. I may try it just for fun. Are these for the step back you posted about a little while ago? They should look real nice. I so dislike that shiny new varnished look in new hardware. I think you made a good decision to antique them.

  3. Handi's right--propane will also coat it black. And Bob is right, too. Vinegar ages hardware. If you put a tub of vinegar beneath your hardware--I hang it on a string--and then cover the hardware and the tub with plastic, it only takes about an hour or less to do the job.

    ...or you can toss it in a fire. :o)

  4. Thanks All,

    I'll have to try the vinegar trick. I did try egg yolks and yogurt once to darken brass, but no luck. I think there was lacquer of some other coating that interfered. Never really got back to it...

    I have to say though, the fire was super easy - and as a bonus, I could do it outside even in the winter.

    I'll try to get a post up soon, showing the difference they make on the cupboard.


Comment Moderation has been turned on - too much spam! Bummer.

I will get an email notification and will approve any appropriate comments ASAP.