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topic 10630

Repairing a scratched brass doorknob!

Q. I am writing to find out if anyone knows how to restore a scratched brass doorknob. Perhaps there is a good brass paint out there? My doorknob is only 9 months old and is scratched and rusting. I would appreciate any suggestions. Thank you.

Angela P [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Sterling Heights, Michigan, U.S.A.


A. Yes, there is paint that will cover the scratch, unfortunately, on a doorknob it will not last for long. Any and all paint wears off very quickly when it is rubbed. You can refinish the doorknob by sanding out the scratch and re-lacquering, but the time and effort it takes is not worth it. A new brass doorknob costs about $20 around here. When I re-finished the 3 door knobs on my Dad's house, I spent more than $30 on the materials for refinishing and it took about 6 hours per knob. I would have gladly paid the additional $30 to have had those 18 hours to myself. You need to sand 4 times with increasingly fine sandpaper,(using a Dremel [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] helps) then polish with jeweler's rouge [linked by editor to product info at Amazon], then spray paint the knob with clear lacquer. You'll probably need to re-apply the lacquer every year to keep the knob looking new.

Good Luck,

Bob Zonis
- Bohemia, New York

July 2013

Hi Angela. If the doorknob is rusting, it's steel with a brass plating rather than being solid brass . . . so you won't be able to polish off the finish and lacquer it as Bob describes. A plating shop can replate it with brass, but it requires labor and labor is costly, so the price may be prohibitive if the doorknob was relatively inexpensive. Good luck.


Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

Need quote for brass plating of doorknobs and cover plates


RFQ: I have 8 doorknobs and face plates that were brass plated and need to be replated. I'm looking for quotes on how much this will cost and what the turn-around time will be. Thank you!

Beth F [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
homeowner - Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA


RFQ: We have a 1940s exterior door handle and plate that has rusted from age and needs a new brass finish putting on them. We would prefer this to substituting the set with a modern replacement. Need a shop, preferably in Kentucky or adjacent states, that could replace the brass on these components.

Paula Tdeleted
- Versailles, Kentucky, USA

What kind of paint for brass doorknobs?


Q. Hi, can you tell me what the paint is called that you use to cover scratched brass? Thanks, Sabrina

Sabrina Ray
- Delta, Pennsylvania

2K Clearcoat

August 5, 2009

A. Hi Sabrina. No paint really looks like bright polished brass to me, and as Bob says, paint may not last anyway. But you can perhaps get the general tone of an older brass with a brass paint like Metallic Spray Paint gilded brass [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]. If you put a 2K automotive clearcoat on top, you'll have at least some wear resistance. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

How to get shiny brass look?

October 11, 2010

Q. How do I get the high gloss finish on a brass door knob. I removed the top finish and now it is dull and does not match.

Jewell Forlaw
homeowner - Greensboro, Georgia USA

October 11, 2010

A. Hi, Jewell. Unfortunately, one of the downsides of today's high technology is that there are so many ways to make something look like brass, that you often won't know what you actually have, and therefore how to attack its problems. But if the handle is indeed solid brass, it can be polished to a high shine. Get a dremel and jeweller's rouge as Bob suggests, or get buffing pads for your electric drill and some polishing compound -- even Mother's Mag & Aluminum Polish [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] should do -- and polish it back to brightness. It can theoretically be done completely by hand, but it would be a monstrous amount of work, so you'll want some electrically powered polishing tool or other.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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