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"Antiquing Brass Hardware"


I would like to know how to refinish new brass hardware to look old and antiqued. - Thank You.

Karen F [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Inglewood, California


A very beautiful finish can be obtained by first cleaning the brass of any protective lacquer is completely removed. This is accomplished by soaking the brass in lacquer thinner [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] overnight and a thorough cleaning with a old tooth brush, warm water and soap. Extra fine 0000 steel wool [affil. link to info/product at Rockler] can also be used. Now comes the fun part. Depending on the size of the brass part, place in a jar several ounces of household ammonia along with a scrap piece of copper. No scraps? No problem. Buy a cheap 1/2" copper fitting at the hardware store for less than a $1.00. Than place some kind of spacer above the ammonia in the jar and copper. A small inverted waxed paper or plastic cup will work well. This is just to keep the brass item out of the ammonia liquid. It's the fumes that do the antiquing. Put the top on the jar and almost immediately you'll see the oxidation start to take place. You'll get beautiful blue and green hues. The process will take a couple of minutes to a couple of days depending on the effect you want. Usually a couple of hours is plenty. Remove the brass, rinse and dry, then buff out with jeweler's rouge [affil. link to info/product on Amazon]. Have fun. Let me know about your results.

A. Brooks B [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Manchester, Vermont, USA


I was wondering if there were any other, "easy to obtain" oxides to change the color of metal. I know of ammonia for copper. I am working on a jewelry project and would like to add some chemical changes to the metal. Thanks

Jill s [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
student - New York , New York, USA


For darkening of brass or copper you can use Liver of Sulphur [affil. link to info/product on Amazon]. It's potentially toxic, so use with care.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


Big project; I need some advice. How would I approach the project of antiquing a new brass bed that has a non-tarnish layer of poly on it from the factory? The style of the bed is turn of the century, but the bright finish detracts from the appearance.

Molly Keenan
Consumer - North Kingstown, Rhode Island


This advice has been really helpful so far. I do have a few follow up questions however.

First, can you apply these techniques to modern brass hardware? Are these solid brass?

Secondly, are there any processes that I can use for an electrical fixture that I don't want to completely disassemble?


John Thornbloom
- Denver, Colorado, USA

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