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Oil-Rubbed Bronze hardware highlights

In my home I have 100 year old bronze door hardware (shows copper higlights in raised areas) and newer Oil-Rubbed bronze hardware (shows uniform bronze brown color all over, no highlights). I was told oil-rubbed bronze is a living finish which will in time acquire similar highlights as the older pieces, but is there a method to speed the process? And does anyone know how long this natural process takes?

Sherri Barra
homeowner - Palatine, Illinois, USA

What you are looking to do is called a patina,the darker areas basically are areas of oxidation that turn that nice warm brown we all know and love. You can use a number of products to achieve this, the easiest of which is to use peanut oil and a torch. Be careful as this does involve flame. Just rub a few drops of the oil onto the surface and then apply LIGHT flame until it smokes, keep in mind that patina recipes and techniques vary widely from piece to piece, so do be careful and work on something that won't show first so you can get the hang of it. As this is door hardware I'd think that a pair of tongs or pliers would be a good idea for handling the work while it is still cooling (be sure to let it AIR cool, using water would probably be ok but you may ruin the patina you just applied). Anywho once you have the color you want I suggest using a light commercial polish to bring the high spots up to a dull shine, then lightly coat the pieces with either a wax or oil to prevent any damage.

There is another option that I have read about, it suggest using Gun Blue, which is available in most sporting goods stores, this will produce a black to grey patina rather than the brown.

Marc Banks
- Elizabeth City, North Carolina

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