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"Naming a Finish from its Look"

June 24, 2021

Q. Is it possible to determine what the finish is on these fixtures? (Brushed, Satin . . . Chrome, nickel . . .?)

61278-1   61278-1a   61278-1b

Thank you!

Brant Blower
- Berkeley, California
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June 2021

A. Hi Brant.
• I would call the clip which is holding the glass "chrome" or "black chrome" -- it's a little hard to tell how dark it is; although black chrome can be actually black, much of it is a 'smoked glass' color.
• I would probably call the showerhead 'stainless' or 'stainless-look' depending on what it actually is.
• I would probably call the faucet and control 'bright nickel', although it's hard to tell from a photo filtered by the glass whether there are brush lines (in which case I'd call it brushed nickel).

But the thing is, there is no universal acceptance of any of this. Plating chemical suppliers will not call anything 'satin' unless it is a pearlescent finish achieved with special addition agents, whereas big-box stores probably have no qualms calling that showerhead satin nickel, and others reserve 'satin' for the bead-blasted finishes one might see on portions of a pistol. Many of us have a general belief that 'brushed' means a unidirectional pattern, but others will call any finish which is short of full shiny 'brushed'. Unfortunately I think we're still a long way from having an accepted lexicon.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
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