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topic 8937

How to refinish cast iron and cast bronze fireplace surround

A discussion started in 2001 but continuing through 2019


Q. I recently came across your fascinating home page,, and have a question that I am hoping you can answer. We would like to refinish the fireplace surround shown in the attached pictures.


It is cast-iron, made in the late 1800's. As you can see, it has a slight bronze finish on it already, which may be some sort of overlay, and is in poor condition. Overall, the piece measures 30"x20". We would like it to have a more rich bronze look to it, and possibly an overlying clear coat that can resist heat.

Any suggestions?


Adam Landsman
- Chicago, Illinois


A. Hi Adam,

If you want to do it yourself, let me know. If you can't find a job shop in the's directory that will do it, let me know. Have fun and good luck.

Jake Koch
G. J. Nikolas &Co.,Inc.
supporting advertiser
Bellwood, Illinois
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A. Hello. Last year I stripped paint from and refinished a cast iron fireplace and grille with a bronze finish. After stripping the paint, I used a very fine 0000 steel wool [affil. link to Rockler] to clean residue (the bronze is fragile) and then used dentil picks to clean the nooks and crannies. A good metal polish (I used Maas metal polish [affil. link to product info on Amazon] ) really cleaned the bronze and when polished it looked great. Mine was made by Sharp & Sons in 1890. Like many I've seen with bronze accents, they are applied in "patches" and are circular in shape. I wouldn't try to do anything further than remove any rust or paint and let it's natural finish shine through. I used a clear spray-on sealer from Rustoleum. They make products specifically for grills, ovens, stoves, etc. that are heat resistant. It make take a few trips to find a store that carries what you need. Good luck.

Aimee Hamby
- Neosho, Missouri

Problem refinishing cast iron fireplace surround

October 19, 2019

Q. I'm stripping and polishing a cast iron fireplace surround from the late 1800's in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Some of the underlying finish is irregular, shiny and brown compared to the rest. Is it a variation in the cast iron itself? No amount of grinding with a drill-mounted wire brush seems to change it at all. Thanks for your help.

8937-2a   8937-2b

Carolyn Rogers
DIY restorer - Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

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