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topic 9236

How do I age polished brass?


I want to "age" some polished brass electric candle holders with lead crystal globes. How do I age the polished brass?

Thank you.

Sara Muse
- Perry, Georgia


I have this old Brass hanging oil lamp, (early 1900's), that is missing two brass components. I can buy both of these parts, but the new parts are "new and shiny". How can I age them to look like the rest of the old lamp? I do not want to polish the old lamp, I like the old soft look. Thanks for you time.

Rick Schuler
- Harbor City, California


Polished brass has a factory finish on it to keep it shiny. First remove the finish with a fine abrasive like four-0 0000 steel wool [linked by editor to product info at Rockler] or metal sandpaper. I soaked my brass hinges first in a paint stripper to soften the finish first. I'm not sure how much effect this had.

Once the finish is off, you can brush on some black or copper colored patina solution (Jax Patina [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]) that is used to discolor a grey lead color the shiny, silvery new solder that is used to hold the glass pieces together. This puts an almost instant (less than 5 seconds) black patina on the brass. A copper colored patina is also sold but I haven't tried that. A bottle of patina is only a couple dollars or so.

Jerry M Kyle
- Columbia, Missouri


Aging or stripping polished brass shower surrounds. I want to change the color of my polished brass shower surround so that it will work with my bronze fixtures. What is the best and most effective way to accomplish this and where can I purchase the supplies?

Pam Hubbard
Homeowner - Collierville, Tennessee

February 5, 2008

Instead of buying some solution, try suspending your brass ABOVE vinegar.
I had to "age" some brass screws last week to match some great old hooks I was putting up in a redwood cabin. Some internet advice had suggested vinegar, so I soaked my new screws in some balsamic I had. The next morning, the only screw that was tarnished was the part of the one 3" screw that was just above the vinegar. So, I suspended the screws just above the vinegar in a sieve and the next morning they were all perfectly tarnished. Of course, these screws are unpolished. With polished brass, you'll have to remove that first. Good luck.

Barbara Ryersen
- Santa Rosa, California

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