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I ordered some Eastlake drawer pulls for an 1890s dresser that I am refinishing. What I thought I was ordering based on the web site was an antique looking drawer pull as in the smaller picture. What I got was very shiny new looking drawer pulls (larger picture) that I am not pleased with.

Does anyone know how to make them look antique?

Thanks.

Gary
 

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Rick Mosher
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You don't say if they have finish on them or what they are made of. If they are finished and brass you can strip off the finish (make sure you get it all off) and soak them in liver of sulfur or Sulfurated Potash which will give them an overall dark (almost black) patina. Next you scotch brite or steel wool the patina off the higher level surfaces until you get the look you like and then apply a clear coat of metal lacquer.

If you would like a simpler method (or if they aren't brass) you could scuff them with a scotch brite pad, apply an oil based black glaze over everything and then wipe it off the high spots. Spray a clear coat of metal lacquer to seal everything in.
 

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Soak them in lacquer thinner to remove any protective coatings. And dry them off.

Mix a few tablespoons of a table salt in a cup of hot water.

Put about half an inch of household ammonia in the bottom of an old coffee can or other container you can seal and heat.

Suspend your brass with a piece of wire so you can suspend it in the ammonia fumes in the container.

Dip the brass in the salt water and then suspend it in the ammonia fumes for a few minutes. Swap ends on the suspension wire so the other end of the brass is down and repeat the salt dip and fuming.

Keep repeating the dip and fume cycle until your brass has the patina you want.

Once it is fumed you may want to strategically polish the brass to simulate the wear polish caused by years of use.
 

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I bet the company that sold you the hardware sells a brass darkening solution. Any place I order hardware does. More than likely the hardware doesn't have a brass lacquer on it and could be treated right out of the package. Most of the time reproductione hardware is darkened so there is no finish on it. Anyway if it is lacquered you will find out pretty quick as the solution will do nothing.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You don't say if they have finish on them or what they are made of. If they are finished and brass you can strip off the finish (make sure you get it all off) and soak them in liver of sulfur or Sulfurated Potash which will give them an overall dark (almost black) patina. Next you scotch brite or steel wool the patina off the higher level surfaces until you get the look you like and then apply a clear coat of metal lacquer.

If you would like a simpler method (or if they aren't brass) you could scuff them with a scotch brite pad, apply an oil based black glaze over everything and then wipe it off the high spots. Spray a clear coat of metal lacquer to seal everything in.
Rick I cannot tell if these are brass or not. If so it's the thinnest brass on the planet. I am not familiar with either liver of sulfer or sulforated potash and would have to order some if I try this.

Thank you for the detailed feedback.

Gary
 

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Soak them in lacquer thinner to remove any protective coatings. And dry them off.

Mix a few tablespoons of a table salt in a cup of hot water.

Put about half an inch of household ammonia in the bottom of an old coffee can or other container you can seal and heat.

Suspend your brass with a piece of wire so you can suspend it in the ammonia fumes in the container.

Dip the brass in the salt water and then suspend it in the ammonia fumes for a few minutes. Swap ends on the suspension wire so the other end of the brass is down and repeat the salt dip and fuming.

Keep repeating the dip and fume cycle until your brass has the patina you want.

Once it is fumed you may want to strategically polish the brass to simulate the wear polish caused by years of use.

Wow very detailed feedback. Thank you. This is perhaps more complex that I would have expected.

Gary
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Maybe the finish they sent you was not the one you ordered. If so, maybe you can save yourself a headache, and just exchange it.










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Cabinetman the web site picture and what I received were very different. I will never buy from them again.

Gary
 

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I bet the company that sold you the hardware sells a brass darkening solution. Any place I order hardware does. More than likely the hardware doesn't have a brass lacquer on it and could be treated right out of the package. Most of the time reproductione hardware is darkened so there is no finish on it. Anyway if it is lacquered you will find out pretty quick as the solution will do nothing.
Thanks Steve. I will check the website but am more likely to return these drawer pulls. Another lesson learned.

Gary
 

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Thanks Steve. I will check the website but am more likely to return these drawer pulls. Another lesson learned.

Gary
Gary, it's not difficult to darken the brass. You just submerge the hardware in the solution and it slowly turns color in about a minute or so. When it gets to the color you want remove it an rinse it off with water. Sometimes it looks nicer to let them get a little dark and then lightly buff them with 0000 steel wood. The reproduction hardware is just done that way because people have different opinions of how dark they should be. Also a person have a chest of drawers that has handles and knobs and are missing only the knobs. That way a person can buy new shiny knobs and darken them to match the color of the handles.
 

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If it is brass with no coating of any kind , it can be darkened up by placing it in an oven preheated to 450' for a 15 - 20 -30 or so minutes , until it is the colour /'age' you desire .

Take into consideration the thickness /gauge/weight of the metal .
 

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Gary, it's not difficult to darken the brass. You just submerge the hardware in the solution and it slowly turns color in about a minute or so. When it gets to the color you want remove it an rinse it off with water. Sometimes it looks nicer to let them get a little dark and then lightly buff them with 0000 steel wood. The reproduction hardware is just done that way because people have different opinions of how dark they should be. Also a person have a chest of drawers that has handles and knobs and are missing only the knobs. That way a person can buy new shiny knobs and darken them to match the color of the handles.
Steve I understand your comments about why different people may want different levels of darkness. But the more I look at these drawer pulls the tackier they look. They are almost tin foil thin and will detract from a 100+ year old antique.

Gary
 

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