Guys. Confession time: I think stripping paint off antique hardware is fun. It also comes with the added bonus of being one of the easiest ways to sponge every last bit of character out of your home – you know character, that thing that we all want our old homes and apartments to have? Forget fancy moldings and un-painted wood work. There’s lots of it hiding in all those badly painted and chipped door knobs, hinges, window pulls, (and locks) and other painted metal objects you might be finding all around yer house. This is one of the most oddly satisfying quick home improvements you can do if you’re living in an old space.
So come get weird with me, and try stripping the paint off those suckers just to see how it feels. I swear, you’re gonna like it.
A long time ago I stripped our bedroom door hardware
, I’ve actually stripped everything in the house minus the stuff in the kids bedroom. I’ve also stripped all the hardware on the kitchen cabinets
and now I’m moving on to the hinges in our master bedroom. The hardest part of this whole project might be getting the hardware removed from whatever sort of thing its attached to. Imma give you some tips to make this as simple as possible. Since I’m removing hinges it only seems right that I mention that you’ll want to take remove the pin from the hinge first, then remove the door before actually removing the hardware from the door. Also since I’m giving out tips here’s another one. Buy a husky reversible screwdriver
. I love these things, I have five of them stashed all over my house.
Remove Hardware Some More
The only way you’re going to get those old flat head screws out is if you use direct firm pressure while slowly turning the screw. If you don’t chances are you’re gonna strip that screw. Do not use your drill or power driver, do it by hand. If you feel the screw head begin to strip, stop and try using a different size screwdriver head. If you have gunky painted over screws, make sure to clean them out with a utility knife before attempting to remove them. You heard it here first.
Remove Hardware Some More & More
Got your screws out? Now you’re ready to score around the hardware with a utility knife as to not damage surrounding paint.
Making Hardware Stew
Place the hardware in a crockpot or pot on the stove (including screws) or on a low heat on a stove top. I use an old canning pot that I picked up at the hardware store for a couple bucks. It is exclusively my paint-strippin-pot. Cover the hardware with water and add a couple teaspoons of liquid soap or laundry detergent to the mix.
P.S. don’t use a pot you might ever want to cook in again.
Cleaning off the Paint
Once the hardware has has a few hours to cook, remove it carefully from the pot (its hot so use gloves). Then gently scrape off the remaining paint with a nylon brush or the soft side of a sponge. I usually bathe my hardware twice because there are usually multiple layers of paint and stubborn stuck on spots.
Polish or Paint
If you hardware comes out clean polish it with beeswax to protect the surface, reapply yearly. I did this with my door hardware and it looks tyte, but my door hinges were a little worse for wear. The brass was scratched so I decided to give it a spritz of flat black spray paint. My favorite brand is the Rust-o-leum paint and primer in one
. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the real-deal reproduction oil rubbed bronze finish, verses the spray paint over rutty, scratched brash finish. You can’t even tell, bros.
Also, there are chemicals that you can bathe your brass or bronze hardware in to give it that dark patina. They sell it over at House of Antique Hardware it will probably do the job even better, I however am impatient and I like the way spray paint smells.
psst, I had to buy a set of reproduction hardware. The closet door hinges had been replaced with modern hinges at some point. They’re the only hinges in the house that don’t match, and they were installed with phillips screws, two dead give aways that they were not the O-ridge. I ordered up some reproductions from House of Antiques Hardware. Have you visited that site yet? I love it there.
Step 6 and a half:
Touch Up Paint
If you want to be real anal like me, you would go to your basement, shed or garage, dig out your can of trim paint and touch that shit up right about now. It probably needs it! You don’t want to spend all that time making your hardware look amazing and leave your trim hanging.
Install your purty new hardware and enjoy all that GD character.