Thursday, January 15, 2015

Easy Way to Strip/Clean Metal

So I thought that all of my window hardware was oil rubbed bronze.  While restoring my windows, I took all of the handles and latches off  so I could strip, sand, patch and paint everything.  When contemplating re-installing them, I found that the hardware felt really gummy and the latches weren't moving freely.  

Not really wanting to scrub 50 pieces of window hardware, I remembered a trick that I had heard about for stripping paint from metal without using any chemicals.   Just fetch your crock-pot (no, that's not a typo) fill it up with water and chuck your window hardware (or any piece of metal that you want cleaned or stripped) and let it cook away.  I let my window hardware "cook" for 4 hours, but if it is coated with many layers of paint, I would go 6-8 hours.

After pulling the window hardware from the crock-pot, I noticed that it had changed color.  Turns out it's brass and the "bronzing" is just years and years of grime and dirt coating everything.  The hot water had lifted away a lot of the gunk and loosened the rest.  All I did was take an SOS pad and buff off the remaining gunk.  Boom!  I've got antiqued brass window hardware (antiqued brass is all the rage right now in the decor world, don't ya know?).

The screws weren't looking as good as I wanted them to, so I hit them with a little bit of Brasso and they came a little bit cleaner.  I could have gotten more of the tarnish off of everything, but I wasn't going go the 90's brass look.  There are some imperfections and some of the brass plating is missing from a few of the more heavily used handles.  That's okay - I still want the hardware to look old.


I hope that you find this trick helpful in your future projects!



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