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Old 01-06-2011, 09:52 AM   #1
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Using Gold Leaf on Door Hardware


Hi Everyone:

I have been working on installing some very old (approx 100 years) pocket doors which I have refinished. It has been a long an interesting project that has involved moving duct work, knocking out and reframing a wall, and refinishing the doors themselves. I am in the home stretch and now have to find some door hardware for something that is decidedly non-standard.

I've finally found some hardware that looks like a good fit, but there's one problem -- the face plates are a bronze finish, while everything else is brass. Any ideas on how to re-finish, plate, or otherwise refinish these pieces to appear brass. I know it's a bit of a shame to refinish otherwise perfectly good pieces or hardware, but I simply can't find anything else that is a good fit, and they sort of stick out unless I do something.

Here's what I am working with:



I have a few ideas:
  • Gold Leaf - Using gold leaf (color is close enough to brass and some gold leaf is actually brass alloys). Easy and cheap but I am concerned it won't hold up to repeated use. Could coating with a clear polyurethane or something similar make it durable enough?
  • Spray paint - probably durable enough or at least more durable than gold leaf alone, but how will it look? I have used some metal sprays in the past with decent results, and the pieces are small enough (10" x 3") that getting a uniform appearance should be fairly easy.
  • Rub n Buff: Anyone have experience with this product? Is it durable? Again would a polyurethane coat work?
  • Professional plating? I would be willing to invest in a professionals to plate the pieces, but I suspect this to be pricy and I don't know where to start. I'm also concerned that some of the decorative details will get lost.

Any one deal with similar problems?

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Old 01-06-2011, 09:57 AM   #2
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Using Gold Leaf on Door Hardware


No ideas but they are beautiful. Where did you find them?

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Old 01-06-2011, 10:02 AM   #3
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Using Gold Leaf on Door Hardware


You can take them to a re-plating shop and they would plate them brass plated for you…
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:03 AM   #4
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Using Gold Leaf on Door Hardware


Those ARE nice!

Buffing with steel wool maybe? I wouldn't paint them. Electro-plating would not be THAT expensive, even with real gold.

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Old 01-06-2011, 10:13 AM   #5
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Using Gold Leaf on Door Hardware


Quote:
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No ideas but they are beautiful. Where did you find them?
eBay. they weren't cheap but actually cheaper than some modern reproductions. Buying mortised locks for old pocket doors is a real adventure -- requires a lot of measuring and some faith.

Any idea how to start a search for a professional plating outfit?
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:19 AM   #6
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Just look in your yellow pages phone book under plating….
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:26 AM   #7
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Using Gold Leaf on Door Hardware


I've tried calling a few I have found online (directory here: http://www.finishing.com/Shops/) but so have not found anyone that will plate bronze. Standard response is "Sorry, we only deal with aluminum." Is the process that different? Will keep searching.

Last edited by CaptChaos; 01-06-2011 at 10:29 AM.
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:32 AM   #8
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Using Gold Leaf on Door Hardware


Google " electroplating brass "

Lots of info out there.

Steel wool won't work?

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Old 01-06-2011, 10:41 AM   #9
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Using Gold Leaf on Door Hardware


Found a company that I think can do the work -- asking for a quote now, will keep you posted as the cost and if they can do it.

DM -- Steel wool will simply remove the Bronze, correct? I don't think that there is brass under the bronze, just some iron. Will steel wool somehow alter the bronze plate to make it appear more like brass?
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:45 AM   #10
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Lightly steelwooling with say, 00 fine, should not remove the plating, it'll just clean it up and sort of 'antique' it (darker in the grooves the wool cannot reach.)
Those are so beautiful, I'd want to keep them as original as possible! Po)

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Old 01-11-2011, 11:27 PM   #11
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Using Gold Leaf on Door Hardware


So, the company that I found online to do the work is Polished Treasures, based out of Maryland.

http://www.polishedtreasures.com/

Their website was pretty clear. I emailed them a picture and measurements of the hardware. They quoted me a price of $45 per plate, plus I have to ship them (another $9 USPS priority, insured).

I will let you know the results when I receive the plates.
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Old 01-12-2011, 01:38 PM   #12
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Using Gold Leaf on Door Hardware


Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptChaos View Post
Found a company that I think can do the work -- asking for a quote now, will keep you posted as the cost and if they can do it.

DM -- Steel wool will simply remove the Bronze, correct? I don't think that there is brass under the bronze, just some iron. Will steel wool somehow alter the bronze plate to make it appear more like brass?
Put a magnet on it to see if it's iron.
Ron

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