If you have blacksmith taste but a Hillman Fastener budget, here’s a tip on how to make your hardware look better.
I’m working on the lid of a six-board chest for a customer today and started tweaking the hinges, which I plan to install tomorrow. These hinges are made in India and sold by Van Dyke’s Restorers for $5.50 each.
That’s the good news. The bad news is they are covered in a thick coat of black oxide. It’s so thick and loose that it will smear all over your bare wood. So my first step was to remove the oxide.
You can remove this stuff (usually) using hydrochloric acid – or you can bead-blast it or sand-blast the stuff off. I don’t have that courage or equipment. So I scrape the stuff off with a carbide Skraper and then scrub it with a gray abrasive pad and some WD-40.
About 10 minutes of scraping and rubbing shows off some of the hardware’s welds and filing, which is better looking at the black powder, which isn’t fooling anyone that it’s “patina.”
One of the chapters I’m working on for “The Furniture of Necessity” is on hardware – not only how to use fluids (safely) to alter off-the-rack hardware, but how to enhance hardware even more by filing it. After I strip the zinc off a Home Depot hinge and add some decorative filework, it’s not 100 percent butt-ugly.
Maybe 50 percent. After a couple beers.
— Christopher Schwarz