You’re probably familiar with brass hardware, but did you know that unlacquered brass is a finish option? Unlacquered hardware is essentially brass that has had its protective coating stripped. This results in a living finish that changes over time. De-lacquering hardware is done by submerging the hardware in a stripper that removes the lacquer and exposes the raw brass. As the brass ages, it develops a natural warm patina. Your hardware won’t rust or go bad and will last a lifetime.
Lacquered Brass Unlacquered brass
No unlacquered brass piece will look exactly like another due to the living finish - some door knobs may be used more often than others, allowing the patina to develop faster. If you want hardware that has no variations, unlacquered brass may not be for you. The aging process can result in an uneven finish, and the piece will not look exactly like other unlacquered brass hardware in your home. But the uniqueness is part of its appeal for many homeowners. Unlacquered brass hardware requires minimal maintenance and can be cleaned with a brass polish. Over time, the unlacquered brass dulls down - some like the look, while others prefer a shinier finish, which you can bring back with polish.
Unlacquered hardware typically has been used predominantly in traditional homes but is now making its way into more contemporary-style homes. It is possible to de-lacquer brass hardware yourself; however, before you consider taking on this DIY project, know that you may have better results having a professional do it, especially if you’re working with a lockset that has multiple moving parts. Having the manufacturer or a professional do the de-lacquering for you ensures your hardware won’t be compromised during the process.
Baldwin, Emtek, and various other custom lines offer unlacquered hardware. Not all manufacturers carry unlacquered hardware, and some offer an unlacquered finish only by special order.
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