top of page


Unlacquered Brass - Can I do it myself?

One of our most requested finishes is unlacquered brass. We already detailed what unlacquered brass is here in this previous post, but now we want to discuss the processes and what you should and should not try yourself.

For many decades now, bright brass finishes have come with a clear coat to protect the brass from tarnishing. Relatively recently, however, homeowners have decided to forego the forever bright finish in favor of the more antique tarnish or patina. It adds character to new and old homes alike as it ages over time. Many of our cabinet hardware brands now offer the option of unlacquered brass due to this new demand. Now you can experience the warm patina of natural brass and over time the hardware will darken and show wear.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I unlacquer brass myself?

You can, but know that it takes toxic solvents and a lot of soaking and scrubbing to remove the factory clear coat, and this is not for beginner DIYers. It is recommended to buy items that come from the factory unlacquered, or request that we delacquer your hardware for you.

How long does it take for the brass to patina?

When you first receive your hardware, it will be highly polished and bright. Unlacquered brass can take years to age. There are many factors that contribute to the patina process—air exposure, oils of your hands, water exposure and others.

Can I speed up the process?

We encourage you not to try and accelerate the patina on your own. We have tested some popular methods, and can tell you that doing it yourself will hinder the look dramatically. It gives a dirty look that ultimately cannot be cleaned. It will not look the same as if you let the process occur overtime.

Will each piece look the same?

Since it is a living finish, each piece will look a little different. The hardware on your silverware drawer that you use every day will look very different than a drawer you might not use as often. The variation adds warmth and interest to the design.

Can I polish unlacquered brass?

Yes, if you like it shiny- polishing the unlacquered brass will restore it back to its original shiny finish again!

This image shows how brass patinas in various stages over time. It is a beautiful finish, especially when allowed to develop on its own!

If you want to use unlacquered brass in your home, let us help you find the right pieces. Visit us in our showroom or call to make an appointment, and bring us your kitchen plans!


Phone: 205-510-4232

Avondale Specialty Hardware is a division of Richelieu America, which carries cabinet hardware and accessories, industrial coatings and finishing supplies, cabinet doors and drawers, convenience hardware and organizers, decorative hardware, and much more.


bottom of page