Paint removal from door hardware

Our house came with beautiful door hardware when we bought it back in 2009. Almost all of it was solid copper.

But we had no clue, because it all was covered with multiple layers of paint. So much so that some of the finer ornamentations were no longer visible. That turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because the scavengers that extracted the copper pipes before we bought the building didn’t know either. They walked right by the real treasures that were hiding in plain sight.

Needless to say, once we discovered what we had, we were eager to restore and reuse the hardware, just like we did with the original wood trim and doors. But what method to use?

While walking through the building with another building nerd (can’t remember who it was), he suggested the crock pot method:

Take an old crock pot that you won’t use any longer for cooking. Place your hardware in the pot and cover it with water.

Then let it simmer for several hours, until the paint is nice and tender and flakes right off!

I know! Not only does it sound simple, it actually is simple. And easy! We had to do some fine cleaning with small wire brushes and some polishing, but the crock pot did all the heavy lifting. I can’t emphasize enough what a time saver this method was. And no nasty chemicals involved!

Used crock pots are often available for a very low price at thrift stores. Buyer beware – be sure to search for the model number online to see if the one you’re considering has been recalled.

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About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

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