Now that the lid and the base of the chest were refinished and looking great it was time to turn to the hardware. The client wanted to keep the existing side handles, but replace the front draw catches.
The brass side handles were in pretty good shape. Some elbow grease and some steel wool cleaned them up nicely and did not affect their aged appearance which the client was wanting to maintain.
The brass draw catches were however beat beyond repair and had to be replaced. A dilemma ensued as the only replacement draw catches that I could find were bright, shiny and new looking. I knew of a way to age brass, but it involved the use of ammonia. Typically I don’t like using harsh chemicals. Their unpleasant and they are dangerous in many cases.
To the internet I went in research and I found that by soaking the brass in a solution of vinegar and salt, followed by a 20-30 minute run in the oven at the highest setting (mine goes to 450 F) accelerates the natural corrosion process. A little steel wood to clean off the crystalized salt and a cold water bath halts the process. Et voila! Aged brass!
Now there is one thing that was added to the chest at the client’s request. A bronze Victorian handle. Normally I would say that all the hardware should be of the same material, but in this case, the aged brass complements it and after mounting it front and center on the lid, I must say it looks splendid!
Shortly after attaching all of the hardware, I delivered it to my client and she was very pleased with the outcome. She also chose the perfect place for it to be displayed. In a stairwell landing that has a window above it and it can be admired from almost any direction. Check the below for the pictures of the chest in its new home. Thanks to my client for allowing me to write about this project. It was an absolute honour to return it to a new level of glory!