Thursday, February 28, 2013

How to Clean Brass Campaign Hardware

Hi lovely readers, Lauren here!

So I have a confession…for the last 3½ years I've been living in my house, (affectionately called “The Ranch”) I’ve worked from home every day at our dining room table.  We have a perfectly fine empty third bedroom too that we’ve always referred to as the office, yet from the beginning, it turned into more of a dumping ground for random stuff - someone please tell me they have one of these rooms in their home...I know we had one growing up!

Over the last month, I’ve finally been motivated to address this disaster area and make it a usable working space, but you obviously can't have a home office without some furniture.

Now I'm lucky in that I have a huge extended family so typically whenever someone has an old piece of furniture they want to get rid of – they usually offer it up.  One thing I scored a few summers ago was an old campaign chest from my aunt who no longer wanted it.  It had seen better days to say the least, but it was love at first site! Ever since I saw this green campaign dresser in Lonny three years ago, I became obsessed (along with a million other people I know) and knew I had to have one. 

The desk I'll be using in the office isn't large enough to hold my printer or scanner - things I use regularly, so I'll be using the chest for added storage space.

So without further ado, here's my (before) campaign chest:
As you can see the brass corner brackets had been painted over and it needed seriously TLC...
 The top of the chest:
First thing was first – taking off the hardware for cleaning. The corner brackets came off easily when pried with a flat head screwdriver and the pulls unscrewed with a Phillips head screwdriver.

Here are the pulls:

The only brass cleaner available at my grocery store was Wright's Brass Polish so I gave it a shot.
 After pouring it on, I worked it in with an old toothbrush.
When I rinsed them off, they looked better, but still seemed dull, so I decided to give the polish another go.  I put the pulls face down in a container filled with the polish and let that sit while I started tackling the painted brackets.

So how exactly do you strip old paint off of brass safely and effectively?
I didn't want to use a crazy chemical stripper so I decided to try the boiling water & baking soda method first.

It's very easy -- just put your hardware into a pot on your stove filled with one quart of water and 1/4 cup baking soda. Bring to boil and keep it going for 20 minutes.

After 15 or 20 minutes, you'll notice the paint pretty much peels off itself...
I drained the pot and was left with this...
The remaining paint easily came right off, but as you can see they desperately needed polishing too...
So into a bath of Wright's Brass Polish they went!
After about 15 minutes, I scrubbed them all again with my toothbrush, this was the finished product!
The brackets were restored to a beautiful golden hue and while the pulls still have some imperfections here and there due to age, they look so much better than before!

Here's a sneak peek of the finished product...
Next week, I'll share all the details on refinishing it!


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1 comment:

  1. Fantastic!!! Cannot wait to see the final picture, what a transformation. Make that room into a chic and awe haven.


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