1-Day Project

Boiling Hardware

Our world is covered in (undesirable) paint: woodwork, walls and hardware. Sometimes it seems that all we do is remove paint –  and yet, we haven’t made a dent!

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Egg and Dart patterned door knob.

Back plates with tape residue

Back plates with tape residue

Intricate (and rusty) door set

Intricate (and rusty) door set

The door knobs and plates we picked up on our trip to the Historic Albany Foundation’s Parts Warehouse were no exception. Luckily, removing paint and grime from hardware is actually pretty easy. It just requires water, baking soda and a little time. Using a stainless steel pot (once you use it for this,  you can’t use it for food anymore, so make sure it’s marked accordingly).

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Boil up water with  baking soda. How much baking soda, you ask? Uh… a bunch? Some? I’d say  pretend you’re boiling pasta and add about 4 or 5 times more baking soda than you’d add salt (you can also substitute the baking soda for dish soap, just be careful not to let it boil over, as things will get very sudsy). Once the water comes to a boil, toss in your hardware. You’ll see the gunk come off in the foam.

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Let it boil for a little while, then check to see how your door knobs are doing.

IMG_9842Some of the items may need a bit of scrubbing. The paint will be soft and bubbly and will pretty much wipe off. It goes without saying that they will be very hot, so curb your wild enthusiasm as you grab the searing metal to admire your handy work.

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Back plates free of paint, but still looking a little sad

Once your hardware is free of paint, you may find that it’s still looking a bit shabby. Sometimes items get rusty after their bicarbonate bath, but it’s all temporary – because you’ll buff the living daylights out of it.

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If it’s good for rims and candle stick holders, it sure is good enough for our door knobs

Some metal polish, a little steel wool and an old T-shirt will get you this:

Before elbow grease and after

Before elbow grease and after

After it was all said and done, our door hardware looked like this:

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IKEA Table x The Elements

Our outdoor Ikea table was looking a little rough after a couple of years out in the elements. The sun/rain/heat/squirrels were definitely getting the best of it. We decided this was an easy enough thing to do over the course of one Sunday afternoon  – and while we frequently grossly mis-calculate how long something will take to finish, this one was spot on.

Table Before
We sanded whatever was left of the original finish to expose the wood, finishing it off with a super fine grit paper.

Table sanded

After wiping off the dust and giving the table a good cleaning, we followed up with about 4 coats of Tung Oil (24 hours between applications). This photo was taken after the first application.

Table after

I like how the oil brought out the natural variation of the wood, previously hidden by whatever tinted finish Ikea uses.  This is our first attempt at using Tung Oil outside but I figured since water just beads off, it would be a good choice. It has worked OK thus far, but I find myself re-applying it in spots here and there.  On the plus side, it’s absolutely non toxic and you don’t have to worry about fumes or residue.

A note on Tung Oil: I used pure Tung Oil, not the stuff from the hardware store (which usually has other chemicals added to it). The Milk Paint Company stuff is a bit hard to find in a store (the place where I bought mine has since closed). You can order it online or Google your way to a local store that may sell it.