Taking Care of Hand-Forged Iron Hardware

Hand-forged iron hardware adds a strikingly beautiful period touch to doors, drawers, cabinets, and other areas of the home. In designing such handles, pulls, hinges, and other pieces, Horton Brasses employs the same process used to create 18th century iron hardware, giving each a custom look that displays the blacksmith’s hard work. All have a linseed oil and wax finish.

The care process for hand-forged iron, also called wrought iron, hardware differs from that for brass. Homeowners and those creating reproduction furniture or restoring antiques are advised to keep the following points in mind:

Polishing. To keep up the appearance, we recommend using furniture polish about once per year, or whenever the hardware starts to look dry.

Lubricating. Pintle hinges, around the time they’re polished, should additionally be lubricated with Vaseline.

Preventing Rust. In the outdoors, iron hardware is particularly prone to rusting. To prevent this, one of two approaches may be taken. Adding linseed oil every six months, for about three to four years, is recommended. Over time, the oil builds up to create long-term protection. For a less-traditional but nonetheless effective route, add bowling alley or butcher’s wax. Along with protecting the iron from the elements, the oil or wax gives the hardware an attractive patina over time.

Preventing “Bleeding”. Occurring at areas where the hardware is exposed to wood, “bleeding” can be a distraction and a flaw on an otherwise beautiful antique. To prevent this, paint the surface of the metal that comes in direct contact with the wood. Rust-reducing black paint is recommended.

Painting. With the linseed oil and wax finish, an additional powder or paint coat obscures the hardware’s unique texture. If you prefer to add a powder coated finish or paint, order hand-forged iron hardware without the original finish.

Installing. Be extremely careful as you install iron hardware onto a door or antique furniture; common installation processes, such as employing an electric drill, can dent the hardware’s surface, which may lead to rusting down the road. As you install the piece, make sure to manually add the screw once the head approaches the hardware’s surface. Wax the hardware right after it has been fully installed.