Removing paint from brass and metal hardware

Crockpot + painted metal hardware = restoration!

While stripping the door to the nursery, I took off the hinges from the door and the frame to try and clean them up a bit. Following the recurring theme of the entire house, they were slathered in paint like a kindergarten art class. No attempt whatsoever was made to avoid painting over the hinges — just brushed right over ’em, of course.

Since I was already rehanging the door and stripping it down, I decided to try and clean up these hinges as best as I could.

For that, we finally tried out this nifty trick we saw ages ago somewhere else online.

We had been on the lookout for a used thrift store crockpot to use for this. Best to get one that you’re not planning on using for food ever again. Unless you like leadcakes. Fill it up with water high enough to cover over whatever you’re trying to strip clean. Turn it on low for 7-8 hours and put some dish soap in the water while laying the hinges or other hardware inside.

(Turns out that it works well doing “high” for just a few hours as well — we were in a hurry to get this done last weekend.)

The heat and the soap softens up the paint, and when you pick them out of the crockpot with tongs, you can literally just slide the paint right off. Having a somewhat rigid brush (but not metal or abrasive) helps get the paint off and scour it a little bit out of the crevices and cracks if there are any.

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This was the first time that we’d actually tried this, and it worked pretty well. Highly recommend! After this picture below was taken, Rachel used Brasso to polish them up a little bit, though I’m going to go at them with the Dremel and some buffing wheels and polish to see if I can’t clean them up a little bit more.

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In any case, they’ll look a lot better than they did before. Oh, and the paint over the hinges was the least of the terrible DIY on the door hanging last time it went up. If you remember, I think that this door may have been kicked off the hinges at some point and then rehung.

Apparently, after that happened, one of the previous owners just went down to the basement and grabbed whatever screws (and nails!) he could find to hang the door again. There’s a drywall screw, a 3″ screw with a ginormous head that obviously didn’t go flush into the recessed hole in the hinge, and two nails! Brilliant!

Varied screws for hanging a door.

I guess when your screws don’t match, painting over everything is one way to try and make sure no one notices, right?

The door has been stripped bare though I’ve since primed it after getting it sanded completely smooth and ready to go. It’ll probably get painted Monday night and then it’ll go back up on the frame.

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