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Antique Door Hardware

March 26, 2012

I stopped back by Materials Unlimited with the excuse of returning the bungee cord which strapped the antique doors for the basement renovation into my car – but with the intent to spend money…hehehe.

I did need door hardware after all….which is something to think about if you decide to buy salvaged doors like we did.

New door hardware would look silly on an antique door, right? I think so. You can see from the depressions in the wood that the doors had large rectangular back plates that covered the knob and key hole. I sanded the doors down quite a bit and still the depression remains, so I will be going with a rectangular back plate.

Who knows what the knobs looked like. Brass or glass? Since the original style was up in the air, I got to pick. I like all things shiny and faceted ::wink::wink:: so I decided to go with antique glass knobs.  Materials unlimited had quite the selection, but I am limited by price so I went with these:

I choose black strike plates that will work with the mortise lock/latch in each door. I needed strike plates with two openings just incase I ever find a key that works with the locks.

The screws are atrocious, I know.

What is a mortise lock/latch?

Mortise locks are locking latch mechanisms that require a rectangular hole in the door edge for installation.

Mortise latches have the same shape, but only a latch function. They don’t lock. In old homes, some interior doors will have only mortise latches installed. –

As far as back plates the most affordable rectangular plates were these, which were originally plated in copper with a varnish top coat.

The process of covering the steel with copper is called electroplating.

Electroplating, the process of coating a metal object with a thin layer of another metal by means of electrolysis. The electroplated coating is usually no more than .002 inch (.05 mm) thick. Electro-forming is a similar process except that the thin layer is applied to a nonmetal that is later destroyed. – How Stuff Works

Since the copper plating is so thin, any attempt to remove the varnish (dark grey areas) would most likely remove the copper too. I tried to polish the plates but they didn’t look much better.  Thus the dilemma was born.

Do I leave them the way they are, part copper and part old varnish?

Do I just give-up and sand/prep them for paint and go with a black enamel to match the hinges and strike plates?

The rest of the door hardware in the house is oxidized brass and now looks black. I like the look of the black hardware, and it would match the rest of the house.


House door hardware

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Jill permalink
    April 1, 2012 9:51 PM

    SO CUTE!!! I love the antiqued look of it! Thanks so much for sharing at Thursday’s Temptation.

  2. 1house1couple permalink
    March 29, 2012 1:52 AM

    We had a doorknob just like that glass one in our house, but it was original to the house… and we took it and the door off and put up new doors where the antique doors were. I wasn’t up for the challenge of restoring the antique doors at that point in my life…

    cool choices…

    and I have no idea what you should do about that copper varnished plate. I hope you come to a solution that’s right for you and your personal desires 🙂


    • March 29, 2012 10:13 AM

      Lisha! Tisk tisk on removing those doors 🙂 I hope you put them in the basement or attic for a future home owner. I can understand if you’re not up to the task – which would be HUGE if you had to redo all the doors in your house that you opted to replace them, as long as you saved them for another home owner crazy enough to do it – some one like me, haha

  3. Ashley permalink
    March 26, 2012 6:28 PM

    I say paint ’em black!

  4. March 26, 2012 5:56 PM

    Hanging a door is TOUGH! We just rebuilt one of our frames from scratch and it was not fun at all. I played handy assistant and Andy did all the hard stuff. Lucky all we had to do was go in the basement and find the correct door… we have a room full of them!

    • March 26, 2012 6:13 PM

      I believe you. I’m glad we didn’t do it. Geoff is Irish and can get quite a temper when projects become frustrating 🙂


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