If you can’t find the right hardware, try refreshing vintage hard with this easy tutorial for how to rub ‘n buff hardware – it’s easy!
We had a new furnace installed yesterday and today a giant boom truck is arriving with an eyesore of a propane tank. After a year of outrageous heating bills, we’re finally converting from electric forced air to propane. Our new propane supplier made a poor first impression by offering to dig the 25 foot trench required, and then, once our account was created and things were rolling along, reneged. Lovely. Tasked with digging our own 16 inch deep trench, I decided I best look busy on other projects (I have a slipped disk, but I sure hauled ass hauling wood despite it, so it’s perfectly excusable that I wriggled out of this job). While Hubby worked his magic with a spade, I was ridiculously productive. It’s amazing how much work I can accomplish when I’m avoiding other, even less desirable tasks. Among the many jobs and projects checked off my summer (ahem) to-do list, I finally got my rub ‘n buff on! I’ve been wanting to try this stuff for so long, but it’s not easy to come by here (I had to order it from Amazon).
Hubs and I built some awesome plywood magazine files and we needed hardware. I couldn’t find anything I liked that wasn’t $15 a knob (agate pulls, I’m looking at you). On a whim, I checked out my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore and found two viable options. I loved the circles but, alas, there were only four and I needed five. A little more rummaging, however, and I produced two smaller circles and decided that I could mix up the sizes. Once I got them home, I realize they were made in Austria (you know I’m such a snob about European-made things), so that made me smile. The colours weren’t right, but not to worry! I was able to rub ‘n buff hardware and give it a fresh and modern look. Here’s the before:
I tried the Silver Leaf rub ‘n buff, hoping for a bright brushed silver finish. The rub ‘n buff is strange, strange stuff. It goes on smoothly and a little really does go a long way. It does provide a more natural-looking, less “painted” finish, but wow – is it time consuming! I toiled so long my hand started to cramp up. Each time I buffed, I rubbed a little too much off but if I waited too long it dried past the point of buffing. I think there’s a trade off, when compared to something like spray paint. This dries more quickly, but you spend more time working on it – although I’m sure with practice this could be a much quicker process.
One perk is that you can control the finish so you can avoid getting it into the threads, for example, something which can be trickier with spray paint:
In the end, although I’d classify this as super piddly work, it did create a beautiful finish that looks smooth but with the natural texture the metal already had – it lets that peek through. I’ll keep you posted on how durable the finish is. So far, I’d be inclined to use this again on a small makeover like hardware. It seems pretty foolproof.
I tried using a cloth, a brush, and my fingers (all of these applications are recommended by the manufacturer). I found that using my hands provided the best control, but then I buffed the finish was a soft cloth. The only downside to this method was that it made a total mess, which came off with soap and a few skin-dehydrating hand washing sessions. Hubby is constantly harping about donning protective eye wear, buying me a respirator, and wearing gloves – even if the product in question doesn’t have a bony hand on the label. When he caught me doing my best Tin Man impression (just covered in the stuff), he started to ramp up to a safety lecture. He started with, “should you be doing that without gloves? Doesn’t the tube say to wear gloves?”
Haha, NOPE, I informed him, “the tube says to apply with my fingers. Now get back to diggin”.
See the awesome plywood magazine files we built (with aqua interiors!) that showcase this new-to-me hardware by clicking here!