No Vintage Hardware? No Problem.

vintage hardware

So many times when I find furniture it is missing all or most of its hardware.  I am a hardware salvager extraordinaire.  No kidding.  I keep screwdrivers (Phillips & flathead) and an electric screwdriver in my van at all times along with a box of ziplock just in case.  If I find old hardware when I am out junkin' I stop.  If I cannot unscrew it I have been known to bring all of the drawers with me.  I feel so strongly about saving salvaged hardware that I even offer it to you for sale in my project shop booth at Plaza Antiques & Collectibles Mall in Lincoln Park, MI.

I just love old hardware.  But sometimes you just cannot find what you need.  The last dresser that I was working on I ran into this problem.  It was a huge french provincial dresser with twelve drawers and no hardware at all.  I decided to do different hardware on the center drawers which only had one hole, but that meant I still had eight-drawers that needed handles.  Oh, and did I mention that the holes were 3.5" apart?  Normally the hole size is just a measurement, but as I started my search for vintage hardware I quickly learned from multiple websites that 3.5" from the center is the most difficult to find.  Great.

To measure for hardware measure from the center of each hole. I always start from the one-inch mark on my measuring tape to ensure accuracy.[/caption]

Then I remembered some hardware that I found a few days ago.  I had put it in my garage and had not really looked at it.  I found the pieces fairly easily and discovered that they would fit, but I only had six, not eight.  I even did a photoshoot of the finished piece in the hardware.  I was positive that I would be able to locate two more pulls.



My salvaged hardware. Pretty but not enough for the whole piece.

How hard could it be to find two more pulls?  I checked online.  I checked the antique mall. I even checked with my fellow dealers.  No luck.

One of the hardest things for a furniture artist is having a large piece of furniture almost done.  The dresser was finished except the hardware. I couldn't even photograph it, yet.  So close.

I decided to look for new hardware. Maybe I could make it work.  The only hardware I found that would fit was from Home Depot.  The color selection was less than perfect.  It was a 1980's gold. When the pulls arrived I tried them on the furniture and it looked terrible.  Trying to paint them was the only answer.  I used the same DIY Paint in Crinoline that I used on the rest of the piece.  One of the best things about DIY Paint is that you can pretty much paint over anything without prep.  You can paint it on the hardware.  Do you want to find out what else DIY Paint can do and why I love it so much check out my blog post, Why I Love DIY Paint?

The first coat over metal is messy, but the second will cover great.  Be patient.  Paint with light strokes.  Don't press down too hard or you will remove paint. After the paint dried I used a damp rag to distress the paint and show a little of the metal underneath.  Wet distressing mimics the look of old hardware that had been painted and worn away.  Finally, I finished the hardware with a coat of DIY Paint Clear Wax and buffed it to a shine.  You can use a rag or a buffing brush to polish the wax, but just don't skip this step.  Buffed wax is extra pretty.

New hardware painted with Crinoline from DIY Paint and wet distressed to show the metal underneath.

Although I still prefer old hardware I am very pleased with how this turned out.  It is more important to me to save good furniture and help it find a forever home that it is to worry too much about whether the hardware is old or new.  I hope now that my piece is finished it will find its forever home soon.


Have you tried painting hardware, yet?  Maybe you should.

Happy Painting!

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