Antique door knobs, locks and hinges can certainly give your home a unique look and feel. However, anyone with an older house will tell you that maintenance is critical. Not only will these parts need to be in excellent working condition, but there comes a time when they need to be restored or preserved. With that in mind, here are a few tips and tricks to help you out.
Cleaning Antique Locks, Door Knobs, and Hinges
One of the best ways to start this process is with a good cleaning. In many cases, it is very surprising just how much gunk and grime may be removed. At the very least, this is a task which should be done each year. Begin by carefully removing the hardware in question. If this is not possible, then at least seal off the paint or finish with some masking tape (and maybe an old sheet or some other protective cloth).
The actual cleaning material used will depend on the piece itself. If it is solid brass, then use brass polish. Vinegar and baking soda can also work. If not, a little lemon juice can be applied to spots which appear to be tarnishing. Natural old wood knobs, locks, and hinges can be cleaned up with natural paint stripped and some running water along with a bit of effort.
Lubricating Antique Locks and Hinges
After the old hardware has been removed from the door itself, take this opportunity to lubricate the locks and hinges. You will want to use a good penetrating oil or graphite spray on these parts. Just be very careful not to use too much, since that might result in a buildup of extra residue.
If you are dealing with an old mortise lock, this can be careful boiled in an old saucepan. If it still needs a good cleaning or lubrication, they can be taken apart and cleaned further inside. Also, remove the paint from the latch openings to allow for free movement and let everything air dry overnight of paper towels. Try a little WD-40 and then a clear lacquer to give it a protected finish.
Don’t Forget to Clean the Antique Hinge Screws
One thing homeowners sometimes forget is to also focus on the screws used in the hardware. Remove them and have a look. A very simple and easy way to help restore their natural beauty and function is to let them soak overnight in a bit of lemon juice. Then, buff them dry and put them back in. In most cases, it is better to use a traditional screw driver when replacing them in the door hinges. This will help to protect the threads much better than a power driver.
Be sure to take a look at the screw holes in the door frame as well. If it is stripped, be sure to fill the hole with some wood filler. Then, allow it to dry fully before attempting to replace the old screw.
Cleaning and restoring antique locks, door knobs, and hinges is something most homeowners can do. The process is easy and can really improve the look of an older door. Just make sure to always keep in mind what type of metal you are working with. Once you know that, the cleaning and restoring process is very easy to accomplish.