raw unlacquered brass is back what you need to know when that box arrives

RAW BRASS IS BACK, BUT WHAT THE HECK! What you need to know when that box arrives…


This is the first of a two-part post – there’s simply too much brass for one siting.

Last night I received a distressed email from an adorable client – her long awaited, custom ordered bathroom fittings had finally arrived from the manufacturer, and she had just opened the boxes. But…


This client is renovating the most charming Tudor style house; it’s simply delightful. All the metal fittings – chandeliers, wall sconces, kitchen fittings, accessories, and cabinet hardware – were meticulously sourced, measured, matched and put together. Everything precisely in a dull, antique brass.

antique brass lantern visual comfort


Except for the finishes in the bathroom, which, by the way, has a beautiful claw-foot bathtub. Here we went for raw, un-lacquered brass. You know – that beautiful, unpretentious brass with a rich, layered patina you still find in old ranch houses? Dulled by age, and naturally buffed from regular touch. It’s packed with character.

characterful raw un-lacquered brass in use


But the fixtures that arrived were all bright and shiny in their boxes. She mailed immediately – it doesn’t go at all with any of the other brass fittings we’ve selected! Renovations are in full swing, what are we going to do?

I’d say we step away from the boxes and go pour ourselves something – can be green tea, or G&T – ‘cause we’re talking about un-lacquered, raw brass here. It’s gonna take a while.

You see if you want that faded look, there’s a secret to un-lacquered brass.


Un-lacquered brass is raw brass that is purposefully left un-sealed to allow for natural oxidation to take place. As the metal ages, it darkens and develops that distinct patina and beautiful character – exactly the thing we’re after here. But it takes time.

A long time. Could be two years if you just let it go its natural course!

un-lacquered raw brass from shiny to dull


But before you pour yourself another drink – I also have some good news. You can safely and easily speed up the natural aging process and encourage the brass to tarnish almost instantly. There’s a wonderful brass & bronze aging solution available specifically designed for this, or you can just applying vinegar and salt water, let it stand for a bit, then wipe. Voila – instant aging. I mean, how often can you say that with a smile?

For those who want that classic, timeless aged look of raw brass, remember this:

When un-lacquered brass leaves the factory, it’s highly polished. Super duper, it-hurts-your-eyes shiny.

This might NOT be what you expected. And if you are in the last stages of your renovation, and you’re expecting dull brass, but what you get is super shiny brass – it’s understandable that you’d want to freak out. I would too if I was the one opening those boxes.

person freaking(source)

But at least now you know exactly what to expect, and you know that there is help.

I know that you will be very happy with your beautiful, raw brass.

Cheers to you!




METALS ARE MEANT TO BE MIXED – HOW TO GET IT RIGHT  Part II – Metal Finishes (Coming soon)


Raw un-lacquered brass is back what you need to know

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