This section is from the book "Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry, And Building", by James C. et al. Also available from Amazon: Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry And Building.
It is necessary that hardware should have some special finish; and, as in the case of wood or marble or any other fine material, the object of the better finishes is to bring out and intensify the qualities of the material itself. Cheap hardware is generally japanned so as to present a smooth, shiny black surface; this is an excellent coat for wear and for protection against rust, and is not of objection-a b 1 e appearance. Where ordinary unfinished hard -ware is used, it should be painted, varnished, or oiled at the same time the wood to which it is secured is finished. It is also well to paint the surface which presses against the wood; if this precaution is not taken, moisture may get behind, and resulting rust discolor the wood below.
Fig. 66. Swinging Flies Hung in Closet to Economize Hanging Space.
Fig. 67. Long Wardrobe Pins and Hooks.
Wrought Finish. Wrought iron, forged, is not often used except for specially designed work. When it is used, it should be finished under the hammer; that is, all the marks of the blows should be left, and no attempt made to file or smooth up the parts. The surface can be coated later with lacquer or some thin iron paint which will not obliterate the texture, in order to prevent rust; but under no circumstances should a coating in the nature of heavy lead and oil paint be used.
Cast Bronze and Cast Brass. These materials (the former being from 85 to 92 per cent copper, the balance tin and zinc; the latter from CO to 70 per cent copper, the balance zinc and lead) are the most common finishes used in good hardware. They are sold at comparatively low prices, the finish being generally in the polished natural color, protected by a colorless lacquer. There are, however, many variations from this practice - such as strong greens - the results being produced by the action of chemicals artificially applied after all mechanical work is done. Some of these effects are very striking, but not suitable unless the surroundings are such as to call for such peculiar treatment.
Bower=Barff Process. This is perhaps the most successful of finishes for interior hardware. It is applied to either cast or wrought iron, and produces an intensely dense and deep black color free from gloss, over which no protective coating is needed. It, however, is expensive - equal in cost to solid cast bronze; and moreover, it is not so tough as brass or bronze, the process tending to make the metal brittle. This finish is not suitable for outdoor work in damp climates, where rust is apt sooner or later to attack it in such a way as to disintegrate the surface. While constant protection with lacquers might prevent or check this action, it is better practice, in exterior work, to use a finish adapted thereto.
Plating. As previously stated, this form of finish is used extensively in connection with butts, to make them correspond with the genuine brass or bronze used in knobs, etc., where plating would soon be worn off. For such purpose it is appropriate and enduring; but for exterior work, plating should not be used. Silver and gold plating are employed to a limited extent, but on account of the expense they are little used except in specially designed work.