Caring for Bronze Hardware
How to Care for your Bronze Gate Hardware
This bronze hardware contains 90% copper and 10% tin. When it first leaves the mold, the hardware is copper-penny colored. Next, the pieces are patina’d dark bronze. Finally, the hardware has an exterior-grade dark bronze-colored wax applied to it that adds to its weather- and wear-resistance. Bronze ages gracefully and may change in appearance due to varying environmental conditions. The wax helps maintain the color of the hardware for the long term under most conditions.
On items like gate latches and door handles where your hand comes in contact with the material regularly, we have seen over time that the oils on your skin will slowly wear down the wax where the skin contacts the metal. On all other items where skin doesn’t come in contact with the hardware frequently, you should see dark bronze coloration for the long term.
Maintaining Your Hardware
Outdoor bronze requires a regular maintenance program, which keeps the product surfaces clean and waxed. For coastal or industrial locations, we suggest a gentle washing up to twice a year. To clean the hardware, use a mild liquid soap (for example, Dawn original blue dishwashing soap) in warm water. With a soft cloth wipe the surfaces gently. Then use fresh water to rinse the hardware, and a clean dry soft cloth to blot it dry. This will remove most surface impurities like salt or dirt. For all other areas, you can do the same washing process every year or two.
If you choose to re-wax your hardware for any reason, instructions follow below. We recommend purchasing wax at Sculpt Nouveau (choose Brown tint wax).
How Does This Hardware Hold Up to the Elements?
When submitted to a salt-water chamber test, this hardware began to patina at the 16-hour-mark, versus 10-hours for other name-brand, high end bronze products. A client recently wrote that this hardware installed on an waterfront boathouse two years ago looks slightly darker and shinier than the original, but looks otherwise exceptional.
The bottom line is: this hardware is the perfect choice for oceanfront, waterfront, and coastal installations.
Never use spray or liquid furniture polishes to clean your bronze hardware. These polishes may contain oils which could damage the original patina finish. Instead, use a microcrystalline wax.
In climates with higher humidity, coastal areas, or areas with a higher concentration of airborne pollutants, cleaning and waxing may be needed twice a year.
All bronze darkens with age, however waxing may slow the process of oxidation.
To apply the wax, you need two 1- to 2-inch paint brushes that will be used only for cleaning bronze. Do not use brushes that have been used for other purposes as chemicals may remain in the bristles and transferred to the patina finish, may cause permanent discoloration.
Start by applying a protective circle of tape around the metal ferrules that hold the bristles in the brushes you are using. This will help prevent scratching of the surface when applying the wax and when dusting.
Wipe bronze free of-any dust and fingerprints using a clean, dry, cotton cloth. Use one of the brushes to remove dust from small crevices or hard to reach places.
Use “Renaissance” wax, or other “microcrystalline” waxes, because they are inert and will not yellow over time. Apply to the second brush, with three or four, back and forth, sweeping strokes. Do not dab the brush in the wax. This could cause an abundance of wax to be applied to the bronze that could actually harm the patina surface. Dab the brush on the lid of the wax can to remove any excess wax. Lightly apply a super thin coat of wax to the surface of the bronze using gentle sweeping motions. Apply more wax to the brush as described, working it down into crevices.
Caution – Using too much wax may remove previous layers of wax. It is very important not to apply too much wax or work it into the surface too vigorously. Cover the entire surface with wax and let it dry according to the directions on the container.
Separate Your Brushes
Keep your brushes separate in labeled bags, free from contaminants, for future use. Use a clean, dry, cotton cloth to gently rub, in a circular motion, the dried wax from the bronze surface until you achieve the desired sheen. To achieve a dull finish, do not rub the surface after waxing.
To achieve a better protective coating, you may want to re-apply a second coat using the same technique.