Why drawer pulls made of brass are far superior to those made of other materials
Brass hardware is a timeless choice for furniture and cabinetry. It has stood the test of time, being used for drawer pulls, handles and cabinet knobs for centuries. It provides unmatched quality in it’s durability, appearance and functionality.
Brass has excellent physical characteristics. It is strong, durable, resistant to corrosion, recyclable and is antimicrobial in nature.
A metal alloy, brass is made up of approximately 60% copper, 37% zinc, and 3% other trace metals. If unlacquered, the large copper content offers a natural ability to destroy a wide variety of harmful microbes. It is naturally resistant to corrosion as brass does-not contain iron. It is strong and does not break like many other metals used in the production of drawer pulls. The malleability of this material enables it to be formed into many shapes with precise patterned designs. And last but not least, brass is recyclable.
Solid Brass means the item is brass all the way through. The difference comes in the production method. There are various techniques used in the production of brass hardware.
Cast brass is made by pouring molten brass in a mold. Chippendale handles, a favorite during the 18th century, were often made using this technique.
Stamped brass is created and shaped by pressing sheet brass with dies. This manufacturing method became popular in the early 1800’s where it was used to make Hepplewhite drawer pulls and Sheraton knobs.
The industrial revolution coincided with the Victorian era bringing about the mass production of hardware. Inexpensive manufacturing techniques were used. Press-casting brass and stamping thin brass into embossed patterns were popular. This mas produced hardware did-not have the detail or quality that earlier hardware had.
Forging presses hot brass between die, producing a very uniform appearance. Similar production as extruded brass.
Extruded brass is made with a machining process where hot brass is pressed through dies into custom shades. It is then machined into shape. Brass extrusions are often used to make hinges.
The Color of Brass
The appearance of brass varies depending upon the finish. It can be left to age naturally, polished to a high shine, lacquered to maintain a certain color, darkened to look old or plated, by a manufacturer, with a different metal to provide a totally different look. Changing most finishes is not complicated and relatively easy to accomplish. Ultimately the color or natural patina should reflect the character of the piece of furniture or cabinet it is being used on.
The Longevity of Brass
Brass is a long standing option for drawer pulls and knobs. It has been favored in the production of furniture handles knobs for the last three centuries. When looking at the hardware on historical furniture it’s easy to see why brass still remains the #1 choice!