A simple and cheap way to antique screws

I found a simple and cheap way to antique the screws for the Dutch tool chest after discovering how expensive it is to purchase antique or reproduction hardware. I was able to find new-old-stock cut nails on eBay at a good price, but the screws eluded me. Whether purchasing them on eBay or from a restoration supplier like Blacksmith Bolt (an awesome resource) would have run about $20 bucks with shipping for a handful of plain steel screws.

I had read about using lemon juice, but that only works on zinc plated screws. All I could find was stainless steel.

The answer was vinegar. Just soak the screws in vinegar and the shiny stainless screws go back in time in about 6 to 8 hours. It’s important to check them regularly to keep them from turning black. You want a nice gunmetal bluish gray patina.

how to antique screws

A little vinegar is all you need to turn back he clock on stainless steel screws.

After soaking them, I rinsed them in water to stop the reaction, dried them well, then scuffed the heads with 80 grit sandpaper. Here’s the result.

how to antique screws with vinegar

The antiqued screws in place.

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