Monday, September 20, 2010

The Simple Beauty of Push Plates and Door Pulls

Push plates and door pulls are a simple alternative to standard knob door plate sets for doors that are meant to swing freely without latching. With no moving parts, their technical design is about as simple as their name implies. However, door pulls and push plates are available in an endless array of styles, materials and finishes.

Solid bronze hardware is typically created using sand casting techniques. Bronze door pulls or push plates created by sand casting have a less refined texture of similar cast brass hardware. Complimenting their somewhat rustic texture, solid bronze push and pull door plates get their rich brown and black color from the application of a patina. Patina chemically ages the bronze surface rather than plating or painting processes that add a color layer over top the metal’s surface. Because the surface of bronze push and pull plates is not protected, it has what is referred to as a living finish. A living finish continually changes over time, getting darker with exposure to the elements and lighter in areas where frequently handled.

Given that their functional design is so simple, forged iron becomes a natural choice for unique push plates and door pulls. Individual handcrafted forged iron door pulls and push plates design is limited only by the creator’s imagination and blacksmith skills. Forged iron has long been used to recreate Early American style door hardware that often did not have turning knobs with latches. Southwest style door hardware, particular swinging door pulls and push plates, are also commonly crafted from forged iron.

Brass is the metal commonly used to recreate the ornate style of antique original push plates and door pulls. Brass hardware is typically created using the same sand casting method used for bronze hardware. However, the more complex lost wax casting method is used when the casting has fine details that would be lost through the sand casting method. Regardless of how it is cast, brass can be polished smooth to a brilliant finish. However, as is common with other forms of brass door hardware, reproduction brass push plates and door pulls are available in all of today’s most popular finish options including satin and polished nickel, chrome, and faux oil rubbed bronze.

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