Part 6–a step by step process of creating custom door hardware

Finished product– bespoke two- sided door handles for a private wine cellar

We are at the final stage and, as in any bespoke project,  it is always the details that matter the most. For this project we wanted the pieces to have an aged appearance while maintaining the fine details so we had to carefully decide what areas to darken and what areas to leave bright.  This was one of the most time consuming aspects of the process and one that could not be rushed.  We broke it down into three areas we had to deal with: the goblet; the figure and the shield.  To begin, we polished all three areas and then separately tackled each individual component:

  • Goblet – We needed to make sure that the French scripts remained visible once the aging was done.  The script was recessed but we wanted the ribbon to be darker than the rest of the goblet.  To accomplish this we first masked off the banner from the rest of the goblet and applied the darkening agent. Then, to make the script re-appear,  we painstakingly went over each letter with a fine engraving dremel that buffed off the chemical to re-expose the bright polished bronze.
  • Shield- We had almost the opposite challenge with the shield.  We wanted most of the shield to be bright but with dark lettering and filigree. We again masked off the shield and applied the darkening agent.  We applied it twice to achieve the color needed.  Once it was dry we carefully removed the color from the shield with a fine scotch brite buffing pad.
  • Figure – We repeated the process used for the goblet by applying the darkening agent and then painstakingly removing the color with a fine engraving tool.
  • Each handle was then oiled and finished with a hand-applied black wax.  This finishing part of the process took many hours but we feel the finished product was well worth it!
half way through

half way through

These handles are numbered and signed and part of a limited edition of 50. Each handle has 16lbs of bronze so now we understand the true meaning of investment casting! To view our entire collection of custom architectural hardware, please visit our site at


About martinpierceblog

Martin and Anne Pierce live in Los Angeles California with their beloved rescue dog, Iris. Martin's custom designs reflect his love of nature and include beautiful vine and fern drawer pulls, a realistic yet whimsical collection of bugs and other critters on door hardware and charming floral designs on everything from door levers to bathroom accessories. He also enjoys creating sculptural contemporary pieces that are easy to access for those with limited physical capabilities. All of Martin's designs are hand carved and cast in their Los Angeles studio where there is truly something for everyone. Please contact us with any questions or custom queries
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