Many door and lock manufacturers use cast or stamped brass – though, not all. Some companies, including Nostalgic Warehouse, Grandeur Hardware, and Viaggio Hardware use solid, forged brass for their door hardware.
What exactly is the difference between forged and cast brass?
Making forged brass is a longer, superior process than stamped or cast brass. Forging requires very large presses, some as tall as 30 feet, and specialized tooling. These presses generate up to 2 million pounds of pressure per square inch. The outcome is a solid brass product with very few imperfections. After forging, the hardware goes through several processes (see infographic below), ending in electrophoretic clear coating to prevent aging.
On the other hand, cast brass is heated until it is molten. Once the brass is molten, it is poured into a mold. This process is very similar to pouring heated, liquid Jello into a mold, and waiting for it to cool. Normally, cast products are hollow and not as durable.
Tips on identifying cast brass vs. forged brass hardware
If you have never had forged brass hardware, it can be difficult to discern differences. Here are some tips to help you distinguish whether your hardware is forged brass:
- Cast brass is a lot lighter than forged brass because it is hollow. Try to determine if your hardware is heavy or very light.
- Cast brass can show minor cavities and surface imperfections, whereas forged brass has such a tight grain structure due to the forging process that it is much smoother.
- Cast brass generally does not have the fine detail of forged brass. Forging more accurately displays authentic designs.
- Cast brass is not as durable as forged brass, so if you have any hardware in your home that has become loose, it isn’t forged brass.
Why is forged brass superior?
The forged brass process yields a stronger, denser brass that can accurately display the intricacies of any design. Forged brass is tougher than casting brass because of the thermal and metallurgical process it goes through. Not only can forged brass handle stronger impacts, it also has greater durability. This allows the hardware to last longer, even in high traffic areas such as an entry way where people are constantly touching and turning the door knob.
The final step- protecting your hardware
Even the finest polished brass will oxidize (tarnish) without protection. Unless a “living finish” is desired, a clear coating must be applied. The most common approach is to spray basic lacquer on the hardware. At Nostalgic Warehouse, we use a process called Electrophoretic coating. Our hardware is positively charged and dipped in a tank for complete and even coverage. It is then baked in special ovens to cure and harden the coating. There is no better brass protection available today.