What’s the difference between brass and bronze?

Another question you may have been dying to know…

Solid brass hardware is durable and versatile.
Solid brass hardware is durable and versatile.

In the hardware market, there can be many confusing choices. Perhaps most involved is the choice of material for your cabinet hardware. High quality solid brass and bronze hardware is strong and flexible, very versatile, has less maintenance costs, and has a significantly longer lifespan than finish plated hardware and hardware made of economy materials. Questions you may ask include, “Do I choose brass hinges or steel? Do I choose knobs or handles?” One of the most important questions to ask yourself and your dealer is “What kind of material do I choose?” Today, we are differentiating between two commonly confused materials: Bronze and Brass. Often double the weight of comparably sized economy hardware, high quality brass and bronze hardware pieces are solid, quite dense, and sturdy. The average retail sales price premium for all this is only 20%, but the increase in price is made up by an increase in quality and durability.

What is Brass?

K4235-SS is a solid brass cup pull.
K4235-SS is a solid brass cup pull.

Many of Cliffside’s hardware pieces, including our entire signature line, are made from solid brass. The brass used to make Cliffside’s hardware is approximately 60% copper, 37% zinc, and 3% other trace metals. The term “solid brass” means that the brass is not plated over the outside with a filler metal underneath, and it means that the hardware is not hollow. Much of the hardware we offer is composed of this material, which is heavy, quite dense and very durable. Cliffside’s solid brass hardware is also lacquered to resist corrosion.

What are the best solid brass products?

Some of Cliffside’s most popular solid brass items include knobs like the 100, 105, and 110 series, pulls like the SP-3 and SP-12, and hinges, such as BH2A and BH2A-NM. Some new items will be available in each of these product lines, coming soon, including the new K-579 knob and 8″cc pulls (such as SP-8), as well as ball-tip hinges, all of which come with the same quality craftsmanship that you have come to expect from Cliffside.

What is Bronze?

Bronze is a durable material that ages well.
Bronze is a durable material that ages well.

Bronze is a metal alloy produced by blending copper and tin. It can contain between 2% and 20% tin. Other metals, such as iron or pewter, can also be blended with bronze to make them sturdier or to change their color. It is a sturdy, durable metal and is much harder than brass. Bronze has a natural patina that forms on its surface turning the bronze a dark, dull color and provides a protective layer preventing oxidation below the surface of the bronze; this darkening and patina is considered extremely desirable in most uses of bronze. Cliffside’s bronze hardware is coated with a thin layer of lacquer to protect the metal and the patina. Bronze looks its best when it is minimally treated.

What are the best bronze products?

The antique iron finish is a bronze and pewter blend.
The antique iron finish is a bronze and pewter blend.

Cliffside offers the Sedona series bronze hardware, which includes a line of four differently sized pulls, including 4″cc, 6″cc, 12″cc, and 18″cc, four different knobs in two different styles, and a cup pull. Each of these lines is available in three finishes, including antique iron (AI) and antique silver (AS), both of which are bronze/pewter blends, as well as natural bronze (BZ). These suites of hardware are hand-forged and crafted in Europe; they can add a rustic look to any cabinet.

What about “oil-rubbed bronze”?

Old antique is another name for oil-rubbed bronze.
Old antique is another name for oil-rubbed bronze.

Oil-rubbed bronze is actually rarely made from bronze; rather, it is a finish applied to brass, steel, and other materials. Cliffside’s oil-rubbed bronze finish is called “old antique” (OA) and is a rich chocolate brown color. It is very popular on all of our solid brass hardware pieces, especially hinges. In addition, a new finish will be added to our hardware line in the coming months called Venetian Bronze (VB). A variation on the traditional OA, VB has the same rich brown color, but shows a hint of copper to create a striking two-tone effect. This piece, along with OA and our other top ten finishes, will be available on every piece of our signature hardware line coming soon. Stay tuned to our blog for more details: you will hear it here first!

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