Of course I'm talking about stripping paint from old hardware. Why? What did you think I meant?
We recently brought home a super cool old cabinet that had weird orange paint on all the hinges, latches and screws. I wanted to expose the original silver finish so I set to work in my kitchen. I boiled some water on the stove, dropped the hardware in, then after a few minutes took it out and dunked it quickly in ice water. I was then able to remove most of the paint with steel wool (luckily there was just one layer). What remained in the grooves got a squirt of Goof Off, soaked for several minutes, and then came off with more elbow grease and an S.O.S. pad. If you have a less detailed piece you may also have luck using a putty knife to scrape the paint off the hot metal (direct from the boiling water). Just be sure to wear gloves to protect yourself from the heat.
I posted the finished product on Instagram, and a fellow vintage vendor friend, Alice of @Alice's Wonderland, saw it. She messaged me with her tip for removing paint from hardware. She uses the product Krud Kutter (available at Menards and similar stores) and soaks hardware in an old jar with a lid so she can shake it occasionally. After a day or two the paint falls right off. I haven't tried this yet, but will definitely give it a go next time. There are other chemicals and paint strippers that would also work for this purpose but I like the idea of choosing Krud Kutter because it is multipurpose (not just for stripping) and non-toxic.
There's also the Crock-Pot method, which many of us have seen Nicole Curtis of Rehab Addict using on her show. One of our customers and IG friend, Jules, reminded me of this method. You simply put the hardware in the appliance, cover with plenty of water, and turn it on high. Leave it overnight, and paint should be nice and loose by the next day and ready to scrape off. Do NOT use the same Crock-Pot you use for food! I haven't tried this method yet because I haven't remembered to look for a cheap used pot. You will still need a scraper and metal brush and/or steel wool to get in all the nooks and crannies.
One of my favorite tools to use is a heat gun (it's soooooooo satisfying!) and that would work well for stripping flat metal pieces like your basic door hinge. Just be careful when heating up metal and don't burn yourself. Ain't nobody got time for that!
There's a lot of trial and error in this business and that's half the fun. Do you have any tips for stripping hardware? What's your favorite method? Let us know in the comments and we'll continue to learn from each other.