How It's Made
At Baldwin, we believe that quality should never be a compromise. From using the finest materials to crafting our hardware by hand, we are committed to creating high-quality hardware that not only looks beautiful and flawless but also endures the rigors of time.
Only the Finest Materials
Before the hardware takes it shape, we begin with raw bars of solid brass. Brass is a highly dependable and durable metal that naturally resists corrosion. When you hold a piece of solid brass Baldwin hardware in your hand, you will immediately notice the difference – it is heavier, stronger, and smoother than hardware that is made of aluminum or plated steel.
Better quality hardware gives you reliable performance over time so that you don’t need to periodically replace your door hardware. At the Baldwin manufacturing plant, we go through approximately 100,000 pounds of solid brass per week.
Forged to Last
Skilled artisans transform raw brass to beautiful hardware through an age old and time-tested technique known as heat forging – pounding hot metal into a specially made die. In contrast to the simpler forging technique known as casting – the pouring of liquid metal into a mould – heat forging requires more intensive work and careful attention to detail, but it produces stronger, heavier products. Baldwin artisans with years of expertise operate the complicated machineries that heat the brass to 1300 degrees and pound the metal into its final shape with 200 tons of force.
Smoothing Out Rough Edges
Before the hardware can be finished, it gets a trim. Skilled operators work the stamping press that trims the extra metal left by the forge. Then, another machine grinds the surface to remove oxidation created from the forge, revealing the smooth metal.
Additional polishing removes the grind marks, resulting in pristine hardware that is ready for the finishing touch.
The Finishing Touch
Baldwin hardware comes in a full spectrum of 21 lustrous finishes ranging from glossy to matte, smooth to textured. Depending on the desired look, whether clean and minimalistic or well-worn and vintage, the hardware will go through a very different finishing process.
For a smooth, flawless finish, an ultra-hard coat of lacquer is applied to the hardware. Lacquer protects the hardware from normal wear and tear while retaining the natural, shiny brass tone. To achieve a more weathered look, we take a little more time to add hand-relieved touches before coating with lacquer.
Finishes such as chrome, nickel, or bronze are created by adding layers of metal plating over solid brass. The thicker the plating, the better the protection. A piece of Baldwin hardware may have 10-30 coats to ensure the maximum level of strength and durability.
For those who appreciate the patina that comes with a well-loved vintage piece, Baldwin offers “living” finishes. Our living finishes are aged 6-12 months during the manufacturing process and they continue to subtly change over time to reveal a natural weathered character.
For the strongest and most reliable finish that will resist the effects of wear and tear as well as coastal conditions, Baldwin’s patented Lifetime PVD Finish is the best. PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) finishing uses a sophisticated formulation of layered nickel alloys to create crisp detailing and brilliantly pure color. It interrupts the aging process and provides outstanding resistance to corrosion in even the harshest salt air environments. Typical “lifetime” finishes of competitors have only two layers – half as many as Baldwin’s, making ours 89% thicker
Polished to Shine
In the final step of production, our hardware goes through two stages of polishing – the first to thoroughly remove any imperfections such as scratches or nicks and the second to buff the hardware to a flawless shine. In the first stage, fast spinning wheels wipe away potential scratches left by the forge. Then jeweler’s rouge is used to carefully buff the metal. Some of our more intricate hardware requires a human touch – these are carefully buffed by the hands of skilled workers with years of practice to ensure a perfect shine while retaining every detail.