Q. Can I apply a powder coating on brass handrails that will be installed indoors, or is there a better process to get an oil-rubbed finish on brass?—J.R.
A. You can apply powder on brass for indoor applications. Many door knobs and other brass hardware have a clear powder applied to get that high-gloss look and maintain a durable finish. As with any substrate material, the key is having the right cleaning and preparation process to get the look you want and still get good adhesion. Abrasion is a satisfactory method to prepare the surface. A light pressure blast will remove impurities and roughen the surface for adhesion. Sanding or abrading in some other way is also acceptable but may not be practical for production. Brass can also be cleaned with a mild cleaning solution or ultrasonic cleaning operation if that is practical. Treatments such as bright dipping are available for brass as well. Materials for this can be located from pretreatment suppliers or electroplating suppliers, both of which you can find at PFonline.com. Basically, the advice is the same for almost any metal substrate: make sure it is clean, make sure it is dry and make sure the coating will adhere.