unlacquered brass rail restoration hardware dupe in pantry with pots and broom hanging from it.

Well say that ten times fast – a vintage style unlacquered brass rail is a timeless addition to your home. I could easily see this being used for an outside mounted cafe curtain rod or hanging bar over the cooktop or behind a laundry room sink.

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The unlacquered brass is a classic finish that will patina over time but can easily be restored.

These rails or rods can be purchased from Restoration Hardware but the cost of them quickly adds up. Today I am going to show you how I duped these unlacquered brass rods. It is so simple. Anyone can do this.

Like my seven year old could do this.

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Supplies for your vintage unlacquered brass rod dupe

The brass pipe is commonly used in lamp parts and so it is actually easy to find in tons of lengths. I found it up to 6 feet long – although the shipping was a little extreme.

  1. Male Threaded Unfinished Brass Pipe – 1/8″ips. This is the common term for the same diameter pipe you have seen at stores like Restoration Hardware which is 3/8″. So when you are looking for a 3/8″ cafe curtain rod and want to use lamp parts, the size you need is 1/8″ ips. Unfinished is what they refer to unlacquered brass. You can also buy your parts from Grand Brass, but their shipping might be expensive depending on how long of a pipe you order.
  2. Brass finial one per side. Unfinished brass finial if you are going with the unlacquered brass pipe. This finial looks similar to the one I bought from Grand Brass.
  3. 1/4″ wood dowel
  4. Cup hook/screw eye
  5. Rub n’ buff gold leaf if your cup hooks aren’t brass plated
  6. Drywall anchors (I didn’t use these because I went into the bead board and drywall with the screw eye/cup hook and that was enough) if you aren’t installing into wood or a stud. Make sure you paint these after you install them to hide the plastic part

Tools to install your vintage unlacquered brass rod dupe

Steps to make your unlacquered brass rod

Decide what size unlacquered brass pipe you need

Measure the size you need. I had 22″ of room to work with. I bought 2 – 2″ finials and an 18″ unlacquered brass pipe. (I actually bought double this because I made two rails).

This unfinished brass pipe is unlacquered brass and will patina over time, just like the expensive cafe rods. Source: ebay.com

I also bought 1 – 3′ long wood dowel. If I had gone longer I may have used multiple wood dowels glued on the ends. The pipe is pretty sturdy at this length but I wanted to make sure it didn’t bend.

If you are hanging even heavier things you may consider lining the inside of the pipe with an inexpensive metal rod from Lowes. These can easily be cut with a grinder or on your miter saw in a pinch.
brass pipe has a wood dowel in its center to add stability to the unlacquered brass rod cafe rod dupe.
You can see my wood dowel positioned tightly inside the unlacquered brass pipe

Cut your dowel

Cut your dowel to the same length as your unlacquered brass rod and push it inside the rod.

a brass finial is the perfect end piece for the lamp pipe but instead looks like a decorative accessory that cost way more than $3.50
This one unfinished/unlacquered brass finial was under $3.50 but it looks way more expensive

Add your unlacquered brass finial

This may seem self explanatory, but here we go, thread or screw your finial on to your male threaded unlacquered brass pipe.

The brass finials are threaded onto the unlacquered brass pipe rod and the screw eye/cup hooks are placed where they will be so that an accurate measurement between the two can be made. Mine was 18 1/4" a part.
The finials are threaded onto the brass pipe and the screw eye/cup hooks are placed where they will be so that an accurate measurement between the two can be made. Mine was 18 1/4″ a part.

Attach to your wall

Measure the distance between the finials and, using a level, mark your spots on your wall with a pen or pencil. Drill a small pilot hole.

cup hooks are drilled into beadboard wall panel protruding away from the wall for a nice reveal of the unlacquered brass rod cafe rod restoration hardware dupe.
The cup hooks are drilled into place, then rub n’ buff was applied

If there isn’t a stud in that location add a drywall anchor in the right weight rating for what you plan to hang on the rod. Screw in your cup hooks.

two assembled cafe rod unlacquered brass restoration hardware dupes are in place on the beadboard wall panel in the panty
No one would ever think this unlacquered brass cafe rod cost less than $20

Hang your rod. I had to remove my finials, place the brass rod through the cup hooks/screw eyes and then screw the finals back on.

up close view of the screw eye with rub n buff applied and the unlacquered brass finial and brass rod in place
I even screwed a tiny brass screw eye into the handle of my antique pan so that I could hang it from the rail

Finish your cup hooks

If your cup hooks did not come brass plated like mine, you can add a little rub in buff in gold leaf to them.

unlacquered brass cafe rod restoration hardware dupes decorated with the pots and brushes in the pantry with beadboard paneling.
I absolutely love the finished look of these unlacquered brass cafe rod dupes and hope I can use it again somewhere else soon

Disclaimer: Working with power tools and DIY projects can be dangerous and post inherent risks. While we work hard to ensure the accuracy and effectiveness of the tutorials along with the information displayed on this website, Hambels Get Real cannot be held responsible for damages or losses sustained or incurred in the course of your project or in the use of the item you create.

If you loved this simple hack check out another one here on how I made cabinet pull backplates.

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  1. Great tutorial! Thank you so much. Love unlaquered brass!! Now I need to go take a look at your pantry to get some ideas!!

  2. Love this idea I’ve been wanting the Devol rods but not the price. May I ask where you find the pipe, as well as the brass finials? Looking forward to this diy!


  3. Thank you! All morning I have been searching for unlacquered brass curtain rods and came across your blog and tutorial. Any thoughts on brackets for this use?

I promise to reply if you do!