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Thread: Cleaning Brass

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    3,940

    Default Cleaning Brass

    I have a fair few oil lamps, port holes, diesel heater etc in brass which are really quite discoloured and pitted. Any good ideas about how to get them back up to a good shine?

    The usual brass wool and various cleaners work, but I will be rubbing away for centuries before I get it all done.

    For some of the stuff (in particular the front of the Dickinson diesel heater), I think I might have to resort to 400 grade wet and dry.

    Is there a better way?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    290

    Default Why do you want to destroy the patina???

    Brass is brass is brass, just as copper is copper, bronze is bronze.

    All weather and change their colours just as woods change colour too.

    Patina/crusting/pitting are part of the ageing process. Why destroy brass's patina to make it look like gold????

    Question: Do you 'restore' the teak on your boat???

    M

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    3,940

    Default

    No. I don't do anything to the teak deck nor any of the other unvarnished bits. But it is a uniform grey colour.

    The brass is pitted - and looks misused and uncared for.
    If it was just a consistent greenish colour, that would be fine (for the outside stuff), although I would prefer to have it shiny inside the saloon.......

    Personal preference - nothing to do with logic are what other people like.

    So I really do want to get rid of the pitting.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    3,214

    Default

    Hi, i have lots of brass to clean on my boat, it was like yours dull and pitted when i bought the boat, the only way i think is hard work, brasso and lots of elbow grease,it will soon come up and when it does its just a matter of keeping on top of it, Brasso is quite abrasive, you can use it on perspex to get rid of small sctatches.
    good luck.

  5. #5
    Iota Guest

    Default

    try rubbing with Lee and Perrins and leaving it on for a while, you may never cook with it again !!!!

  6. #6
    Hoolie's Avatar
    Hoolie is offline Registered User
    Location : Hants/Lozčre
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    Mar 2005
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by michaelchapman View Post
    ... ... I think I might have to resort to 400 grade wet and dry. Is there a better way?
    Oxalic acid will bring the shine back to copper and brass but I don't know how it would work on badly pitted metal. Obviously if the brass had been lacquered the results will be mixed, but try it on an unobtrusive area.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    1,221

    Default

    Dilute battery acid, then HP sauce on a pan scrubber.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    14,488

    Default

    Sidol - for everything and anything.

    First used it when I joined up (many years ago) to polish belt buckles and copper tunic buttons. Haven't found anything better since.

    On the boat I've used it on oil lamps, clocks and barometer and even the stainless steel deck fittings (pushpit, granny bars, pulpit, stanchions).
    www.guapa.pn
    Everybody lies; but it doesn't matter because no-one listens.

  9. #9
    Claverock is offline Registered User
    Location : Falmouth, Cornwall, UK
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    13

    Default

    Solvol Autosol cleans and polishes almost anything metal. I've used it for years on motor bikes and various bits and it does what it says on the tube.
    Auslander

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    290

    Default Sorry to have been a bit trite ....

    Salts of Sorrel (Oxalic acid crystals let down 1 to 10 in water) from any chemist mixed with grit-free woodash to form a creamy paste .... then its elbow grease to get the hard oxidation off. Wipe over with a damp cloth until it's clean. Finish with Brasso pads till they go black and then polish off with a lint free cloth ie an old tea towel. If you really want an almost zero maintenance finish then after your last shining polish, coat with 3 coats of brass lacquer and it will be good for upto 10-15 years as long as no water gets behind the lacquer.

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