Cleaning Brass


I am remodeling a house I just purchased. It has an Iron and Brass handrail on the stairs. The brass has years of cleaners, wax, dirt and tarnish on it. There is the brass hand rail and some brass flutes and beads on the balustrades. I've tried many of the metal cleaners from the hardware store and they just don't get the job done. I think I should get a bench top buffer and some rubbing compound. Sound right?
Al
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Try vinegar and salt.
Al Schmidt wrote:

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Al Schmidt wrote:

Well heres two that should do the job; Brasso and Twinkle. The Navy uses Brasso and Twinkle is in there also. Both are available in Grocery stores, but not always carried by all. Think all of them takes a bit of elbow grease to do the job right.
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Jack wrote:

Second the Brasso, it really works well and you don't need a lot. Cut an old sheet/pillowcase/shirt into strips a few inches wide and a couple feet long and they'll be a big help buffing in tight spots. For the flatter areas the safest way to buff is probably with a soft cloth like a piece of the sheet folded a few times and press the soft pad of a handheld power random orbit sander against the cloth periodically switching to different areas of the cloth as they gunk up. Anything more powerful than that is a bit risky unless you're really good with it.
Pete C.
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Al Schmidt wrote:

I would use something with phosphoric acid in it, 20% or so
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Al Schmidt wrote:

I would use something with phosphoric acid in it, 20% or so
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Sounds beautiful! I have an old house with quite a bit of brass hardware, some of which was so black it took a magnet to determine whether it was brass underneath all the grime, and I've found the best combination to be Brasso and elbow grease.
Jo Ann
Al Schmidt wrote:

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On Tue, 31 Oct 2006 13:50:12 GMT, Al Schmidt wrote:

Many, if not most, architectural brass items are clear coated as the last step in manufacturing.
If you don't remove this coating before you use metal cleaners, you are asking for a lot of work because you have to wear through the coating before you get to the metal.
The clear coating can often be removed with lacquer thinner, and almost always with paint and varnish remover.
Try it, you will probably be surprised. It's actually easy polish brass if that't what you are actually polishing.
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Karl S wrote:

brass is often laquered , so make sure this is removed , and considered recoating it after polishing
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On 31 Oct 2006 14:56:44 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

The only way to remove old clear laquer coats is to power wire brush the article followed by buffing. Then polish and relaquer, preferably with Varathane varnish.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com says...

Wire brushing a brass plated item is a sure fire way to ruin the finish.
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Beats spending hours and hours removing the laquer by hand. A brass wire wheel will be more gentle. If its solid brass the wire brush shouldn't harm it. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc and cannot be deposited as plate. If the item is some form of fake gold plating then there is little value in restoring it. Wire brush it anyway. If its ruined toss it.
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On Tue, 31 Oct 2006 23:59:58 GMT, PaPaPeng wrote:

Why wire brush it when lacquer thinner or paint remover will take it off without scratching?
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