you need to replace the plating? or the shine to the brass [plating]?
If you want a truly good look, check out the shops that rebrass musical
As DIY project, if you have NOT lost brass plating, polish brass, then
spray with lacquer coating - multiple coats better than one thick single
Do NOT simply spray a 'brass' colored spray on it. Looks hideous. With
your face that close to the desk lamp base, will bother you forever. Could
send you the t-shirt on that one.
I have a candelabra that my parents bought in 1945. I got it around
1980. The top part which held the candles and the base and post
looked fine, but the middle part which was more ornate was looking
worse and worse. My mother said that because of WWII, they couldn't
buy a completely brass one, so they bought this, which had a pot metal
Anyhow, either it was getting worse or I was getting more unsatisfied.
I disassembled the thing, and took it to a plating company. Looked
very nice when I got it back but within a month was looking black. I
took it back, and, at no charge of course, they redid some or all of
what they had done. He mumbled something about not using lacquer, and
this time they sprayed it with lacquer and it looked good for years.
But eventually it looked bad again. and this time I just painted the
middle part with gold paint (not brass paint). It comes in a small
bottle, goes on easily It doesn't have the shiny appearance of the
other parts of the candleabra, but maybe because the surface of the
middle part is so different, textured, even rough in places, it looks
okay to me, even though I'm normally picky. In fact I don't think
it was ever very shiny in the middle, not when I was little or after
it was first replated. Certainly if one doesn't concentrate on what
it would look like if it were brand new and 100% brass, and worry
about if it looks like it's 100% brass, it's attractive. Nothing
clashes with any other part of it. .
OTOH, if your lamp has large flat surfaces it may be hard to paint the
thing gold color without there being the usual brush problems Maybe
a can of aerosol gold (or brass?) paint.
OT3H I see your first request is for shine, and I don't think any of
the paint ideas will do that.
So youre back to (disassembling or letting them do it) and plating and
spraying, and what the other posters said.
If it's solid brass, all you need to do is polish it with Brasso or similar.
If it's brass plated, you can still polish it but look for a polish that
polishes by chemical action rather than mechanical. Plain old vinegar or
lemon juice is one such. Ketchup too. When I was in the navy and was
assigned to flunky work in the galley, we would polish the copper steam
tables by dumping in a gallon of ketchup...swish it around, let it sit for
15-30 minutes then rinse. It was handier than vinegar or lemon juice as -
being thicker - it clung to vertical surfaces and didn't run off.
In either case - if you want to keep it shiny - you will have to polish
periodically or coat with a clear finish such as clear lacquer.
It's not clear what your problem is. If it's just dirty, unplug the lamp,
remove the shade, and wash the brass bits with soapy water. Rinse and let
dry. Don't get water in the socket or switch. If that doesn't work buy a
bottle of Brasso. It's a common metal cleaner that most supermarkets sell.
Read the directions and decide whether it will work with your brass. Unplug
the lamp and remove the shade. use a paper towel to apply the Brasso. Let
the lamp sit for 15 mins. Use a clean paper towel to polish off the Brasso.
If the laquer is gone but the brass is ok, I think you'll need to remove
the old laquer with laquer thinner and apply new laquer, probably with a
If the brass plate is gone, you can have it replated. Look for someone in
your area who can do this and get an estimate.
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