On Thursday, August 9, 2012 3:38:19 PM UTC-7, walter wrote:
On Aug 9, 6:41 pm, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
It probably depends to a large extent on if they
are real solid brass or some cheaper, crap. Given
that they are 30 years old, I wouldn't be surprised
that they aren't the real deal. And if they aren't then
they may wind up looking even worse.
Whatever you try, I'd start on the back side.
What's wrong with that?
I buy an occasional piece of antique furniture because of the
construction and physical appearance. Then I strip it and apply new
finish so it matches the room. Sometimes I spray paint, sometimes stain
and lacquer. It just depends on where it's going.
A 30 year old door handle in that condition is only worth the value of the
metal. It's on the outside of his house for Pete's sake, of course he wants
it to look nice. An antique home with its original paint would have long
since collapsed from exposure to the elements.
Try rubbing with Brasso or Glo metal polish. Use a soft cloth.
If that doesn't work for you, use a wheel as the other post said.
They'll tarnish again unless you coat them with something.
I polished a lot of brass in the Navy, and we never coated it.
Just polished it again. And again. And again.
Don't recall polishing a belt buckle. Only time they would show is
when wearing dungarees. A flashy belt buckle with oil-stained
dungarees wouldn't look right.
OTOH, I spent many hours shining SS fireroom deck plates.
Yep, shined all the fireroom "floors," ladders, hand rails, brass
telegraph bells, brass talk funnels, and a few other brass pieces I
can't recall now. Ship was pretty new.
Mindless activity. so mindless it was the time to go over casualty
control procedures in my head. That got off the shining duties quick
enough, but I did them for at least a year or more.
Still had to spit shine my dress shoes all 4 years. That was more
It has a finish on it like lacquer or it would have tarnished 29 years ago, it
could end up better to replace it rather than buff it on a powered buffer as a
pro would do. Experiment with crass cleaner and se what happens
You can burn the old lacquer off. I don't know if you can still buy lighter
fluid but naptha or acetone will work. Slosh the stuff on and light it with
a match. (outside and far from anything you like, of course) Then use a
brass cleaner (Brasso, Noxon, etc) and rub. Relacquer with clear gloss
lacquer like Rustoleum. A light coat is fine for inside, but apply several
for the outside parts. I just did every knob and handle in the house last
spring and it's really not that onerous. The lacquer stinks so spray that
where you have good ventilation.
Can't see pics (checking usenet while taking a break @ work) so I
can't speak to your specific situation, but I've had good luck with
Eagle One wadding polish as purchased at your FLAPS (it's really
intended for polishing old school uncoated mag wheels) for cleaning up
brass doorknobs, switch plates, etc. Personally I don't mind a little
patina (at least on older houses) but sloppy paintwork makes me
stabby, so I've had to do this a couple times. Will leave a little
bit of protective coating on the brass, or you could wipe with solvent
after you're done and then use some spray clear lacquer to protect. I
did this once in a house that I was renting because my landlord was
going to replace all the 40's vintage hardware with new stuff and I
didn't want him to do that - he thought I was the greatest thing since
sliced bread :) (I also fixed an old paned window for him and he was
amazed that such things could actually be done...)
If you have a bench grinder, you could also use a loose, soft buffing
wheel and some polishing compound on that, will make fast work of the
I'd use brass cleaner only and just work on it. Then I'd put a clear
tough finish on it and it should be good for several years. We have a
brass bed with clear finish that is over 30 years old and never needed
Without finish you may be polishing once a year or more depending on
I'd avoid steel wool or abrasives if I can as they will remove traces of
If it is solid brass, very fine steel wool won't likely remove any more
brass than weathering and polishing do. It doesn't look like solid
brass, so cleaning it up might show the difference more clearly; leaving
as is will just allow more oxidation. Brass, outdoors and with no clear
coat, will likely lose it's shine in weeks; faster in salt air. Pretty,
heavy door handle - might look good even losing brass plating.
If you've ever had a lemon tree in your backyard, or even somewhere in your
neighbourhood, you will have discovered that there are only so many ways y
ou can eat or drink lemons before these prolific trees are simply wasting t
heir fruit! However, they are especially handy for cleaning things around t
he home, either when juiced or simply chopped in half.
To clean brass with lemon juice, you can either use it neat, or mixed with
vinegar and/or baking soda.
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