The house I've bought has brass door handles throughout. The lacquer
has come off mostly and the brass has tarnished somewhat.
I can fetch the rest off and polish them up but I'd rather not have to
keep doing it. Can anyone recommend a clear lacquer with which to
Geoff Berrow (put thecat out to email)
It's only Usenet, no one dies.
Depends on how 'brass' it really is. Most stuff these days is brass plated
and the rust gradually works its way through from underneath whatever you
varnish with. If this is the case then you might as well buy new ones as
bother trying to get all the old laquer off. Mind you, even in plate some
of the old ones are much nicer looking than the new (incidentally, when I
tried to get a dent out of one and wanted to remove the brass globe from its
fixing, I discovered the aluminium looking 'fill' that takes the rod, to be
made of some kind if zinc alloy - which rapidly melted when I tried to warm
things up to assist disassembly...) Also I notice that suppliers like
Screwfix don't seem to see the difference between brass and brass plated - a
box of solid brass sockets one week, then a similar order getting plated
ones the next - the real brass ones feel heavier and somehow 'nicer'.
Also, most 'polishes' seem to be fake finishes that you can wipe off with a
dab of parafin, so you might just as well settle for slightly duller knobs
and just give them a wipe with an oily rag regularly to stop the tarnishing.
I learned it was better to have a slightly duller 'oil' shine from wasted
hours spent polishing motorcycle alloys: left shiny, any drops of water that
got on to the alloy would mark it and be very difficult to remove, but
covering the shine with laquer, soon has the whole thing looking awful as it
begins to chip and let the air etc through, but then is almost impossible to
get fully off. A wipe over with an oily rag, on the contrary, gives a more
subtle sheen, keeps the rain off, and does not have to be removed with
difficulty when it starts to fail.
In general then varnish/laquer is a bad idea on anything that you want to
have a good finish on: which is why your knobs now look as bad as they do.
Clean off the old varnish with nitromors and give then a good polish - very
satisfying. On things like doors and floors that do need varnish I always
go for 'diamond hard' because the others always seem to remain tacky and
attract the crud, then being tacky they are nearly impossible to sand for
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