I usually polish them out as they were originally besides being a usable
addition also used to dress upthe piece .If this were not the case then why
are so many so fancy.
I say polish them out and do not laquer them let them tarnish normally . By
the way there is very little if any patination on the brasses compared to
the wooden areas ......mjh
If you are refinishing an antique to look like a brand new piece of
furniture, then you should do the same to the brasses. You might wish to be
something under bright and shiny as it will draw too much attention away
from the wood.
If you are restoring the piece to look like a clean, well preserved
antique, you should bring the brasses to the same level. They should be
cleaned but the amount of patination remaining should be in keeping with the
appearance of the rest of the piece.
May I refer you to a thread several years ago in 'alt.home.automation'
Where somebody posted a request about a "bar code reader", and managed
to transpose the last two letters of the first word. The ensuing 60+
messages are _quite_ humorous. Including the guy who opined that such
a gizmo would be a mis-application of technology, that this was one of
those situations where it was 'far preferable' to do it manually.
The idea is to go slowly and if you over do it, completely clean the
brasses and repatinate them.
It is quite likely that the brasses have a top coat of lacquer. This
means that you should gently clean the brasses as you would a piece of
furniture with a lacquer finish. Try mild soap in water and dry quickly.
Try this even if the brasses are not coated with lacquer. Follow up the
soap water with some mineral spirits. Again, use little and be gentle.
If cleaning doesn't give you what you want, you may need to strip off
whatever lacquer remains and then try a small amount of brass cleaner in a
very gentle manner. Use very little and be gentle with it. If you over do
it, you can always repatinate but it becomes a game like trimming sideburns.
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