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Old 12-26-2015, 11:23 AM   #1
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question: brass polish

This Taiwan clock and barometer set was on my trawler when I purchased it. Will these things ever look good again, and if so, what should I try to polish them with?



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Old 12-26-2015, 11:31 AM   #2
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Old 12-26-2015, 11:48 AM   #3
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Usually, brass is polished then sprayed with lacquer to preserve the shine. Get the lacquer off, polish with your favorite brass polish, clean the remaining polish off with lacquer thinner, then spray with clear lacquer.
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Old 12-26-2015, 11:51 AM   #4
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We've started using Flitz as a metsl cleaner. Pretty impressive stuff.
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Old 12-26-2015, 11:52 AM   #5
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Wes is spot on, the lacquer must be removed in order to clean and polish these. You'll almost certainly have to remove the coating chemically, with lacquer thinner or mineral spirits. It will be time consuming and a bit nasty. Once that's done I'd polish with Never Dull, and then spray with CRC Clear Urethane Seal Coat.
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Old 12-26-2015, 12:54 PM   #6
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The amount of effort required to remove the lacquer or other coats is way more of a nuisance than to just polish the brass once in a while. The polishing gives you pride in your ownership and will encourage you to keep other stuff clean too. What else are you going to do on a long leg?

Or you could just toss the brass as being a nuisance.
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Old 12-26-2015, 01:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
...the lacquer must be removed in order to clean and polish these. You'll almost certainly have to remove the coating chemically, with lacquer thinner or mineral spirits. It will be time consuming and a bit nasty. Once that's done I'd polish with Never Dull, and then spray with CRC Clear Urethane Seal Coat.
From our experience, once you get your objects shinny then put on the rubber gloves and remove the polish and oils from your hands/fingers. We use soap and water or something that doesn't leave a residue when it dries. You want to spray your lacquer on a clean finish not over polish or oils. A lot is in the prep.

Spray several coats of lacquer and you won't be polishing for a long time. There are several manufacturers that make sprays specifically for brass. Here's one.

Buy Behlen Brass Lacquer 13-oz at Woodcraft.com
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Old 12-26-2015, 01:09 PM   #8
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Cleaning up those things with their edges and rims and sharp interior corners is going to be a pain in the ass. If you really want to keep them, as opposed to replacing them with Chelseas or something smilar, you might be better off taking the cases to a commercial metal finisher. They have chemicals, chemical baths and other fast processes that are not available to the general public.

We've done this with some bronze components on our boat and the results and time saved were well worth the cost.
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Old 12-26-2015, 01:27 PM   #9
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You may also consider loosing the brass and going chrome. This would involve taking the insides and glass out and having it professionally dipped.

I had my golf club heads redone at an automotive re-chrome shop with great results, should also work on a clock.
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Old 12-26-2015, 03:03 PM   #10
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My clock and barometer, when I got my boat, make yours look downright pretty. They almost looked like brass plated steel. I almost chucked them untill I realized they were Shatz, a good mfgr.

The verdegris was far too heavy for FLitz, which I had used for years before, or any of those polishes.
I totally disassembled the works from the case and used a buffer wheel to repolish them. There was some work involved but once done they were lovely.

I sprayed them with clear laquer, several thin coats over a couple days. That was almost 30 years ago and they still look good.
We actually have several brass pieces aboard that I have done the same with and good results.
I have no doubt when it comes time to refinish the laquer will be tough to get off yet for over 25 yrs I think it was worth it.

Now to my next suggestion. I have not done this but knew a fellow who had a beautiful wooden boat. Clean and polish it all and then get it gold plated. Find and talk to a local plater and ask. His dorade vents were brass and he was forever polishing them and he had a bunch of them amongst other pieces.. With some enquiries he came up with the gold and he told me it was not much more than the other treatments. I suspect largely due to labour which no matter what process you use will be a large part of the cost.
Once done all he had to do was wash them and they stayed shiny and beautiful for the years he had the boat, about 8. He then sold it for a larger boat.
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Old 12-26-2015, 03:26 PM   #11
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Looks like you are able to remove the clock and barometer from the housings. Soak the housings in white vinegar for a day or so The vinegar will remove most of the tarnish and maidenhead, you will be able to scrape any that remains with a fingernail. After cleaned, polish with your favorite metal polish. Soak them on Sat and polish them while you watch Sun football.
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Old 12-26-2015, 03:53 PM   #12
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We've started using Flitz as a metsl cleaner. Pretty impressive stuff.
Do you find it enough better than metal polish from the auto parts store to justify the cost?
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Old 12-26-2015, 04:40 PM   #13
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Cost? It doesn't seem to cost any more than most other decent metal polishes. And it does a far superior job in our opinions, getting stains off of stainless railings and our radar mount, for example, that everything else we tried didn't have any effect on. We buy it at a local auto store, BTW.
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Old 12-26-2015, 04:43 PM   #14
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One word of caution on using Flitz. It does contain abrasives. I used it for 30 years on an old Seth Thomas clock and barometer that I inherited, which were evidently brass plated, not solid. Eventually, the plating wore thin. The clock maker who told me the clock was not worth repairing when it's bearings wore out mentioned this. Perhaps not a problem on solid brass.
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Old 12-26-2015, 04:52 PM   #15
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Cost? It doesn't seem to cost any more than most other decent metal polishes. And it does a far superior job in our opinions, getting stains off of stainless railings and our radar mount, for example, that everything else we tried didn't have any effect on. We buy it at a local auto store, BTW.
Thanks. I have only seen it at marine stores and you know how those prices are. I bought some a while back but I've used it all and can't remember how it compared to Turtlewax and Mothers, etc. I have no brass to polish, only stainless steel.

I guess I'll look harder, find some and try it again.


I will mention thought that "Spotless Stainless" is very good at getting rust stains out of places you can't polish like the heads of Phillips screws.
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Old 12-26-2015, 04:53 PM   #16
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We use Flitz primarily to remove stains. Once the metal is clean we generally use a different polish to keep it that way.
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Old 12-26-2015, 07:25 PM   #17
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Another option: brasso, but I've never tried flitz

The ship's (boat) bell gets brasso'ed every 8 months or so. It's outside and gets rained on and all that. It takes about 4 beers (2 or so hours) to clean.
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Old 12-26-2015, 08:52 PM   #18
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Once the lacquer starts going bad, I would just clean and polish. I have used Flitz, Nevr-dull, Brasso and others, no miracle product so far. A little flour on a polishing rag will help get rid of the black. My Eight Day 6 inch Chelsea was a gift in 1976, still looks great, works well also. Always looking for a better product, so might try that Red Bear stuff at some point.
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Old 12-26-2015, 10:08 PM   #19
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I had Barigo brand instruments which came on a previous boat, they looked like that, turned out it was brass color lacquer on s/steel. I had to get all the lacquer off and polish the stainless steel best I could.
For polishing metal, I use Autosol. Made in Germany, comes in 100gram tube and 350gram tub, will also clean and polish plastic,gelcoat and paint, easy and highly effective.
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