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Thread: Need some assistance in taking out scratches in brass....

  1. #11
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Need some assistance in taking out scratches in brass....

    finish it with OOOO steel wool
    Thank you for bringing that up. I know nothing about polishing or restoring brass, and was chastised once when I used 4/0 steel wool. The guy said it would contaminate the brass. I don't know how the item turned out lover time because I sold it.

    What do you think about using bronze wool?

  2. #12

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    Re: Need some assistance in taking out scratches in brass....

    Quote Originally Posted by Jac@stafford.net View Post
    Thank you for bringing that up. I know nothing about polishing or restoring brass, and was chastised once when I used 4/0 steel wool. The guy said it would contaminate the brass. I don't know how the item turned out lover time because I sold it.

    What do you think about using bronze wool?
    Bronze wool is mainly for wood (so you don't get rust spots from bits of steel trapped in the grain) and very soft surfaces, it's expensive and doesn't have the 'tooth' of steelwool.
    How on earth could steelwool contaminate brass? The only thing to keep in mind is that as purchased, steelwool has a rust inhibiting substance on it, soak it in lacquer thinner to remove this or finishes might not stick.
    I used 4-0 steelwool to refinish a lens barrel prior to relacquering it, sometime around 1990 - 1992, it's holding up just dandy.
    One man's Mede is another man's Persian.

  3. #13

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    Re: Need some assistance in taking out scratches in brass....

    Quote Originally Posted by Jac@stafford.net View Post
    An alternative is to go for a different look and have the part shot-peened for a luster rather than a fragile shine. Choose the technician carefully.
    Polishing, then acid etching followed by lacquering gives a nice finish too. Practice on scrap metal!
    One man's Mede is another man's Persian.

  4. #14
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    Re: Need some assistance in taking out scratches in brass....

    Quote Originally Posted by EdSawyer View Post
    What he said.

    A dremel doesn't really have enough torque to act as a buff. You really need a large 3/4hp motor for a buffer to do it right. a jewelers buff might work but a big one would definitely work great. You would still need to go through various grits but could do all the hardware in an hour or less probably, using a machine buffer.
    That depends on the size of the piece. I've buffed with a Dremel many times on small pieces with good success. I've also buffed tubas using a 3-HP, 16" buff, so I'm not unfamiliar with big stuff. But if you try to buff a small piece on a big buff, there's a good chance you'll be digging it out of the drywall across the room, using broken fingers.

    I prefer the 1/2"-diameter hard buffs on Dremels for small brass parts. If you want a high polish, sand to remove the scratch, double the grit number, sand again, and repeat until you get to 400. Then, polish using a buff and tripoli (usually in a yellow cake), followed by white polish, followed by rouge (red polish). Never run the buff into an edge--ever. You'll file the edge down. Buff from the flat surface towards the edge, so that the buff is traveling off the edge, not onto the edge. That will help keep the edges crisp.

    Recognize that all buffing is removing material, which will change the dimensions of what you are buffing. Were it me, I'd live with the scratch.

    Rick "properly respectful of large buffs" Denney

  5. #15
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    Re: Need some assistance in taking out scratches in brass....

    Quote Originally Posted by Jac@stafford.net View Post
    Thank you for bringing that up. I know nothing about polishing or restoring brass, and was chastised once when I used 4/0 steel wool. The guy said it would contaminate the brass. I don't know how the item turned out lover time because I sold it.

    What do you think about using bronze wool?
    I agree, but it's even more true for aluminum. You'll end up with iron grit in the metal, and if allowed to rust it will look terrible. Almost impossible to get out.

    I've polished many brass items to a mirror finish. Scotchbrite does the same thing as steel wool, but it isn't steel and won't leave metal bits embedded in the brass. But sandpaper works just as good.

    Rick "who'd rather have scratches if the material is thin" Denney

  6. #16
    Les
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    Re: Need some assistance in taking out scratches in brass....

    Thanks all for the input.

    Rick, I've tried Scotchbright (relatively fresh pad) on the reverse side of the hardware piece, and I noticed some small scratches. Anyway, I scratched that idea real fast.

    E. von Hoegh, what sorts of lacquer were you suggesting to protect cleaned/polished surfaces ?


    The '0000' steel wool is real nice and it does not bite....I didn't try it against the grain, since I didn't wanted any wicked effects. The vinegar-salt mixture works really well. It softens the 100yr+ funk and I use Flitz Polish to follow up, and from appearances it takes me back to the original shine of the brass.

    Mostly I'm v. pleased with the results, however I do have couple of unexpected difficulties: how to clean the rails, that the gears travel over ?.....without immersion, since it can turn the wood dark due to vinegar content ? Question: does the vinegar have effect on on stained wood ? The other issue is the rear portion of the camera have these side supports that were pressed-in and I'm unable to take that apart and clean them seperately as good as I'd prefer. My only solution is to dip it in v. shallow vinegar mixture, preventing the wood to touch the mixture. It's getting there slowly.

    Les

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