View Full Version : Wista Tarnished Brass

11-Aug-2016, 13:35
I have seen a Wista for sale but looking at images of the camera I am seeing tarnishing on the brass areas.

I appreciate this will not effect the workings of the camera but I was wondering if anyone had and suggestion on how to clean this back to a more pleasing look


11-Aug-2016, 14:10
Find a deal on a vibratory shell (ammunition) machine. (https://media.midwayusa.com/productimages/880x660/Primary/711/711534.jpg) Choose a mild abrasive, drop the parts in and retrieve in eight hours and be happy,

If the parts are clear-coated or otherwise sprayed over by acrylic then drop the pieces in a bath of acetone, agitate every few minutes, then put them in the vibratory.

The brilliant result will not last long and there is nothing you can do about it.

Drew Wiley
11-Aug-2016, 15:50
If there are remains of a clear overcoat it is likely a lacquer. Acetone with remove this, but also will haze the wood finish too, so not a good idea if you wish to
clean up the hardware without removing it. You can use an ordinary brass polish like Brasso, or what is called wadding compound - a cloth substance impregnated
with polish. Reside can be removed with alchohol, but this itself can attack an old-school shellac finish. The brass can be kept bright quite awhile with an automotive clearcoat finish like Raindance, or just left to mellow again. One problem is that you're dealing with small surfaces. Felt polishing points and little wheels are available for Dremel tools. They have their own rouge like polishing compound too. But turn down the speed of the Dremel tool or you'll have a mess.
If you want a more elegant option, you can order various grades of rubberized points and wheels for Dremel tools from McMaster Carr. My own take on this is maybe to just touch up the most obnoxious spots; but otherwise, consider them beauty scars. Old wooden cameras, just like old hardwood floors and antique
furniture, should not look new; they've earned their character.

Ian Gordon Bilson
11-Aug-2016, 21:14
When you finish cleaning, apply a coat of Renaissance Wax,

12-Aug-2016, 00:39
Thanks for the replies, I have made some notes

12-Aug-2016, 06:08
Have you thought of gold plating? Might check it out as when done properly you have a finish that won't tarnish.

1-Sep-2016, 16:26
Ian -

the brass fixtures of the Wista tarnish extremely rapidly - within a year of owning it from new, it just from leaving its' new box.

Perhaps on account of the salty sea air, I'm not sure. However you can use Peek metal polish up the fixtures for a better cosmetic appearance. Personally, I like the character of the used camera fixtures with the Wista. It's interesting how different metals from other cameras which used military specification milled aluminium change with age. The Wista looks distinctly from the last century :)

Ron (Netherlands)
2-Sep-2016, 13:08
metal varnish will protect polished metal for a long time

2-Sep-2016, 13:27
I've never seen varnished brass tarnish if kept indoors. I have several 1860s lenses that look like the day they were made. Look at 1890s Rochester and Century cameras. Something is wrong with either what they used to finish the brass, or it's some kind of galvanic action going on.


I'd disassemble, and gently remove the varnish, and repolish if needed. Then coat with a poly finish, and reinstall.

9-Sep-2016, 21:52
Nevr-Dull is the ticket. I've used it on brass many times, always, stuff stays bright.

10-Sep-2016, 01:28
I've owned my Wista from new since 2009, and the brass has stayed fairly nice, except for the insides of the knobs on the front standard, which have tarnished a fair bit. Weird that it should be so localised!


Doremus Scudder
10-Sep-2016, 09:58
My workhorse Wista DX has see a lot of years on the coast and the brass is tarnished and corroded in places. Every now and then I'll polish some of the corrosion off and give it a coat of tung oil (I oil the wood and re-black the bellows occasionally too). Dents, scratches and corrosion, but it still works just fine... I've got a worse-looking beater for parts to keep this one on active duty. :)



10-Sep-2016, 19:28
Doremus, I've emailed you couple times from the contact page on your site. Are you able to see your site email from where you are?

Doremus Scudder
11-Sep-2016, 11:45
Doremus, I've emailed you couple times from the contact page on your site. Are you able to see your site email from where you are?


Sorry I wasn't able to write you earlier, I did receive the messages. I've just sent off an e-mail.