View Full Version : Clear Coating Brass ?

Cecil Walker
09-24-2003, 01:39 PM
What is the best product that you have found for clear coating polished brass? I have tried various lacqueres, polyurathanes, with limited long term success. Have looked at the Brownells clear epoxy but haven't tried it yet. Any success stories or suggestions out there?

09-24-2003, 01:52 PM
Krylon clear acrylic works well. None of them last forever and when they flake off then it starts to look crummy.


I recently used a clear coat from Krylon designed for coating outside metal furniture. I used it to coat the tiles and grout in my shower. That was about six months ago and it shows no sign of deterioration yet. I judge that by the fact that I can't see it and no apparent flaking is happening. The grout is staying iron free as well.

[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 09-24-2003).]

Greg Parent
09-24-2003, 02:14 PM
How about a slow cure two part epoxy. With proper surface prep I bet it would be very durable.

09-24-2003, 02:16 PM

A couple of cases where brass needs to be coated for lasting protection:

Military gear and insignia
Brass musical instruments

A web search of these two topics might turn up the coating type.

In my youth, while attempting to remove the protective coating from Army brass insignia, I was told that the coating was spar varnish, dunno if this is true.

09-24-2003, 02:25 PM
Almost the first thing we did in basic training was polish the clear coat off the brass belt buckles. Coated brass just doesn't look as shiny as well polished brass.

Cecil Walker
09-24-2003, 04:03 PM
Evan: I agree with you that polished 360 Brass looks much better that coated. And, yes when I was in the Army way back in the 60's we polished brass on a regular basis when in the U.S. However, this is for my 1/3 scale model Gatling Gun and it takes me 8 hours to disassemble, polish the brass, oil the wood, and reassemble. I was just looking for a better way.

09-24-2003, 04:06 PM
I know the feeling. The brass on my double arm drive is in need of polishing. It takes at least that long to disassemble, rebuild and calibrate.

Also, my wife collects brass plates. She polishes them chemically. So far I have resisted the urge to really polish one. If I do all will be lost. "You know, those plates sure could use polishing..." "Huh? Did you say something, Dear?"

[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 09-24-2003).]

09-24-2003, 04:17 PM
I used some Meguires gold coat car wax on a "sampler" candlestick i made about one and 1/2 years back, still looks good. However, maybe this is because I know there is a coating, but the actual brass surface untreated looks the best.

09-24-2003, 04:42 PM
1) Apply a gold leaf.
2) Diamond coating (the best).
3) Hire someone to polish it regularly. If you live in California you can probably get a polisher with a driver's license, too.

[This message has been edited by debequem (edited 09-24-2003).]

09-24-2003, 04:49 PM
Hey Cecil,
I just happen to have a 1/8 scale gatling gun that is brass, stainless and walnut. I have been building miniatures for over 30 years now and I learned long ago not to spray polished brass. Reason, when it does start to fade or tarnish you have to strip all of the finish off just to get it back to where you want, and if you only do one or two parts they won't match the rest so you end up doing them all anyway. I have a great many steam, gas and assorted miniatures that are either all brass or have a lot of brass on them and when it comes time to exhibit them I just dedicate several weeks before the show to polishing. If you do want to spray your brass I have had good luck with Krylon spray clear. One important thing, if you use a product like Brasso it not only polishes but it leaves a film on the brass so you should wipe the part with mineral spirits before spraying, otherwise you could get whats called a fisheye where the coating is repelled from the polish. I hope this helps.

Doc Nickel
09-24-2003, 05:25 PM
There's a product I recently spotted in Street Rodder magazine called "Zoopseal".

I don't know precisely what it is, but the process goes like this: Polish the part (brass, aluminum, stainless) and rinse well with distilled water. Mix some of the Zoop and let it catalyze for... something like four hours? Then use a clean cloth and apply the Zoop like a wax, and let dry. Then buff the coating with a clean cloth (and water? Maybe a second chemcial? I'll have to find the article) back to the original shine.

The resultant coating will supposedly keep the original shine, there's essentially no thickness buildup, it'll never yellow, it's resistant to most underhood solvents and fumes (it was designed for the guys who want to keep their polished-aluminum engines shiny) and doesn't need periodic reapplication.

I haven't tried it myself, I'm only going by the SR article, but I've been thinking about getting a kit, since I deal with polished aluminum parts for customers on a regular basis. There's a few brass parts in particular I'd like to see stay shiny too.

Let me check... yep, here's the URL:

If anyone tries it, let me know. The main thing that's kept me from getting it, besides the cost, is the mixing- I definitely don't need to do 75 sq/ft at once, I'd be mixing up eyedroppersful.


Pete Burne
09-24-2003, 09:24 PM

I would look into automotive clearcoat. It is extremely durable; however it must be applied by a profssional body shop.

A small shop uses clear coat about every day and should be receptive to doing small work at the end of a job.


09-25-2003, 01:00 AM
Use clear glyptol.

09-25-2003, 02:20 AM
The museums use "conservators wax". The only place I have found that handles this stuff is www.leevalley.com (http://www.leevalley.com) . It is purified carnuba (I believe) with no additives so that it does not react with antique finishes. When applied it is invisible.

09-25-2003, 02:56 AM
While we're on the subject of polished brass,anyone see these new faucets they have out that promise a lifetime polished brass finish?I saw a episode of this old house where the went on a factory tour,they guy giving the tour metioned that the faucets were PVD coated to attain the desired effect,but didn't say what they were coated with,well the other day I just happened to be walking passed the buffer with a Tin coated insert in my pocket and just for the fun of it I buffed that sucker,and walla it polished up and looked just like mirror finished brass,hmmmmm...

09-25-2003, 02:57 AM
Interesting - carnauba is what I use to wax the tables of my woodworking tools. In this damp climate, it has worked well.

09-25-2003, 02:58 AM
Anodised Titanium.

Paul Alciatore
09-25-2003, 03:25 AM
Someone above suggested gold plating. From my military brass experience I remember that gold filled was better. I think it only took a small percentage of gold to keep it from tarnishing. Probably too late for the present project.

Cecil Walker
09-25-2003, 03:09 PM
Thanks to each and everyone who replied, You've given me some ideas and some products to try. Again thanks!

09-25-2003, 03:26 PM
I always had gold plated brass on my uniform in the army. Never had to worry about it and it always looked better than regular brass at the end of the day.


09-25-2003, 03:27 PM
You can use gold chloride in solution and electroplate your brass. It's not that hard.


09-26-2003, 06:36 PM
I usually will use nevr-dull, a product of The George Basch Co. Freeport, New York. This is a wadding which is impregnated with what smells like diesel, does a great job of cleaning and shining up a metal surface. Then I use carnuba wax, properly applied and polished. Lasts a long time and looks great. Mine is in the form of paste wax, Oscar's OP600. I had a can of pure carnuba wax that outlasted any other car wax I have tried, great stuff. Nasa rated!