View Full Version : Storing brass pieces

11-23-2009, 07:02 PM
Any ideas for storing brass parts? Problem is I can make multiples and store them, but exposed to the air they'll tarnish. I want them to look fresh/bright & straight off the lathe. Lacquer or other clear coat is not an option. I can smear them with grease, but that's another step involved with cleaning them. Otherwise, maybe storing them in a container of odorless mineral spirits? Any other suggestions?



11-23-2009, 07:08 PM
Store them in a sealed container. Tarnishing is cause by pollutants in the air so if it is sealed they won't tarnish.

11-23-2009, 07:29 PM
glycerine bath works [in the lab anyway]

11-23-2009, 07:42 PM
Store them in a sealed container. Tarnishing is cause by pollutants in the air so if it is sealed they won't tarnish.

Im interested in this also, as well as some polished aluminum parts also. Would putting something in the container help? Wd40, silica......

11-23-2009, 08:10 PM
Aluminum develops an instant clear oxide coat when exposed to air and that protects it from further changes. Silica gel won't hurt but if the container is really sealed it won't make a difference either. You can buy canister sets for cheap that have rubber gaskets and that should do the job well.

11-23-2009, 08:10 PM
Tarnishing is caused by contact with air. Not necessarily pollutants unless you call oxygen a pollutant. :D But even finger prints can cause tarnishing. There's a couple of good metal polishes that will last quite a while on exposed brass. Flitz, Collinite and ZoopSeal are a few. But as with anything good, be prepared to open the wallet.

Or you could store them in a vacuum canister. :cool:

11-23-2009, 08:26 PM
Check out the cortec products
You just might find what you are looking for.
John L

11-23-2009, 08:30 PM
Tarnishing of brass is normally the result of exposure to sulphur compounds in the air. Most brasses do not tarnish from exposure to just oxygen. We have no significant sources of pollution here and if I polish brass it stays polished for years.

This plate hasn't been cleaned in a year and the only reason it needs cleaning at all is because we cook with natural gas.


11-23-2009, 08:38 PM
Get one of those vacuum sealers used for food, they have all sizes of bags. I use one to seal spare parts on my sailboat and equipment that does not get used that often. Works great keeping salt air away.

11-23-2009, 08:45 PM
Frequently used for gun storage are the heavy plastic bag inhibitors, they protect for 3 years buy emitting a vapor that protects all metals from corrosive effect of airborne pollutants including salt.

KleenBore is what I sold but there are others.
Example KleenBore # is RIL210.

11-23-2009, 09:28 PM
If you have a container that truly seals you could even displace the air with argon for that stay fresh look. I do this with various finishes and it works very well.

11-23-2009, 10:54 PM
An obvious answer, and only suitable for smaller parts- zip loc bags. Roll the air out and seal. For long parts- I don't recall right now what it was for or where to get it- there was a roll of plastic bag material that you'd cut to length and seal both ends. Seems to me it was available at a restaurant supply place- maybe it was for sausages?. From my weakened memory- it was about 2 or 3 inches wide. Good for round tubes or bars less than 2 inches diameter.

Wasn't there also a CO2 dispenser that you could displace air with for storing foodstuffs-

11-23-2009, 11:17 PM
Perhaps you could dip the parts in hot wax.

11-24-2009, 04:09 AM
maybe im crazy/forgetful here, but if its the sulphur.. And brass not corrode under water, Why not just store your brass under water? Assumeing your water is low in sulphur, or you just buy some heavily filtered/purifyed water..

Maybe a sacrafical anode might help if it still corrodes under water?

Excuse any ignorance on my part this really isent my subject, Just had an idea...

11-24-2009, 04:47 AM
How about shellac?

White polish/French polish just wipes on and will come off again with alcohol.

11-24-2009, 05:34 AM
I had an idea and just checked it out and it will work fine. Use an air tight container and throw in a pill bottle that has holes drilled in it and is filled with vitamin C tablets. The best type is tablets that are uncoated and contain high dose sodium ascorbate. This is commonly used to absorb all the oxygen in the air to prevent fruits from oxidizing in storage. Although most brasses won't oxidize from just oxygen some red brasses will and this will ensure it cannot happen even if the container leaks a bit.

11-24-2009, 10:47 AM
I like the vaccuum sealer idea...that's clever. We bought one with a wedding gift card years back but it was expensive..even to use since the consumables were pricey.

You may already be aware, but several of the typicaly plastic bag makers (Zip Loc etc.) came out with a line of zip-loc bags and a very inexpensive vaccuum pump (battery operated) that serve this same function. I would bet that $10 or so would get you the pump with a few bags.

To say that a sealed container will prevent tarnish assumes that the air inside the sealed container does not contain any sulphur compounds and others that cause tarnish. In a typical home this time of year, most folks heat with combustion furnaces, perhaps making ambient air worse than usual for this sort of thing.


11-24-2009, 11:08 AM
A sealed container won't contain enough sulphur compounds to produce noticable tarnish and as long as it stays sealed no more sulphur will be available.

11-24-2009, 11:46 AM
spray silicone on them (the stuff thats used on cars to buff up plastic)...unlike wd40 it dont absorb moisture .

should work just fine .

all the best.markj

11-24-2009, 11:47 AM
Friends w/ steam launches that are a lot more polished than mine like Boeshield T-9...

- Bart

11-24-2009, 12:53 PM
Storing Brass:

In the short term any commercial grade 'Saran' wrap will work. Best part is its cheap and re-useable. Works for me...!!


11-25-2009, 08:27 AM
Any ideas for storing brass parts? ...... I can smear them with grease, but that's another step involved with cleaning them.

Never tried this with brass, but clean all chips, grinder dust, etc, spray with cooking spray (like, Pam) stick in plastic bag, when needed, wash with dishwashing detergent.

I would almost suggest using the dishwasher, but the detergents and temps are harsh... advise against for aluminum. Stick a chunk of scrap bar stock in the dishwasher, see if its acceptable to you.

Since cooking spray is dirt cheap compared to the "good stuff" like LPS, you can really hose it down. For that matter, submersing in cheap veg oil might work. Also if the kids get into it or the cat licks it, its really no big deal (as long as no swarf was added, etc). I advise against the "flavored" varieties like butter flavored.

11-25-2009, 10:22 AM
cover it in some clean motor oil and wrap them up in plastic wrap this way no problems simply take some brake cleaner when you want to use it and spray off the oil or even just wipe it down and chuck it up in the lathe and turn away ,

11-25-2009, 11:11 AM
There is no need to spray anything on the brass or to dip it in snake oil or any other substance. All it needs to stay bright is clean air. These items are as much as 35 years old which is why a few of them have darkened but the majority are only 10 to 20 years old. They are stored as is in a tool chest drawer.

It must suck to live in or near a city if everything turns black quickly. I have lived in many cities but never when I was actively doing machining at home.


Lew Hartswick
11-25-2009, 11:30 AM
It must suck to live in or near a city if everything turns black quickly.
And for a lot of other reasons. :-)