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Thread: polishing brass

  1. #1

    Post polishing brass

    I'm making each of my daughters a ring box out of 3" round as a stocking stuffer for xmas. I would like to get a real good finish on them and have it stay. Anyone have any good tips on finishing brass and protecting it? Thank you

  2. #2
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    Getting a good finish isn't hard with brass. It polishes beautifully. Many different compounds will work.

    Getting it to stay polished is a different story. The only fool proof way to maintain a high polish on brass is to lock it in a hermetically sealed vault with an inert atmosphere.

    Otherwise you can either repolish it as required, not handle it (it will still tarnish anyway), or coat it with some transparent finish like Krylon. All have thier downsides, none are an optimal solution.

    [This message has been edited by Evan (edited 11-28-2005).]
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  3. #3
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    Evan's right -- the difficult thing is the "have it stay" part.

    Try thinning down some clear lacquer, really thin, and dipping the piece after you've polished it. And of course wear rubber gloves (or maybe clean cotton gloves) while you're doing the final polishing.

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  4. #4
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    Personally, for something like that I would go the "repolish as required" route. No coating looks as good as the freshly polished uncoated surface and repolishing an object like that is easy. It's satisfying when you polish it to see how much better it looks. Brass needs to be polished on a regular basis. Even with antiques the value is not usually diminished by polishing the brass. It's expected. (NOT the same for some copper ware)
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  5. #5

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    have you considered plating ? I made a custom set of wall brackets,and support rods for supporting a shower curtain "hoop", the bathroom had an irregular ceiling. all the parts were turned from brass, and then nickle plated (at a plating shop). With an even chatter free finish cut on the surfaces, they plated to a real smooth "perfect" buffed finish. the shop down the street might do it for 20 $ or there abouts. just an idea.

    Samuel

  6. #6
    radish1us Guest

    Post

    When you do get a polished finish to the brass, that is suitable for you, get some clear two pack spray enamel and give it a coat. Remember, when it's polished to your satisfaction, DO NOT, REPEAT -- DO NOT touch the polished brass with your bare hands again, until the two pack has dried.

  7. #7
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    Knife makers have used thinned down lacquer. If it's just a ring box that sits on a vanity it should stay nice for a very long time. If it's a pass-around-can't-take-my-hands-off-it-box then the lacquer won't do much good. Were it mine, I wouldn't hesitate to do the lacquer knowing it might need redone in a few years.
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  8. #8

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    I'm also about to do some brass work that will be polished up. Can anyone recommend an actual product. I know that no one wants plugs for products all over the board, but a lacquer or spray enamel is a pretty broad range of products. Can anyone throw their hat in the ring as to what product they've actually used and how well it worked.

  9. #9

    Post

    I have refinished many wooden head golf clubs with brass sole plates and used high gloss interior polyurethane. Don't use exterior polyurethane because it is designed to stay slightly soft. The key is to coat it right after polishing without touching it. If touched, fingerprints will show through and also allow the tarnishing process to work underneath the clear coat.

    Don't use naval brass, it is much harder to prevent tarnishing even if you are extremely careful.

  10. #10
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    Krylon makes a clear coat product designed explicitly for coating bare metal. I have used it (not on brass) and it holds up well.

    However, if you use a clear coat product when it does chip it is a real bitch to refinish. The chipped areas will tarnish and it really shows. You have to remove ALL of the existing clear coat, repolish and recoat. I did an old pair of large candlesticks that had been coated and it took a lot of work to bring them back.
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