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  • brass cleaning

    Hi What's the best thing to clean old brass?I heard sulphuric acid is good but don't like to have that stuff around.But if it works I will try it any thoughts?Alistair
    Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

  • #2
    I've never tried this as most of my brass polishing is on small parts that I need to buff anyway so I just use a soft cotton cloth and clear-coat polish or a trip to the buffer with some Brownells 555 (http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/sto...GRAY%20POLISH), but, I recently saw this:
    SIMPLE SOLUTION: Most commonly used kitchen cupboard or refrigerator ingredients that contain a natural acid, such as vinegar, Tabasco Sauce, ketchup, tomatoes, milk, and lemon or lime juice, will remove tarnish.
    "Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not."~ Thomas Jefferson

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    • #3
      Only one word you need to know - 'Brasso'

      See here: http://www.stanleylondon.com/brasso.htm

      I took army ROTC for 2 yrs in college, and used it almost every day to make the insignia shine. The stuff works like magic!!
      Lynn (Huntsville, AL)

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      • #4
        I agree with the Brasso.........but..........why clean it?? If you let it go long enough, it makes a very nice "GREEN" color.........LOL
        RPease

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        • #5
          Brass cleaning

          Citric acid will work and is more friendly than others.

          One of my other pass times is handloading cartridges for my firearms. Often at the shooting range, other shooters will leave their brass behind. Sometimes this brass will get a bit tarnished and stained if left out in the weather. Tumbling in walnut shells and rouge or ground corncob will usually clean these up but for really stubborn stains I soak the brass in citric acid. Citric acid is available from your local drug store and they sell it for human consumption. It comes in powder form in about pint quantities.

          I mix it a tablespoon full to a quart of warm water. I mix enough for an 8 x 12 Pyrex baking dish. The solution turns a little greenish as the acid works on the brass. Rinse it with water when you finish and I dry it in the oven at about 250 degrees.

          I can't remember how much I paid but it wasn't a back breaker.

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          • #6
            Bright Dip for Brass

            When I was a kid, my grandfather used the best bright dip for brass I've ever seen. He made it by dissolving a cyanide egg in hot water & using *very* heavy gloves to immerse & wipe the brass -- outdoors & with a little breeze. OSHA would be OK with that, wouldn't they? 8)

            Wouldn't let me do that when I got old enough, set up a buffing wheel & taught me to polish instead.

            Sulfuric acid and the like will remove the um, patina, but won't give a reflective surface. For that you need Brasso for small stuff (did my time in Cadet Corps & ROTC, too) or buffing wheel (for small or large). I'd recommend Zam as a 1 step polishing compound.

            BillB

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            • #7
              Brass Cleaning

              If you only want it clean, then citric acid or some of the other recipes work well, but if you want it to SHINE, then you must add the magic ingredient "elbow grease." I believe that Brasso has, along with its chemical mix, whiting or superfine chalk to give it that creamy texture. When you add the elbow grease it produces that wonderful gleam. None of the chemical dips can duplicate it. Duffy
              Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec

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              • #8
                In a pinch toothpaste will work, we all have some of that around the house. (I hope)

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                • #9
                  +1 on elbowgrease...
                  Dip a cork in some cigar(ette) ashes and rub.
                  To polish, repeat but with a soft cloth instead of a cork.
                  Ashes aren't as abrasive as they seem and the cork allows you to keep sharp edges sharp an flat surfaces flat...

                  Runt

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                  • #10
                    There's a product called Nev-R-Dull, which is basically Brasso-soaked cotton wadding. It comes in a navy blue can about 3 inches in diameter and about the same tall. You just pull off a chunk of the wadding and get to wiping. I like it because it's impossible to get a big orange-yellowish puddle all over the floor if you knock the can over.

                    Stuart
                    Stuart de Haro

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                    • #11
                      Brass Cleaning

                      I have had the best results with metal polish made by "Flitz"-- available in liquid or paste. Cleans, leaves nice polish, and acts like "Brasso" but much, much faster. Cleans old brass cartridges in 1/3 the time required when using "Brasso"

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                      • #12
                        This article I have is made up of a series of small thin wires and would be hard to do by hand.Alistair
                        Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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                        • #13
                          Nevr-dull, a Fireman Apprentice and a chit with his name on it for a weekend pass.
                          The brass on my tug never looked better!
                          Len

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                          • #14
                            Sulphuric acid works great, take standard battery acid, it's about 37% acid plus water, dilute 7 to 1 with distilled water, it will clean brass, copper etc. in a few minutes. It leaves a mat finish but very clean, good for cleaning before brazing and after brazing to remove flux from hard to get at spots. This is a weak solution but still dangerous to the eye's, it's best to wear goggles anyway, keep away from pets and kids and idiots. The best part is after you have used it for a while it becomes contaminated with the copper from the material you cleaned and if you dunk clean steel in it for a few minutes it will lightly plate out a copperish finish, great as a layout coloring. It will last indefinitely if stored in at tight sealing plastic pail, I use an old plastic 5 gallon oil pail with a rubber gasket in the lid to prevent evaporation.
                            The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

                            Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

                            Southwestern Ontario. Canada

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                            • #15
                              Sulphuric works well,but is perhaps overkill for a bit of brass.
                              I would stick with the citric acid,in your local supermarket in the baking aisle.
                              Hot water,a couple of teaspoons of the powder,and gentle agitation.if you leave it overnight,it won't eat the whole piece of material.
                              I don't know how big your piece is,Alstair,but if you happen to have one of those paint roller trays,use that.Other than that perhaps an old baking tray.
                              Btw,citric acid is also very effective at cleaning the scale out of your electric jug/kettle,and oh so cheap
                              Hans

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