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  1. #1

    Default Best/Easiest Way To Clean Brass Ornaments On Mantle Clock?

    I have a Seth Thomas Mantle clock. It has brass feet and column holders that are brass and very ornate. I cleaned once some column holders with the brass cleaner for cleaning the brass movements and it stripped one column holder to the base metal. I really do not want to use Maas or paste, it will take too long and will never get into the crevices. Is there something I can use that I can soak that will not harm the finish? Or is there another way to clean this? Appreciated, thanks.
    Popeye-Love This Forum!!!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Best/Easiest Way To Clean Brass Ornaments On Mantle Clock? (By: popeye)

    I'll touch on a few simple things that you won't experience but others may.

    The first thing to consider when trying to polish brass is whether or not it has a finish (or sealant) on it. Geneally this is a lacquer that has an additive (oxalic Acid) in it to allow it to bond with the metal. If when you are trying to clean the brass it seems to be getting no where, it's probably sealed.
    To remove the sealant, use either acetone or a 50-50 mix of acetone and lacquer thinner and wash over the area with a cotton rag or a bristle brush. Don't use a fiber pad or other scrubbing pads. The acetone will melt the pads and leave a real mess and the pads, in the meantime, will scratch the brass.
    After cleaning the brass thoroughly, apply some semichrome paste (or any of the other varieties on the market) and rub the surface thoroughly using a foam brush. This should lighten the brass and will leave the crevices a little darker for that antique look. This method is the safest method to clean the brass with if it is either brass plated or electroplated. After the brass is cleaned to your satisfaction, clean it with lacquer thinner and spray with brass sealer (available at most home hardware centers)

    If you're sure the brass is solid, remove the finish in the same manner and submerse the brass in TarX. This will etch the outter surface of the brass so it can be easily buffed mechanically or polished to a high shine useng any number of brass cleaners. Again, clean with lacquer thinner and seal when complete.

    I hope this helps!


  3. #3
    Registered User inbeat's Avatar
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    Nov 2000
    Phoenix, AZ

    Default Re: Best/Easiest Way To Clean Brass Ornaments On Mantle Clock? (By: popeye)

    The problem is that the ornamentation is not brass...it is pot metal...
    to make it look better, use "Rub N' Buff"...put it on with a toothbrush....then brush is off, leaving some of the color and some of the original color...looks good and not new....if you spray paint it , it looks too gaudy...

  4. #4
    Registered user. glr1109's Avatar
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    Jun 2002
    Genoa, NY

    Default Re: Best/Easiest Way To Clean Brass Ornaments On Mantle Clock? (By: popeye)

    Try straight detergent on a rag/soft bristled brush rub until clean...then wipe off.

    You'll find that straight detergent(I use Tide) is my answer to many cleaning problems. It tends to remove dirt/grime without removing finishes.

    I use this in cleaning movements and cases.


  5. #5
    Registered User Dave Heise's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Timonium (just North of Baltimore) MD

    Default Re: Best/Easiest Way To Clean Brass Ornaments On Mantle Clock? (By: popeye)

    For the pot metal ornamentation on an '05 vintage clock with not a great value, I've had the ornamentation re-plated in brass. Locally the cost was ~$90.00 and it sure looks better than the beat-up look that it had before.

    Actual cost on 2001 was $100.00. Since that time, I've found another plater/restorer who buffed and relacquered a ST Helmsman ship's wheel clock for $45.00.
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