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  1. #1
    collector1
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    Default best way to clean & brighten brass--w/o ultrasonic


    Cleaning and removing all stains/tarnish, etc., from brass plates and parts on old movements drives me crazy---is there a simple (say liquid dip) that will do this AFTER the parts have been cleaned either manually or ultrasonically
    Actually, I prefer to clean parts the old fashioned way--by hand, not ultrasonically, using Chem Crest 270 and then 165. Maybe someone has a better method here as well. I disassemble everything first.
    PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!!

  2. #2

    Default Re: best way to clean & brighten brass--w/o ultrasonic (RE: collector1)

    Yes, dip in household ammonia for about 3 minutes (full strength outside in fresh air). Brush the stubborn spots with a soft brass brush. Also check other threads here about issues with the use of ammonia. It's a controversial topic.

    BE SURE TO RINSE WELL AND DRY.

    Bob C
    [edit=4372=1200507861][/edit]

  3. #3
    Registered User Kevin W.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: best way to clean & brighten brass--w/o ultrasonic (RE: collector1)

    Collector.I dont fully understand.Movements that are not seen do not need to be shiney.They will tarnish, it is normal.If it is a anniversary clock for exaple the plates have a protective coating.
    I think this question was brought up before.
    Just my opinion, but i dont really want a shiney movement in a 130 year old clock, unless it is on display, eg, crystal regulators and anniversary clocks.
    One clock at a time. Kevin West
    http://www.global-horology.com/GHMB/

  4. #4
    Registered User Kevin W.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: best way to clean & brighten brass--w/o ultrasonic (RE: collector1)

    Should have re read your question.
    One clock at a time. Kevin West
    http://www.global-horology.com/GHMB/

  5. #5

    Default Re: best way to clean & brighten brass--w/o ultrasonic (RE: collector1)

    I use Deox 007 for cleaning. It is a biodegradable waterbased cleaner that also deoxidizes and brightens brass. If it still needs some work, a soft bristle brass brush works wonders. After cleanind rinse in Polytech 2CB. Both of these are products of US Polychemical and are available from Merrits. Nice thing is you can dump the stuff down the drain when done.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: best way to clean & brighten brass--w/o ultrasonic (RE: collector1)

    I am sure we have been here before!

    If it was polished when it was made, polish it, and vice-versa.

    Hiding tarnish if it cannot be seen is lazy.

    Here is what I do without any expensive chemicals:

    If clock is very dirty, an initial clean with your favourite brightener, maybe use an ultrasonic. Do any repairs at this point.
    Then you need three clock brushes, some Brasso or similar, IPA or petrol, a chalk block. A movement blower is useful.
    • Brush all parts, including wheel teeth, with Brasso, and wipe off the excess.
    • Wash all traces of Brasso off thoroughly and dry them.
    • Polish lightly with a soft chalked brush and blow any chalk dust off.

    The picture below is a clock I cleaned about 10 years age and it still shines.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 4002.jpg  
    Mike - banned member of the throwaway society.

  7. #7
    Registered User Scottie-TX's Avatar
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    Default Re: best way to clean & brighten brass--w/o ultrasonic (RE: collector1)

    Ammonia does work or course. I prefer TARN-X. Costs a liddle more. Works a liddle bedder. Doesn't smell QUITE as bad but not a pleasant smell. It's a dip deal you like. I follow up with a light rub with 0000 steel wool for best results altho not necessary. Steel wool adds a gloss.

  8. #8

    Default Re: best way to clean & brighten brass--w/o ultrasonic (RE: collector1)

    Quote Originally Posted by Scottie-TX
    Ammonia does work or course. I prefer TARN-X. Costs a liddle more. Works a liddle bedder. Doesn't smell QUITE as bad but not a pleasant smell. It's a dip deal you like. I follow up with a light rub with 0000 steel wool for best results altho not necessary. Steel wool adds a gloss.
    I didn’t know that TARN-X made a dip, where did you find it? All I’ve seen comes in a little bottle and seems to be similar to Brasso and similar polishes.

    I believe the main advantage of ammonia is that it’s very inexpensive and it has no abrasive component, so it simply washes away with water. If a polished (shinny bright) surface is the objective, then Tarn-X, Brasso, 0000 steel wool, or some other abrasive polishing compound is required.

    The choice to brighten and/or polish brass movements that are not normally seen has more to do with human expectations than horology. We expect apples in the store to be shinny, food to be a certain color, and brass to glisten. If someone brings me an old mantel clock from a yard sale and asks me to “clean” and service it, I usually brighten the brass plates because my customer expects to get back a clock that looks clean. Likewise, if I’m preparing a clock to sell, I’ll brighten the brass because many people judge the overall condition of the clock (correctly or incorrectly) by the way it looks. If the clock belongs to a serious collector, I usually advise against brightening brass parts that can’t be seen unless the customer desires this treatment. As for my own collection, sometimes I get a clock that’s just so grungy that there’s no choice but to brighten or polish the brass to make it even “decent looking”.

    Bob C.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: best way to clean & brighten brass--w/o ultrasonic (RE: collector1)

    The choice to brighten and/or polish brass movements that are not normally seen has more to do with human expectations than horology. We expect apples in the store to be shinny, food to be a certain color, and brass to glisten. If someone brings me an old mantel clock from a yard sale and asks me to “clean” and service it, I usually brighten the brass plates because my customer expects to get back a clock that looks clean. Likewise, if I’m preparing a clock to sell, I’ll brighten the brass because many people judge the overall condition of the clock (correctly or incorrectly) by the way it looks. If the clock belongs to a serious collector, I usually advise against brightening brass parts that can’t be seen unless the customer desires this treatment. As for my own collection, sometimes I get a clock that’s just so grungy that there’s no choice but to brighten or polish the brass to make it even “decent looking”.

    Bob C.
    Bob,

    You said it very well; all I would add is that very often people "buy with their eyes". Thus there is much emphasis on making things look attractive, often to make a sale.

    It reminds me of cleaning engines on automobiles. It may make what is under the hood look more impressive, but it won't make it run any better.

  10. #10
    Registered User Scottie-TX's Avatar
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    Default Re: best way to clean & brighten brass--w/o ultrasonic (RE: collector1)

    "LOWES" hardware and "HOME DEPOT", for two.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: best way to clean & brighten brass--w/o ultrasonic (RE: collector1)

    Quote Originally Posted by R.
    The choice to brighten and/or polish brass movements that are not normally seen has more to do with human expectations than horology.
    My criterion is simply to make the movement as it looked when it was made - nothing more than that.

    On the rare occasions when I sell a clock, it's up to the prospective buyer whether they want it or not; the clock will look like it is at that time. If it dirty or clean, and they want the converse, someone else will buy it.

    We expect apples in the store to be shinny, food to be a certain color, and brass to glisten.
    Bob C.
    It is interesting, albeit a bit off-topic; we choose food by smell, taste and colour.
    If anyone has ever been to the Bradford (West Yorks) Colour Museum, they show a meal on a plate; green sausages, blue chips and purple peas! There is a caption saying something like "Would you eat that?"
    If I saw Russet apples that were "shinny" I would be very suspicious! Even the Discovery we pick off our apple tree are not shiny, but delicious.
    Back to clocks!
    [edit=1128=1200669474][/edit]
    Mike - banned member of the throwaway society.

  12. #12

    Default Re: best way to clean & brighten brass--w/o ultrasonic (RE: collector1)

    we choose food by small, taste and colour.
    Mike - over here we choose by big, taste and color! Maybe that's why we have such a big obesity problem

  13. #13
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    Default Re: best way to clean & brighten brass--w/o ultrasonic (RE: collector1)

    Quote Originally Posted by shutterbug
    we choose food by small, taste and colour.
    Mike - over here we choose by big, taste and color! Maybe that's why we have such a big obesity problem
    The UK seem to be second place in that one, SB; a lot of people are very concerned about kids having obesity problems here as well. I've fixed my typo but left it on here

    Mike - banned member of the throwaway society.

  14. #14
    Registered User deena's Avatar
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    Default Re: best way to clean & brighten brass--w/o ultrasonic (RE: collector1)

    I also have the same question. I did a search on the subject but got hundreds of pages and could not narrow it down.
    I can't take the smell of the amoniated cleaner I now use in my ultrasonic. It smells up the whole shop.
    What works as well without the stink?
    clock_girl
    Wisdom doesn't always come with age. Sometimes age comes alone.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: best way to clean & brighten brass--w/o ultrasonic (RE: collector1)

    Deena
    I use ammoniated cleaner in a plastic box with a tight-fitting lid, and discard it outside, washing the parts there with boiling water.
    No smell at all.
    Mike - banned member of the throwaway society.

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