Brass dial cleaning

digitalpan

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Oct 29, 2012
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The brass dial from a Welsh longcase clock movement is to be re-silvered. I have dismantled the dial, and there is a considerable amount of corrosion on the brass under the corner spandrels, presumably where polish has lingered after attempted cleaning.

IMG_1100S.jpg

These corner areas are cleaning up quite well (I'm having to use very fine wet/dry paper due to the amount of corrosion), but the central area of the dial is a different matter. This has a textured surface:

IMG_1102S.jpg
I don't want to use any fine wet/dry abrasive on this as it will affect the texture. Does anyone have any suggestions about cleaning this part of the dial? Or if it's been dealt with anywhere here could you point me in the right direction? I can't find any references. By the way, it's far too large to go into my ultrasonic tank!

Thanks.
 

novicetimekeeper

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I use a soft brass bristled brush and horogrene cleaning materials. You need to preserve the matted centre finish and not lose the texture. The chapter ring and subsidiary seconds would have been silvered. The dialplate would just be brass.
 

DeanT

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I use a soft brass bristled brush and horogrene cleaning materials. You need to preserve the matted centre finish and not lose the texture. The chapter ring and subsidiary seconds would have been silvered. The dialplate would just be brass.
Nick's advice is good. The soft brass brush won't ruin the matting and hopefully the cleaning solution will loosen the tarnish.
 

bikerclockguy

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Nev'r Dull should do the trick, and the soft wadding won't harm the texture. It WILL remove lacquer though, so if the surface is lacquered and you are trying to preserve if, definiteley a no-go
 

novicetimekeeper

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just had a look at the dialplate, I would not use whatever you are using there, far too abrasive. Horogrene will clean it, the most abrasive thing I would use would be 00 steel wool.
 

novicetimekeeper

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I agree, but would even suggest 0000 steel wool.

JTD

yes, that too. I am only now using an abrasive on a clock dial for the first time ever and I have restored dozens, this one is in a very bad way, seems to have spent some time sat in rusty water, yours just seems mildly tarnished.
 

fbicknel

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Apr 14, 2017
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Whilst searching this board for cleaning silvered dials, I came across a post that sent me here:


I seems to me that once you find the right cleaning method, the resilvering process should go pretty much as in this video. The tough part will be making sure the low spots are all cleaned down to the brass.

I would be tempted to find a piece of scrap brass and put a bunch of small dents in it to simulate your surface; then clean it, and see how the silvering takes to the surface.

Practice. :)

Maybe ask the guy in the video on youtube. He seems a friendly chap; willing to answer questions.
 

novicetimekeeper

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The matted centre of the dial should not be silvered, it's as simple as that. Dial centres were silvered on late brass dials, but they were either smooth and plain or smooth and engraved, never matted.
 

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