Help Tarnished brass dial

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by cjer, Aug 3, 2020.

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  1. cjer

    cjer Registered User
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    Jan 12, 2015
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    Hello, this is the dial on an old German long case clock. The numbers on the dial appear to be screen printed. I'd like to know which method of tarnish removal would be safe for the screen printed numbers. I'm quite certain that rubbing any abrasive cleaner on this dial would remove the numbers.
    Thanks,
    Jerry 018904c8e01461eefac2f51ac80c429fa325f5a053.jpg
     
  2. tracerjack

    tracerjack Registered User
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    Jun 6, 2016
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    I don’t think it is possible (personal opinion) to remove the tarnish without removing the screen print as well. The one time I tried to carefully polish a fairly large pendulum bob with a single screened line, I could not prevent damage to It. I can’t imagine trying to avoid damage to the minute marks on yours. Most here believe if you can read the time, the dial is fine as is.
     
    Vernon likes this.
  3. Bruce Barnes

    Bruce Barnes Registered User

    Mar 20, 2004
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    As tracerjack has said, it can be dicey at best......I would suggest a mild liquid hand/facial soap, in a bowl diluted with a little warm water and use a cotton ball very carefully and then rinse with warm water and blot dry or use a hair dryer at LOW setting. A lot of minor discoloration is a collection of particles over the year but rest assured it wont be "original" in looks but at least presentable.
    Bruce
     
  4. klokwiz

    klokwiz Registered User
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    Feb 4, 2009
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    Jerry. This type of dial is silvered which is a chemical process applying silver to the surface. the numbers are then applied and the dial would normally have a clear lacquer applied to protect the finish. If this is the process used on yours the tarnish is either the silver failing or the lacquer coating discoloring. In either case it will likely require a complete refinishing. But as has been stated here the dial is very presentable as is. So you have to decide. The painted or screened numbers are the real issue, there really isn't any way of fixing the coloration without possibly damaging them. And even if you "try" a spot what you normally end up with is a another coloration problem, a spot where you abraided the dial. So you must commit fully either way, leave it alone or be prepared to go all the way. Joe
     
  5. wow

    wow Registered User
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    Jun 24, 2008
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    It looks fine. Please don’t change it. The value and historically it will not be the same.
     
  6. S_Owsley

    S_Owsley Registered User
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    Jan 24, 2011
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    I think a gently swirled coat of Johnson's Paste Wax and buff with a t-shirt would probably work just fine.
     
  7. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Oct 19, 2005
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    If you do try it, test on a small area. If those numbers come off, you're in a world of hurt. Dial House could restore it for you .... but it's pricey.
     
  8. POWERSTROKE

    POWERSTROKE Registered User

    Jan 11, 2011
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    I personally like to leave the age on a clock. Making it look better is similar to what bad plastic surgery for old farts look like.
     

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