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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 04-13-2004
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Cleaning Brass

We have a boat with lots of bronze and brass (ports, hatches, mainsail traveler, etc.). What is a good method for removing verdigris, the green crusty oxidation. Has anyone used a dremel with a fine wire brush and buffer? Liquid cleaners don''t seem to do the trick. I tried a small section with the dremel which worked great but I was worried about possible scratching/damage.
Thanks,
Kim
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Old 04-13-2004
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Cleaning Brass

This or last month''s Cruising World suggests using a random orbital palm sander with terrycloth or towel in the place of sandpaper. There are aparently some pads with brass cleaner/polish in them that are also made for this purpose. IMHO steel wire brushes WILL scratch the softer metal and wear it down too fast. I spent a summer polishing brass on a 1929 Elco - watching it turn green at one end before I''d gotten to the other was really frustrating. Wish I''d seen that article sooner!
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Old 04-14-2004
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Cleaning Brass

Try catsup! Test it on a few spots first, as I found that not everything with verdigris reacts the same. Some pieces--chafing guards and eyestraps--came out looking like new, but the turnbuckles look a little too pink and patches of the verdigris didn''t come off. Leave it on for 2-3 days. Timing may be very important. The acid eats the verdigris. The catsup will turn dark and harden. Wash it off with a brush and then buff with fine steel wool or bronze wool. Then coat with Penetrol.
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Old 04-15-2004
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Cleaning Brass

There are some products available in better kitchen supply stores used to clean cookware that work well. You basically wash down with water and a towel. Collinite metal wax over the cleaned metal extends longevity.

In some traditional boatyards, brass and bronze are washed down with salt water to even out the oxidation. The surface oxidation acts as a protective layer for the bulk of the fitting.
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Old 04-20-2004
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Cleaning Brass

I have used "Never Dull" it works wonders. You have to remove all the crutsits first. You can find it at the automotive parts store. It is cotton inprgnated with something to clean metals. It works wonders on stainless too. The best I have found, as we restore an old boat with "Patiniaed" bronze fittings is to remove the fitting, run it on a buffer with "White Diamond" (you can get a brick of it at a jeweler''s supply store) and it puts a mirror finish on the bronze/brass. No sanding. rebed the fitting (it probably needed it anyway) then use the neverdull to keep it clean.

Hope that''s helpful.

Paul G.
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Old 04-21-2004
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Cleaning Brass

What the heck is a "crutsik" and how do you remove it?

I''d installed one of those deck prisms with a brass frame, and made the mistake of using black caulking. Stuff smeared across the brass, and wiping it off with acetone seemed to ruin the finish. I''d gotten it back to a good luster, but this spring it isn''t coming up right. Lots of brown stains, rainbow colored spots. Used an abrasive paste, forget the name, that worked well last year.
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Old 04-23-2004
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Cleaning Brass

Thanks for the great advice. It''s nice to have so many options.
Kim
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Old 06-10-2011
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brass cleaning

I have 14 brass opening ports. I used to have to clean and polish them once a month to keep them from turning green.
Two years of experimenting has produced the folloiwing.
Professional brass/bronze re-finishers start with a 50/50 salt and vinagar solution to clean moderate corrosion. If stubborn green stuff remains, I use 1000 grit wet or dry with any light oil. Wash thoughly with fresh water. I then use a good polish. The better results have been with Auto-Sol, Wichard, Collinite or Flitz. Mechanical buffing will not be as effective as hand buffing. Use polish sparingly with a lot of elbow grease. Buff off with a soft towel. To preserve the finish, I clean thoroughly with acetone or lacquer thinner. I then spray the surface with 3 light coats of clear acrylic lacquer. This will last 2-3 years if nor abraded or badly scratched. Lots of work but well worth it.
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Old 06-10-2011
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Verdigris is soluble in a solution of alcohol and lemon juice (citric acid). For BRONZE, compounds containing citric acid will 'hasten' the removal of the verdigriss - copper acetate.
Best for 'polishing' BRONZE is to first sand down flat - down to 1000 grit, then use a buffing wheel and jewelers rouge. Remove all oils, etc. with acetone, etc. then multiple spray coat with clear urethane, then flat sand and 'polish' the urethane with Finesse-it™ or Perfect-it™... will last about 3 yrs. in exterior applications.

Just as the ancients did to polish BRONZE, those who clean 'museum' bronze use a mix of: pumice, beeswax, wine, salt and lemon juice .... then apply many thin coats of hot olive oil and beeswax so that the bronze turn brown (Copper oxide) instead of green (copper acetate).

For brass, just use an abrasive chemical cleaner .... such as "Flitz", BRASSO, or Never Dull. If there is a lot of surface corrosion, flat sand first before polishing.

;-)
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Old 06-11-2011
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We pick up a product called Prism Polish at a recent boat show. I haven't used it on the boat yet but we are refurbishing a house and that stuff works really well for polishing everything metal. We've used it on hinges, door knobs, cabinet pulls, etc. and it is really amazing stuff.

* I have no interests in the company other than being a really satisfied customer.
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