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Brass - Shining Small Parts

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I have some small and intricate brass parts (small portholes) I need to get shining.  They're really not too bad now, just a little dull, but I'd like to get them bright before filling them with RTV to simulate the glass, and installed.  They're really too small to polish by hand, and was hoping someone had a tip on a chemical or paste I could use?  Also looking for any feedback you have on keeping the brass looking good long term.  Thanks in advance! 

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When you say too small (your name?) how small are they and what boat are they for? Perhaps a picture of them and size would be useful. In order to polish anything there is a need to use some form of movement with a medium, cloth, felt, with a polishing compound. This can be as simple as some toothpast on a piece of Matt board and rub the item back and forth. Sometimes after brass has been polished and then cleaned with alcohol it is sprayed with a clear laqueur.



Current builds  Bristol Pilot Cutter 1:8;      Skipjack 19 foot Launch 1:8;       Herreshoff Buzzards Bay 14 1:8

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If they are not to delicate they can be polished in a tumbler.  A kids rock tumbler is perfect for this.  image.png.b0e38b78c866d846922e98fc48c1b021.png

Use a fine medium like ground walnut shell or corn cob with a shot of liquid polish like Brasso.  The finer the medium the better the result will be.  Add a shot of Brasso or other liquid polish to the medium.  Don't use the grit sold with the tumber, much to harsh for brass.  Put everything in the tumbler barrel and let run for 30 minutes or so.  Take out one of the parts and check the state of the polish.  If it needs more time do it in increments of 10 minutes or so.  After it looks good rinse with acetone and let dry.

Edited by grsjax

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grsjax - Actually, I do reload and hadn't thought to use my reloading tumbler, so thanks!  I'll stick them in next time I'm home with the corncob / walnut mix and see how it treats a few of them.  


Michael - I guess it's not that I couldn't polish these pieces, I could do it using a rotary tool, or some q-tips and brasso, but they aren't really in that bad of shape.  I was hoping there was a chemical solution I could dip them in just to get the slight dullness off.  Most folks would say they were "shiny" but I've polished enough brass in my life to know better.  I'm not able to upload pictures right now; I'm guessing most people wouldn't even fool with them at this point.


The pieces are about 1/4" across and perhaps less than 1/4" tall (deep).  I've got maybe 20 of them for the Bowdoin kit by BlueJacket. 


Thanks for the help!



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I am experimenting with silver soldering and done a bit of reading and had a couple of attempts. Apparently, to restore the shine, dip the brass pieces in a solution of hydrogen peroxide+ sodium bisulphate (not tried this yet). I tried acid pickling with vinegar for copper, works brilliantly, removes fire scale and restores the shine very quickly, especially if heated. 

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To keep the shine, I ve found Renaissance wax is brilliant. I think museums use it to keep metal things shiny. I ve used it 3 years ago on my previous boat, all brass components are still as shiny.

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