Chiff and Fipple Forums

Polishing brass
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Author:  fel bautista [ Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Polishing brass

I'm starting to oxidize the brass keys and bass bar on my full set, which, I think, is a good thing. It means I'm playing it. But, I want to keep the brass nice and brite. I was thinking specifcally of those wipe-y tissues except for metal?? I have thought of that cotton batting that has polish imbeded in it, but was looking for more ideas.

Author:  MTGuru [ Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polishing brass

Don't know about pipes specifically, Fel. On all my brass I use Simichrome, which I'm sure you're familiar with from the world of bicycles. In fact, I recently polished my De Keyzer half set, both chanters. Took forever - 40 separate pieces of brass - but it turned out great.

A lot of people recommend Sunshine Cloths, including (I think) Michael Eskin. These Japanese-made chem cloths are non-abrasive, and are available at great prices from this eBay store in (I think) the LA area: ... ec0Q2em322

Haven't tried them yet myself, but ordering a pile of them is on my short to-do list.

Author:  PJ [ Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Polishing brass

Be careful of what you use, as some products will increase the oxidization. I used a product called NevR Dull (Duraglit in Ireland & UK) to polish up the brass on my pipes but it left a residue which reacted with perspiration and left green streaks all over the pipes.

I don't know what the wipes will do for the brass on your pipes but try it on one key to begin with. Though I suspect you'd be better keeping a roll of Scott towel close by and using that to wipe the keys after practising.

Author:  Johnniez [ Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Polishing brass

I use the same Never Dull as you do PJ.. I used to use it on my aluminum on my Harley years ago. and your right there is a greenish thing that happens if you don't get it all off.

I found that after I polish up the brass with Never dull I take a clean soft rag like terry cloth, or old cotton t-shirt, and really wipe off everything then I use Renascence wax and then do the polishing. [I guess you could use any type of car wax but I like the Renascence wax.. I use it on every thing including my MacCallum GHB].

If I us the Never Dull that way they come up just sparkling shiny. Not sure what the stuff is in the Never Dull but it does do some funny stuff although it sure cleans up the oxidization.

At the end of it all Never Dull really works to get rid of the oxidization to a gleaming shinny surface but has to be really cleaned off then waxed to increase the shine and puts a protective surface on the brass that really does last longer..

And Shine they Do !!!!


Author:  tommykleen [ Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Polishing brass

I dunno, Fel. If your set is like mine, then it has been played by some amazing pipers. I've given shining it up a thought but, ultimately, I didn't want to lose all that mojo.


Author:  irishpiper [ Tue Apr 06, 2010 9:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Polishing brass

Just a side note: For polishing chrome; use Windex. I have used it for years on my Harley and my chrome plated pipes; works great and is less abrasive then any polish out there.

Author:  uilleannfinlander [ Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Polishing brass

it's a neverending story with brass to keep it shiny.....we'll I polished allmost all parts(fullset) with polishing machine ,others with chrome polishingpaste.
When all parts were shiny and clean ,I sprayed 2 composite laquer on..(offcourse taped wooden etc parts)..allmost 2 years now, set shine still as new exept some small marks on regkeys heads.
(Bad thing is that all laquercompound must use between few hours after "opening" spray can.Hardener and laquer are now in the same can after broken mixing seal between these)

Author:  rgouette [ Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polishing brass

It's been a while since I shined the half set up: but when I was, I also used NeverDull:
I didn't experience any discoloration, but then again, maybe I'm just not playing them long enough
to generate sweat..
I also tend to use sparingly/carefully & not let the swab touch wood.

We used it in the Navy, and it's the killerest stuff for shinyness..

my most humblest of .02


ps. I don;t think I've seen Brasso mentioned yet..good stuff.
Though, never have used it on pipes.

Author:  uillmann [ Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polishing brass

Close your eyes and become transported.

Author:  billh [ Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polishing brass

Windex, or any ammonia-containing brass or copper polish, is very bad news for brass. DON'T use it - the ammonia compounds get under the brass ferrules, into cracks and crevices, etc. and eat away silently. Also, as others have pointed out, these chemical polishes tend to accelerate tarnishing after the fact.

I would stay away from all of the chemical ones, and use only abrasive-based polishes. I've heard that Brasso is not a good choice either - though I am not certain it contains ammonia. Probably you should visit your local jeweler, rather than the hardware store, if you want suitable polishing materials.

There are ultra-fine abrasive based silver polishes which are probably the best choice. Koehler and Quinn recommend Cape Cod Cloths, if I recall correctly, which while impregnated with something-or-other, seem not to accelerate the return of corrosion as other compounds can.


P.S. - lacquer is great for awhile, but unless you are equipped to (safely) remove it (which uilleannfinlander is), I would not apply it. IMO scratched and peeling lacquer looks worst of all... something like Renaissance wax makes sense, as it just disappears as it wears away. It's what museums use, I understand, to preserve and protect metal surfaces.

Author:  Patrick D'Arcy [ Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polishing brass

Ted calls it "The Good $h!t" :)


Author:  MTGuru [ Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polishing brass

billh wrote:
Windex, or any ammonia-containing brass or copper polish, is very bad news for brass. DON'T use it - the ammonia compounds get under the brass ferrules, into cracks and crevices, etc. and eat away silently.

Interesting. That does appear to be so, resulting in a problem called season cracking. But the necessary factors seem to be prolonged or repeated exposure to ammonia or ammonia vapor, high temperatures, and highly stressed metal. None of which I'd reckon would be major factors in a one-time polishing.

Anecdotally, I've noticed no long term ill effects from the use of Simichrome (which contains ammonium oleate) on my brass whistles or fittings. The amounts applied are tiny, and are buffed and evaporated off immediately. Still, this is good to know about.

MTGuru wrote:
A lot of people recommend Sunshine Cloths ... These Japanese-made chem cloths are non-abrasive

Just adding ... I'm actually not 100% sure if these are non-abrasive or micro abrasive.

Author:  uillmann [ Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polishing brass

Why polish them? Yeah, okay, once a decade is sufficient, but just to remove the grime. A small chip of jewellers rouge will do, simply rub it on a t-shirt and go. Don't leave any residue between the key and block, though. If you really want to keep them shiny, you are in for a long and wearying life of brass polishing. And they look so honest, all brown and red... and played.

Author:  uilleannfinlander [ Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Polishing brass

about laquer I used...hard and stretch. Spraying needs some experiments to get good surface, and all metalparts must be washed and dried well after polishing before laquering.(No fingerprints etc)Imade some spcial jigs for certain parts to rotate them when laquering.
Well ,laquering is not final solution , but if it stands for several years, much less work than polishin weekly.

Author:  Ted [ Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Polishing brass

Brasso is an ammonia-bearing no-no. Ammonia "burns" and damages the surface of the brass causing faster and un-natural looking corrosion. It will tarnish quicker and gives an ugly patina. The patina on some modern brass alloys turns red and brown. The antique brass develops a nicer patina. Cape Cod cloths, Miracle cloths etc. clean the brass quickly and leave a protective wax which retards oxidation for months. You can polish with jeweler's rouge and let the patina develop naturally or add museum wax to protect the surface. Some people have very corrosive sweat. They not only tarnish, but deeply etch their sets. Such damage requires cleaning with tripoli and rouge polish on a wheel. For hand cleaning, Bon Ami works well. It is a soft abrasive, made from feldspar, which, while being used on a damp cloth, breaks down finer and finer during use, leaving a high polish by hand.

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