The Big Picture
There is more to polishing brass than just the polishing. Just what you are polishing can make a big difference. Many brass items are coated with a protective material to stop them from tarnishing. This coating often fails ( sometimes over many years ) and the tarnish is under the coating. In order to polish the item you need to remove the coating, I have one lamp where I still have not figured out how to get the coating off, so it is still unpolished. Sometimes the coating deteriorates and is gone by the time you are ready to polish and sometimes you can use a solvent or paint remover to get it off. But this instructable is not about removing the coating, use it if:
- You have determined there is no coating.
- You have gotten the coating off
- Many softer coating will polish off, try to test before you go big time.
Also note that some brass object have deliberately non polished or colored areas, this technique may be too brutal to be used on these objects.
When you have finished polishing you can either add a coating or not. If you do not add a coating plan to polish again ( on a boat perhaps next week, in a house perhaps next year ), this is what I often do. Even if you do coat it will not be permanent. Again this is not an instructable about coating, but about polishing but I will give a few tips later in the instructable.
A couple of other things to look out for:
- Baldwin has a brass that never tarnishes, just leave it alone. ( by the way it is nice stuff if you can afford it )
- All that looks like brass may not be, if plated you may detect with a magnet, polishing plate may remove the brass down to the base metal ( which may not be magnetic ).
- This method is a bit harsh for minor tarnish.
- Some objects are not meant to be bright.