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Need help with antique brass lamp Answered

Hello All:

I found this antique brass lamp and would like to restore it. I'm looking for information on how to clean it up and remove the tarnish. There's the chemical way (for instance, Brasso or others) or the "natural" way (I saw a vinegar, salt, flour paste). Has anyone had any experience with this that they can share?

Also, I'm looking at what the final restoration will be. I have 3 ideas:
1. Restore it to it's brassy, original self with a torchiere globe (as in the last picture),
2. Restore it to original but modify it with an RGB LED nightlight in the base (next-to-last picture),
3. Clean it up but give it a steampunkish look by painting it a copper color, adding Edison bulbs to the 3 armatures, and maybe some etching on the globe.

Any other ideas?




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6 years ago

Most of what I can see is cast iron though....

My mum had a very similar lamp and all brass was either coated with some enamel finnish for protection or no brass at all, some parts were made from steel and finnished to look like brass.

Double check with a magnet if not sure ;)

For the steel parts I recommend for hand cleaning:
stainless steel wire brushes or various stiffnesses and once all loose rust is removed to soak it all in Phosphoric Acid, you can get it in any hardware store in bulk or smaller quantities as "rust remover".
For easier cleaning I would sandblast ist with a soft grid or glass beads, as it is cast you already have a rough finnish that will look quite original once blasted.

For the brass I would use good metal polish for everything that offers a smooth surface.
The brass that is not machined but cast cleans nice and shiny using a spinning wire brush on a dremel or electric drill for bigger parts - please wear safety googles and gloves as the wires can fly off and hurt you!
I often create a copper like finnish on brass using a Zink Chloride solution (simply dissolve zink in cold hydrochloric acid until no more zink dissolves).
Please only do this outside (fumes) and wear proper face and body protection as well as nitrile gloves - zink chloride is nasty on your skin and clothing.

Even really old brass gets a nice old copper tone (untreated) or a fresh new copper color if cleaned and sealed against air.
I might have some brass somewhere in the shed and can take a pic if you like to see the look zink chloride creates.