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Boring brass spittoons. What to do? Answered

I have 2 very boring old brass spittoons I'm converting into planters.

Is there chemical compound or something else I can apply to the brass to change the appearance?  I'd like to jazz them up without using paint.

Any ideas?


If you want to show them off at home I would buff them as bright as possible without abrasives. Clean off all polish residue.Get a tin of paste wax for furniture or wood(johnsons clear will do or Butchers is best).Now the color of your choice in a shoe polish-paste not liquid. The shoe polish is your tint.A small ammount mixed in will give you a transparent aged look that will not occlude the brass underneath.With tinted waxes,less is more.Use it sparingly at first,you can always add more.If your color starts to dry,a few drops of naptha will loosen it(any paint store). Since naptha cuts wax and you will get a pint or a quart, use this and paper towels or rags for clean up.As to diminishing the value...if these or any pieces made of anything are not highly collectable, or they were not aquired for the purpose of generating profit at resale but to enhance your life,then do with them as you will. Should you live with something degraded and a genuine eyesore because they may be worth something to your grandchildren if left alone? Do as you will......


7 years ago

If there is a hint of value in them do only the gentlest cleaning on the metal.
I see weakly someone scratch through engraving and loose $2000 to $3000
in value by cowboy cleaning.

Of course we load ours with ugly scratcy pocket change


No danger in that. Both spittoons are common enough. Thanks for your reply.

In some areas, brass "anything" goes at auction for about twice the value of the "thing" itself :-) What iceng says is true though, especially of things like coins, where cleaning them up could lower the value tremendously even if one is careful. If they truely are brass and not just coated, this is less likely, but if only coated, it is easy enough to wear off the coating with abrasive cleanings (for instance, do NOT polish silver plated anything....use a dip that converts the silver oxide back into silver.....ooops. sorry, I tend to ramble a bit LOL )

ALL if Kiteman's suggestions are good ones, but if you only want to change the appearance a little (like antiquing it) you can use something similar to this antiquing gel....

Heat will change them - you could try blasting them with a blowtorch, maybe over stencils.

You can get silver "polish" that is a chemical paste that leaves a thin layer of silver on more-reactive metals (like copper).

Look into electro-plating, maybe masking off areas with wax, then dunking the whole thing in a metal bucket of a salt like copper sulphate, and connecting the plater and the bucket into a circuit (make sure planter and bucket do not touch).

Thanks! I'll try torching them first and see what happens.