I don't have a brass era T, but I do have some brass I need to polish and preserve, so I am coming to the experts.
I am restoring an antique 19th century brass microscope and have it disassembled and am polishing the brass pieces to a high mirror-like shine. I am almost ready to apply the protective topcoat and need to find out the best, clearest, smoothest and most durable crystal clear aerosol topcoat (in a spray can), available to apply to the polished brass in order to preserve the mirror-like finish.
In past antique brass restoration projects, I applied what was supposed to be a crystal clear topcoat to the polished brass surface, but instead of being crystal clear, it dried to a milky appearance and dulled the shine of the brass, so I had to strip it and polish it all over again. This was years ago, and I did eventually find a good crystal clear topcoat to use over polished brass, but have since forgot what it was. Please let me know what you use to spray over the brass to protect and preserve the shine. Please be specific so there will be no question as to what you recommend. Thank you.
Jim, I have heard of folks actually gold plating their brass car parts to prevent tarnishing and subsequent polishing. Not 'aerosol', but may be worth looking into.
I believe the brass can still tarnish despite the gold plating. If you want to really seal the brass off, you have to nickel plate it, then you can gold plate on top of the nickel.
That may have indeed been the process.
Apart from nickel or gold plating, I know there are ways to protect polished brass by top coating, for I have many brass ceiling fixtures that I bought 20 years ago that were highly polished and protected with a topcoat that are still as shiny as when I bought them. A recommendation for a good crystal clear topcoat in an aerosol can is what I need. Thank you. Jim Patrick
A friend of mine who makes ink pens out of rifle cartridges uses Behlen Brass Lacquer & says it doesn't turn the metal dark.
Permalac , by Peacock Laboratories I have been very pleased with. I had use clear coating in the past and they always loss the bright finish and yellowed. Seems to hold up well and can be wiped of with solvent if needed. Contains UV and corrosive inhibitors. www.peacocklabs.com. I have it on some of the brass rails that everyone grabs looks as good as the day applied, 4 or 5 yeas ago.
Mike your T looks super cool!! Can you post more pictures of it? I'm not sure what they are, if it's a cover or what, but those brass hubs? outer hub covers? I don't know? Look awesome! Would really like to see a lot more of your car. 50 pics or so like the really good advertisements on eBay =D not that you are selling yours, but I just would like to see it all over.
Has anyone ever tried "Incralac"? Through my research I have read alot of good things online about it. Jim Patrick
Mike what is the name of the product you obtained from Permalac. Is it a lacquer? Does it come in an aerosol can?
Permalac, Incralac, phooey! We use Remulak on our mass quantities of brass!
I have been using a clear lacquer over some brass and also cadmium plated parts. My oldest finish job is only about a year old and looks good so far. That's not much of an endorsement for the product I used, but so far, so good. It's a product made for brass musical instruments by G. J. Nickolas & Co. and yes, it is in a spray can.
I'm still wondering what door knob manufacturers use for a clear coat. Whatever is is, my brass (outside) doorknobs looked perfect for 10 to 15 years and I live within 3 miles of the ocean. In areas where they are not routinely touched by human hand, they have lasted 20 years and are still OK.
Name on the spray can is Permalac interior -exterior clear lacquer Satin/Gloss.
A good friend gave me a couple of cans. He is in the Arkansas club, Mike Walker may know where they got it. Hey Mikey
Seth, if you were asking me, the car is behind a TT truck project and hasn't seen the light of day for a while. I will see if I can find some pictures and email them. It really is the wife's car but she lets me work on it,clean it and hasn't shined the brass once. We call it a 1913 but it really is a 19 every thing.
The name of the product is Permalac, as Mikey B. said. The same friend gave me my first can of it. Kinda' like drugs, the first one is always free. Google Permalac for sources. I polished all the brass on my '15 Touring and coated it with Permalac. It all worked fine, except the radiator. I never could get it coated satisfactorily. I coated it and stripped it off and did it again, a few times. I finally figured that if all the brass I needed to polish to get the car looking good is the radiator, I can handle that. The other parts still look great, after several years.
And yes, it comes in spray cans.
The clear coat that is applied to brass musical instruments at the factory is typically baked.
Likewise, the clear coat on your door knobs is probably also baked.
I called Nikolas the other day to find out who handled their line or if I could order direct. They said that McMaster-Carr handled it as stock no. 76885T75. Called McM and had it the next day.
Think I'll call Nikolas again and asked whether the properties can be improved by baking. No mention of baking on the aerosol can. I'll report back.
Dick. Have you used it yet? how did it work? I may call McMaster Carr and order a can.
I don't know if he still sells it but Jerry Hubert from out NW (Oregon, Washington, ???) used to sell some clear coating. You bake it on. A friend of mine has used it. I've heard the down side it that it's hard to get back off short of using something abrasive.
Yes, I have used the Nikolas clear lacquer in the past. But only one year ago. The parts have remained indoors and still look fine. But that's really not much of a test.
I did call Nikolas this morning to ask about baking the coating. Their technical guy was out, but he's supposed to call back this afternoon.
Sorry guys I know it is tempting to use a clear lacquer some of the coating over the brass, but you can spot that Mile away. Are you Flitz polish and all their products for my brass on the 1910. It requires repolish about every six months here in Texas where the humidity is so great. But I can see the depth and the color of brass that has been coated. there's a definite difference, put two pieces together and you'll see it immediately. Goldplating is also deeper and a definite difference between gold and Brass. Brass should be very bright and almost yellowy when it's polished the first time. It takes me less than one hour every six months to polish the 10.
Salt air from an ocean of some size makes it just a tad tougher to keep brass polished.
Durochem with its special thinner and then bake it. That is what they use in the household lamp industry.
They sell it by the gallon.It is an enamel.
OK, I just got off the phone with the Nikolas & Co. technical adviser. So I'll do a data dump here before I forget everything he told me.
In summary, there are a number of different clear coatings for brass, of which none is perfect for all applications.
At the bottom of the food chain is clear nitrocellulose lacquer. This comes in a spray can and is air-drying with no catalyst required. It is quite clear, fairly resistant to what he called "hand traffic", and easily removed when the brass needs to be polished. The bad news is that it is not resistant to ultra violet and will degrade faster in sunlight. Nikolas sells this product as indoor clear lacquer.
Next up the line is clear acrylic. The acrylic is also a single part paint available in spray cans. It is more resistant to ultra violet, but not as durable when it comes to handling and scuffing. Nikolas sells this product as outdoor clear lacquer.
The two top of the line products are two-part clear epoxy and two part polyurethane. Nikolas sells both of these products by the gallon. I didn't pursue them in my discussion because of the inconvenience in use for occasional small parts.
I also asked which type finish is used on things like doorknobs, which need to endure lots of handling and also last a long time. I was told that doorknobs are coated by an entirely different material and process. The coating is titanium based and applied through an elevated temperature vapor deposition process in an explosion proof oven. No doubt beyond our pay grade.
One last tidbit: When I sort of dismissed the simple clear nitrocellulose lacquer, the tech adviser countered that it represents a good compromise in durability and maintainability for many applications. For instance, many businesses that have brass handrails and other such fixtures typically have a contract with someone who strips, polishes and re-coats surfaces every six months or so. The ease of stripping and re-coating are the decisive factors.
So what to do ? If you really want to clear coat some brass, it looks like the cheapest indoor lacquer that they sell is the best deal. That is, providing you don't leave your T parked outdoors on a routine basis.
Thank you Dick.
I appreciate your research and inquiries on my behalf. I ordered one (1) can each of the indoor and outdoor protective aerosol lacquer from McMaster Carr. The Incralac I was researching is manufactured in the UK, but the hazardous materials fees to to import it into the US, amounted to 112.00BP (British pounds), which is $178.00 for one can and that does not include the cost for the Incralac. I did locate a US supplier of Incralac, so I ordered one can from a place called Garden Fun (www.gardenfun.com) and will report back on my results. Thanks everyone for all your help. Hopefully we can find a good product with which to protect your Model T brass. Jim Patrick
The most obvious clear which has been mentioned but not thought about is the Acrylic Urethane from Dick's conversation with a manufacturer.
This type of material is what is used on most modern cars as its top coat over a base color. A lot of people leave their cars out in the elements all the time and the clear coated color often outlasts the mechanics of the car.
Although most manufacturers use a baking system in production the repair industry has several clear coats available to it for respray work. The top of the range ones are ceramic based and offer great resistance to scratching and several luxury makes stipulate it be used to repair their cars.
A normal 2 pack clear of this type has UV protection and if you can't buy it in small quantities a body shop should be able to sell you a small amount, especially if you provide some containers for it.
I usually only get about a I/2 pint of the clear, you need a smaller amount of the hardener depending on the brand ( it may be 2:1, 3:1, 4:1 etc) and usually a small amount of thinner is also required. If you have a small spray gun and other equipment application takes slightly longer to do than a spray can, (mixing, clean up after)
My Town Car has numerous small brass parts, 10 years or more is possible with this type of clear. Any part which gets hot (radiator , gas lamps oil lamps ) forget the clear all of them quickly fail.
The Kamper has a manufacturers plate which I was able to get a copy of which is on the side of the body it has a protective coating on it of Urethane clear. Its been on there 17 years and I expect it to outlast me.
It seems to depend on how you cleaned your brass or its composition as to how long it is before the brass shows signs of discoloring. If you need to strip the brass a normal good quality paint stripper will do it without hurting the brass.
As its purpose is to keep the brass protected and prevent the having to constantly having to polish with sometimes an abrasive polish it seems that done once with a top of the line product is more than worth the effort.
I reported this on several occasions in the forum and I stand by it as a good coating for the brass. I took most of the brass off my 13 depot hack to a professional polisher in Wilmington NC. He polished the brass and then coated it with band instrument lacquer. It is very durable and the brass shines through it. He said baste on the fact that we don't abuse the cars, the finish should last 20 years.
Aerosol can? Brandname? Part number? Where to buy?
Jim Patrick, I don't know what the polisher used but I went to a local band instrument repair guy to get a can of lacquer (Band Instrument) that he uses and finished some of the small parts that I didn't have professionally done. They came out pretty good but honestly not as good as he did on the lights, horn and gas generator. Try to find a pro in your area that refinishes brass or find someone who works on brass instruments. Dick C.