I used to love the sight of brass...

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2016: I used to love the sight of brass...
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Coiro on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 10:59 am:

I need to ask about something with which we haven't dealt a whole lot. Mind you, this topic won't raise blood-pressure or redden the face as much as past debates over such things as which lady posing with a Flivver is prettiest, which motor oil type is best—or Heaven forbid—the advantage of left vs. right-handed cranking.

Now, I've aged to the point of such advanced decrepititude that just thumbing the remote at the TV can cause me to sprain something, so when it comes time to haul the car out of its winter hibernation and deal with all the pitted and tarnished brass, I face the alchemist task before me with a deep sigh and an Odyssean attitude of resignation. _It's a lousy job, but somebody has to do it. If I don't do it, it won't get done. Etc.

As of recent years, better living through chemistry has cut that all-day job down to a matter of just a few hours, but after yesterday's bout with the brass, even the modest effort of tapping this message out is parturitating the kind of grunts and groans normally associated with my getting out of a low sofa. _Oh, when reading of Mouskateers dying of old age, I become unequivocally cognizant of having crossed a significant age threshold!

So, what I need now is a recommendation of some kind of electric polisher of the size and shape beseeming the task of brass polishing. _Suggestions, please?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard Wolf on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 11:03 am:

Me too


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Seth in Alabama on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 11:11 am:

Lol Bob, dictionary.com does not know "parturitating", what word did you mean there?

I think you're going to have a hard time finding an acceptable power tool to polish brass. Especially with all of the different contours and shapes it takes on a Model T.

I really like Prism brass polish, you can get it on Amazon.com. Of everything I've tried it requires the least elbow grease.

My recommendation: find a teenager and pay them to polish the brass. They can be paid in money, meals, teaching them to drive, all sorts of ways.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les Schubert on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 11:12 am:

I've taken to nickle plating my brass. I've found enough original parts showing evidence of being nickle plated originally that I'm content it is correct enough!!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Gary Schreiber- Santa Isabel Ecuador on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 11:13 am:

Dremel tool with the appropriate buffers for the compound ?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard Eagle Idaho Falls on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 11:37 am:

I lusted for a brass car for many years. Now I have 4 and after polishing and polishing and polishing I have realized what a lovely rich color tarnished brass has. I believe it comes with age, experience, wisdom and maturity. Certainly not from laziness. @:0(


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Coiro on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 11:39 am:

Seth, I was joking. _To parturitate is to give birth. _In this case, giving birth to grunts and groans; grunts and groans and pain being a part of childbirth. _A silly, circular play on words. _Sometimes I can't resist._:-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard Wolf on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 11:57 am:

Snow, snow go away.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard Eagle Idaho Falls on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 12:03 pm:

I love a Fillet on words.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Robert Poane on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 12:20 pm:

Bob, I went with lacquering some brass like the lamps and windshield rods and and elbow grease for others.

I found the buffing wheel to be the best for hand held parts but need to be very very careful because as I am sure you know, items are often pulled out of the hand.

I also paid a music store to take dents out of the horn, but first I did the ketchup and white vinegar wrapped in plastic trick over night. The music man then put it in his solution (not muriatic acid) and that took off the tarnish in the cracks and crevices making it easier for me to polish.

Bob


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Val Soupios on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 12:30 pm:

Bob, as you know I have 6 brass era T's with differing amounts of brass. There is no easy way to polish brass and all the hand held gimmicks for doing it are limited at best. Once a year I take the brass parts off the car to the extent possible, dip them in Chore Boy and buff them with red rouge on a Baldor polisher I bought used many years ago. After that I give them a quick light polish with Flash because it has a decent additive that slows the oxidation process. While the removable parts are off I use an angle polisher with a good sponge pad to do the radiator, windshield frame and dash trim. I keep the brass covered after I am done and I touch it up periodically before it starts to tarnish too badly so a minimal effort is required. If someone has a better plan I want to know about it too!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Burger in Spokane on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 12:37 pm:

When I went through Academy, we had a week long course called Paradigm Training. Basically this:

The brain works on neural pathways. Tiny electrical impulses move through the spongelike meat matter
to cause all sorts of things to happen. Muscle response, sensation, sight, hearing, stimulation ... all that
stuff.

These pathways are much like a path through the proverbial forest. Blazing a new path is no different
than learning a new skill or idea. The example given was an infant being struck in the face. The infant
will know no better, and will be struck in the face. But with the experience of pain, will create neural path-
ways that cause the child to block the incoming blow, avoid the stationary object, duck, etc. to a point
where he/she does this without thinking. The pathway is so wide and established that it is more like instinct
than a learned behavior. However, the infant shows us it is learned.

Expand this to learning to ride a bicycle, drive a stick shift, etc. and we see clear instances where that
path might have been a challenge to blaze, but soon it is done without conscious thought.

"Paradigm" is what we know. Our familiar pile of methods and thinking that constitute our individual
bundle of neural pathways. It is how we, as individuals think and see the world differently. Just about
everything we do is through a paradigm, and the stim and attraction to polished brass on a car like this
is a learned behavior, just as is the acceptance that one HAS TO polish it and go through all the motions
and pains of doing so.

But it IS a learned behavior, and just as we learned it somewhere, so too can we blaze a different path
through the neural landscape and teach ourselves to see the equation differently.

As an example, I was originally drawn to big, finned American cars, and the louder the paint, the more
chrome, the bigger the engine, the better. It was the established "scene" and I accepted it as the way
(the ONLY way) to see the subject.

But I have a real short tolerance for idiots and blowhard know-it-alls, and (proving I ain't the sharpest
tool in the shed) after 20 years of playing THAT GAME ... car shows and the endless repetition of the same
thing over and over and over again, I began to see a different path through the forest. I still liked the old
cars. I just preferred it all through a filter of barn finds, little old ladies driving their ancient stripper sedan
to the grocery store, etc. No blowhards, chestpounding, no trailer queens, no polish-to-perfection. Rather,
it was more about "as found", Americana, patina, backroads and solitude, everything a hot weekend on
the pavement at a car show is not. 1947 recreated as authentically as possible without being contrived.

To my paradigm, the best possible scenario for brass car is one found in a basement garage after sitting
sitting since 1947. The brass has mellowed to that incredibly beautiful tone that only years and years of
aging can do. Shiny brass is only appropriate for a brand new car, and all other manifestations only ring
of car show blowhards. The very nature of NOT being allowed to patina dooms it to fall short of the best
possible result. But that's just me. That is my paradigm.

But is it seems an ever-present discussion about all the trouble and discomfort it involves to keep brass
polished, I only offer this up as a matter of thought ... why keep it polished at all ? What is behind one's
desire to keep it polished ? And is that really the best way to see things ?

Just sayin' ...


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Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 12:38 pm:

Any tarnish from sitting over the winter should be minor and take little effort to polish.

If you have major tarnish and pitting, you may have a storage problem.

BEFORE:

1

AFTER:

2


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Eric Dysart - SoCal on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 12:51 pm:

Impressive work, Erik.

When you say after, after what? What product did you use and how long did it take?

Eric


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Walker on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 01:23 pm:

Bob, you are (were) a chemist?

For those impossible jobs, I typically coat the offending surface with off-the-shelf ketchup, and cover it with Press N' Seal 'til I'm satisfied with the results.

The other day I dipped a brass gas tank cap that probably had 1920s-vintage tarnish on it; and I was amazed by the quick results, easy job the ketchup made of it.

I did the same with the brass radiator and brass horn, and enjoyed equally satisfactory results.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 01:51 pm:

That's a 1932 Conn 40B Vocabell trumpet that I picked up at an estate sale. The trumpet was never lacquered from the factory.

Didn't take long at all.

First, I disassembled it and gave it a bath in clock cleaning solution which is a mixture of water, ammonia, and Murphy's Oil Soap (i.e. oleic acid). Some folks also include acetone in the solution. This solution eliminates much of the tarnish and leaves the brass with a golden hue instead of a pink hue that you get if you use a mild solution of hydrochloric acid.

By the way, ammonia and oleic acid are the same ingredients that are used in Brasso, But Brasso also has mineral spirits and a mild abrasive.

After I gave the horn a bath and let it dry out, I hand polished it with Brasso (I pick up the older, better Brasso at estate sales).

Many people think that Brasso is very bad for brass because it contains ammonia. However, I found out that many folks in the musical instrument business - hobbyist and professionals alike - have no problem with it. (Folks who clean brass clock works also seem to have no problem with using ammonia.) The concentration of ammonia is small and it is used for only a short period of time.

I found out much of the information regarding ammonia and brass fracturing goes back to when the British made the mistake of storing ammunition in horse stables. Long term exposure to the ammonia in the horse urine caused the brass cartridge cases to crack, especially where they were crimped on the bullet. Long term exposure to high concentrations of ammonia can cause season cracking, especially if the brass has already been stressed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Season_cracking

I've come to the conclusion that this is not a concern when using low concentrations of ammonia for short periods of time, especially when I read the arguments for and against on the internet. Also, many of the folks who are adamantly against using Brasso will be surprised if they ever research the ingredients of their favorite brass polish which actually also may include ammonia.

1


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Harper - Keene, NH on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 02:06 pm:

Friends, Free yourselves from the Tyranny of Shiny Brass and the incessant drudgery of polishing; Brown is Beautiful.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Michael Pawelek Brookshire, Texas on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 03:29 pm:

David, Heinz, Del Monte or generic store brand? :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Walker on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 03:46 pm:

I think it was "Food Value" generic brand. Seriously amazing how well it works.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis-SE Georgia on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 04:17 pm:

Seems like years ago on the AACA forum, there were some having their brass gold plated. The consensus was that yeah, it's expensive, but was worth it. Heck, I've not parted with enough money to re-silver headlight reflectors. I sure wouldn't bother to gold plate any brass. I like the look of Bill's above. If I'm ever able to afford a brass T, I hope to find one just like that.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Gary M. Wheeler on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 05:43 pm:

Hi gang
I was recently introduced to WICKED metal polish and it is by far the best I've ever used (And I've used them all!!!) Easy on, easy off.







Gotta love that brass!!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les Schubert on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 05:58 pm:

I've had some pieces gold plated. It was cheap considering
The control leavers on my '13 are gold plated over nickle. Tough never tarnishes. Really didn't cost more than brass plating would have


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Frank Harris from Long Beach, CA on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 06:42 pm:

I nickel plate and then varnish, it looks just like brass, take a look at our 1906 moline!



moline


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Frank Harris from Long Beach, CA on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 06:43 pm:

I nickel plate and then varnish, it looks just like brass, take a look at our 1906 moline!




Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By R. S. Cruickshank on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 06:47 pm:

I hope this doesn't start a fight with purists but I have written on the forum some time ago about coating the brass. I had a professional polisher, one who polishes (band instruments, decorative pieces and hardware), polish all the lights, horn, and gas generator and then coat it with "band instrument lacquer". He told me that under normal use the finish should last up to 20 years. It has been five years and it looks the same as when he finished. I still have to do the radiator on the 1912 but that is not a problem. I know others have said I will be sorry when I have to polish the coating off but I figure that will be a job for my sons as I will be close to ninety if the polisher is correct!! Just my $.02.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Val Soupios on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 07:00 pm:

I had the brass on my '10 done that way and it lasted a good 15 years but getting the remainder off when it finally started to deteriorate was worse than polishing it for those 15 years would have been in my opinion. I might add that the protected finish is not nearly as nice as the finish of a freshly polished piece.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 08:52 pm:

I got a Christmas present from a guy named Bob. It was a container of Prism. Very impressive stuff.

Thanks Bob!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les VonNordheim on Friday, April 15, 2016 - 10:43 pm:

I also use and like Prism. Suggest you don't worry about having polished brass and just enjoy the car.
Also, I have hired a "Patriot" to handle jobs like this. They appreciate the work and most are willing to learn.....you just need to show them how it is done and supply the materials necessary. A Marine base is near where I live. It's a good feeling to give back to those that put their life on the line for us.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Peter B. Ratledge on Saturday, April 16, 2016 - 08:05 am:

I used to use CAPE-COD and SIMICHROME polish on my 1911 touring. A fiend told me about PRISM. It is by far the best polish I have ever seen. I do not like to coat the brass.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Wrenn-Monroeville OH on Saturday, April 16, 2016 - 08:12 am:

I'm with you Peter, I like both Prism and Blue Magic. Both about the same. And I like shiny polished brass. That's how it was started, that's how it should stay. Doesn't take that much work to polish. I have 3 brass cars and none of 'em get neglected. I do a little at a time, sometimes, I do the whole car in one stretch, takes about two hours. Keeps me outa the wife's hair. Great rainy day job.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Michael Sommers on Saturday, April 16, 2016 - 08:35 am:

I have found that Prism not only works great, but apparently it leaves a coating that inhibits oxidation. For some parts, I polish with Prism, then rinse with Naphtha to remove any coating, then apply ProtectaClear. It protects better than Lacquer, and does not darken over time.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Peter B. Ratledge on Saturday, April 16, 2016 - 10:21 am:

Michael, You are right. The PRISM leaves a protective coating. I like to tour and go to shows with my 11. I have been in all kinds of weather, from rain storms and acid dew. The acid dew can do a job on uncovered brass at night!!! THe prism cleans it up very easily. Don Lang has it in his catologe.


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