I purchased a pair of brass side lamps a year or so ago and the seller stated that they had been restored by Rick Britten. Assume for a moment that the seller's representation is correct and that the lamps were indeed restored by Rick.
I have what may be a stupid question...but I'll ask it anyway.... Will lighting the lamps damage the clear baked on finish?
Alternatively, has anyone ever removed the clear finish applied by Rick? If so, what steps were taken to remove the clear finish?
Any assistance with respect to these questions will be greatly appreciated.
Brass corrodes beneath the clear coat. The clear coat does slow it down somewhat, but the brass will eventually turn black, then green.
Lighting the lamp will affect the coating, causing it to crack and peel.
You can put clear lacquer on a doorknob, a saxophone and the pendulum on your grandfather clock because they're not going to encounter seriously high temperatures. -Unfortunately, the radiator and lights on your Brass-Era automobile do get real hot and lacquer wouldn't like it. -
Those high operating temperatures also put the kibosh on brass polishes that contain wax ('cause everyone knows what happens to wax when you heat it). -And if a brass polish with wax isn't the best way to go, finishing the job with Turtle-wax or Simoniz or any other kind of wax is even worse because, though it may give your brass radiator a deliciously slick appearance in your garage, that finish will develop a cloudy appearance after just one drive.
The older I get, the more I hate polishing brass, so I'm thinking about maybe getting one of these:
Bob, I've often wondered about polisher machines for the brass, but just not sure but what they may end up leaving objectionable "marks" on the brass? Should you get one, of course let us know how it works would you?
In theory, an orbital polisher shouldn't leave swirls. -But as you say, that remains to be seen.
I have a friend who used a product called PotectaClear on his brass car. It looks great, has not darkened, and apparently is OK to use up to 450 degrees. If necessary, he can remove it with Xylene. He says it is much better than lacquer. Obviously it would not work on an acetylene headlight that is being lit.
Brass looks so good with that wonderful greened-gold patina. And it's trouble-free, once attained !
Why would anyone subject themselves to the slavery that is keeping brass polished ?
Nevermind that ultimately that polishing is going to wear holes in those 100-year-old fixtures !!!
The bonnets on my gas headlamps don't get near as hot as the radiator in normal operation. The radiator will get up to 193 degrees but the bonnets are much cooler.
Just don't light the gas lights until you are ready to drive because they are meant to be air cooled by the car moving.
Ken in Texas