Some of my purist friends are probably bleeding from their eyeballs after reading the title of this post, but the truth is, while I love the look, I hate polishing brass. Since my 13 is a driver and not a show car, I am entertaining the notion of polishing the brass and then spraying it with clear coat to prevent it all from tarnishing. What concerns me is that I once sprayed some brass latches for a 15 coil box with clear, and the coating crazed after about 3 years. I don't want a repeat of that.
If you've done this in the past, please share exactly what you used and if you baked it on, etc. And also tell me if you were satisfied with the results and how long it lasted.
Thanks in advance.
Someone in our club has used ProtectaClear. It looks great. According to him, the key is to clean and neutralize the brass after polishing so that the coating is on clean brass.
If I'm not mistaken I've seen some that was gold plated. Personally this seems a bit excessive although they did look great.
My experience having had some brass items professionally clear coated is I would never do it again. It is not as shiny under the clear coat. After 4 - 5 years it starts to turn dark under the clear coat. Then you not only need to polish the brass, you also have to have the clear coat stripped first.
I have some of mine clear-coated. Some of it is gold plated and some I just polish a lot. I agree with Royce that it will still turn. I sprayed some with band instrument clear last year while it was apart. The stuff that was professionally cleared held up about 20 years and is just starting to turn pretty badly. Only the knobs and small stuff is gold plated. At the time it was nearly the same price as brass.
I did an experiment with Everbrite a decade or more ago. brass pipe, polished, coated the last 3" and left it outside for 2 years. I am shocked at how well it held up. Not freshly polished looking but still looking good.
Put Maas Metal Polish (creamy in a small tube for $6) on a Mothers foam polishing ball and in no time your brass will shine. I quit hand rubbing!
I use blue magic. I drive mine all the time. If you can't stand to polish give the car to me and get yourself a black car.
Oddly enough, I enjoy polishing. I just need to get myself a car with a little more brass on it...
I haven't applied a clear coat, but I've had to remove one that went bad. I would never use it after that experience.
With both clearcoat and gold plating, its not the coat that is the problem, its the bits that chip/wear off. These tarnish as usual, and you end up with a patchwork of coated stuff and tarnished areas, not an attractive mix. Better not to polish at all and go with the aged look.
Allan from down under.
Having removed clear coat from the brass on my 14, I would curse anyone who would apply it. Like others mentioned, it also doesn't look as good as fresh polished brass. They have a word for people who don't want to polish their brass: Patina.
Well said - the topic always generates a lot of discussion but as nice as it might look for a while, you'll eventually regret having applied it. Polishing is such fun!
I use #12164 brass coat from G.J Nikolas. It does scratch and wear after several years depending on use. But it comes off easy enough with acetone to be recoated.
Looks like the "Don't do it(s)" have it. It's an old restoration so I think I'll stick with the aged look.
Richard M & Tim E I'm with you! I enjoy my time with my " Three Brassalleros"!
Oh Tim. Just 1 brassy is enough for me. But I don't mind the time with it. You should see my super buff finger.
I just punch out the primers and put it in my ultrasonic cleaner, then if I want it really shiny, I run it through the tumbler with corn cob media.
Oops, wrong forum.
Hopefully, one day I will have a brass T. But it's gotta be a '14 or earlier, so I can play with the carbide generator.
Richard, yeh, I can relate to "the finger". Lately I've started to engage two fingers buffing. Really helps!! LOL. Off to finish some polishing on Pete (the red '12) for a little touring today with some friends and their '14. Gotta take advantage of this nice weather while we can.
The issue I have with "polishing" is that I am an Optical Engineer, with an emphasis on optical component fabrication. I've done enough optical hand-polishing over the last 32 years that if I never have to rub another piece of metal or glass, it'll still be too soon! Either way, I'm not giving up my brass cars for black ones..! I'll rest content with the theory that "brown brass" is beautiful too.
I have to agree James. While I can certainly appreciate a restoration, I like the looks of the survivor. Maybe I'm just too cheap or lazy to go through another restoration (I did restore my first antique; a Model A), but I really believe the survivor look gets more attention and you certainly don't have to polish them up as much.
Since I got a bench mounted buffer and learned about how to use various grades of rouge and polishes brass buffing has been remarkably easier. A cordless drill with a cone shaped sisal buff is also a great help in reducing the amount of time spent and effort expended. A little air powered high speed motor with a soft buff is a remarkable time saver.
Do some internet shopping, talk to the folks who have the shiniest brass. Watch for a used Baldor motor at swap meets and garage sales. Look at the buffing supplies at Harbor Freight and Eastwood.
Gunk gasket remover spray quickly removes most finishes put on brass. DO NOT get it on any paint.
I have very little brass on my car, but then mines a 22 touring. But I do love a little brass here and there to break up all that unrelieved black, so I make a few things brass. Like the (until recently) my steering wheel spider, screws that hold the windshield and hinges, the robe rail, a few acorn nuts (rear view mirror, dash and spotlight), the seat box screws and the tire valve stem covers. But I don't mined polishing it now and then and I never coat them with any coating other than a good quality carnuba wax. I find that keeps them from tarnishing better than just polishing them with any of the of products out there..."Brasso" works good, but I like "Brite Boy" the best though and then a good coat of carnuba to keep the weather off.
I'm going to start having brass polishing party's. No beer till its done. Watch using a bench buffing wheel on side lights and a buffing wheel on the radiator. To much heat will warp it. I still use one all the time. I have had people at car shows volenteer. Man I love that. If you touch my brass I'll kick your---well you know.
Another reason to wax after you polish...but then I guess Richard, you've got more brass than I do.
I've never heard of waxing after polishing. I use lots of brass cleaners. Brite Boy and California Purple. Then Blue Magic to finish. The guy that makes the brass radiators said he uses the Blue Magic. I hate it when people touch the brass at a car show. Even wearing shorts and bumping the running boards make spots.
It was fun reading about all you Brasstards.
I hope to be one of you some day.
I love it when they walk up with there keys on there belt telling me more than I know about my own car and then wrap there bare arm around my hot radiator neck. It don't get no better than that. I always tell them that'll leave a mark. They look at there poor stupid arm and say damm straight or something like that. I tell them not your poor stupid arm my radiator.
Coating brass at home and getting a good result is possible. We have been coating the brass on a 1911 as the brass has been restored and polished. So far so good. The product we have been using is ProtectaClear and was mentioned in an earlier post. The sidelamp in the photo was restored, polished and coated 3 or 4 years ago and still looks good. We are just finishing the restoration of the car and it hasn't been on the road a lot but the lamp has gotten a pretty good dose of Georgia humidity over time.
We have been applying the coating using a foam brush and anything that will fit in an oven has been baked dry. Bigger items are allowed to air dry. Either method seems to give decent results. There is a cleaning procedure that must followed to get good results but it not too involved. Removing the coating can be accomplished pretty easily using Xylene. We have reworked some brass pieces as we learned how to use the product.
The coating could also be applied to a piece already on the car and allowed to air dry. I believe over time this will eliminate a lot of polishing and keep the brass looking good.
That looks good. I may have to give that ProtectaClear a try. That stuff is a little pricey but so is brass polish. Did you ever try the spray? Any buffing required after? How many coats. I'm really interested in giving this a try. What do they mean by neutralize the brass?
Gentlemen, I would never put a hardened clear coat on brass. It will last a few years. Like Royce says, It will darken under the clear coat!! It is very hard to get off. I used to use Cape-Cod brass polish. It worked very well. They changed the formula and it did not work as well.I have tried all the named brass polish's mentioned in this post.
The best one that I have found to date is PRISM paste polish. It will clean,polish and protect the brass. I put it on with a little cotton pad,take it off with a cotton towel and finish it with a micro-fiber cloth.
I like to shine brass. ( It does take a couple of Beers)
I do clear coat my bolts in the dash and the Murphy fasteners with a Brass lacquer. It will last a few years, then I dip them in lacquer thinner, clean them and spray them again.
I am getting ready to clean my car up for Hershey.
I used Behlen Brass Lacquer on a few hard to get to things last year. They just look OK now.
Most brass coating materials are lacquer based. Lacquer has a couple of characteristics that make it less desirable for coating brass. Lacquer tends to be brittle after it dries and it is also porous. Unless it is sealed with wax or something else it will allow moisture to migrate underneath the coating.
I have attached the instruction sheet for the application of ProtectaClear. Any polishing of the brass must be done before the coating is applied. The manufacturer recommends two coats of the product on brass. Acids in the brass polish must be neutralized before applying the coating. The neutralizer is mixed with water and applied to the surface of the part. It is then washed off. The neutralizer is available from Everbrite.
I have no relationship to Everbrite other than being a customer. As with most things “your mileage may vary”. I would be interested if others decided to try this product and hear about the results.
Pete.. weren't the Murphy fasteners painted black originally?
Here we go again!!!! I have a fully restored 1912 Depot Hack with lots of brass. I took all the lights, horn, etc., off the car and had a professional brass polisher polish and coat the finish. He does some fine work on rare brass items as well as instruments. He uses "band instrument lacquer" for all his finishes. This was done about 5 years ago and it still looks great. His point to me was that we don't abuse the cars, keep them protected and usually out of real bad weather. He said that the way we treat our cars, he would expect the finish to be effective for at least 20 years. I don't expect to have to do them again as I'm 73 and would not intend on doing it when I'm 90!!!!! I have a friend that has several rare Stutz and he had the copper heads coated with a high temperature epoxy. I don't know what it was but they still look great. Just my .02.
Factory lacquer on modern brass instruments is baked epoxy.
Your local musical instrument repair man may or may not have the equipment or talent to replicate a baked factory coating.
Erik--I never said he baked the finish. He used a product called, "Band Instrument Lacquer". His finish is flawless, no orange peel etc, and as I said it shows no evidence of discoloration after five years. This has been my experience and I'm sorry if it conflicts with the known experts on the forum. Also, several in my area have done the same with good results. Dick C.
I apologize if you took offense. It was just a general comment about musical instrument repair shops and band instrument lacquer and wasn't directed toward the fellow that did your work.
A baked finish is also typically what you will find on other lacquered brass items, such as household door hardware, etc.
Doesn't take long for someone to get their panties in a bunch.
Interesting post about the lacquer. I do not have much brass on my Model T, but did have the chance to polish about 100 rounds of .50 cal. machine gun rounds for my 42 GPW and it's M2. The rounds started out black, I buffed and polished them on my bench grinder buffing wheel and then sprayed them with clear gloss lacquer.
A year later, they look grey and won't be long until they are black again. The rounds are 74 years old, so I'll probably leave them that way.
I won't waste time reading this whole thread, so this product may have been mentioned already. When I had a '15 Touring Car (for 10 years) I polished the brass and coated it with a spray lacquer named "Perma-Lac." It worked great on everything but the radiator, which I tried to coat 3 times. I never did get a good coat on that, so I easily stripped it off using lacquer thinner. It was much less time-consuming polishing the radiator from time to time than polishing all the brass on the car. The Perma-lac finish lasted for years and still looked great when I sold the car.