I have two pieces of brass that need a deep cleaning and I need suggestions on cleaning it. I have tried Braso to no avail. As you can see in the photos, they are covers for the steps and have indentation , making it hard to polish.
you can take a red scuff pad and it will cut the ancient tarnish down to bare brass. A fine scuff finish will be left, which will polish out by hand or machine. I use Blue Magic paste, available at most national auto parts places.
A mild acid may work to cut through the tarnish. I have used citric acid from the home brew section of a certain grocery store in town. I use it to clean the tarnish off of brass HO and O scale locomotives when I rebuild them. Ive used it on some smaller pieces to polish up afterwards. I used hot water and some of the citric acid crystals and soaked the pice to be cleaned. Checking it every few minutes. But for this size, it may take alot of citric acid. Thats the safe way.
The other way is a mild acid using muriatic (mild hydrochloric), or even mild sulfuric acid would do it. Muriatic you can get at home depot. Id test it out, and it may need watered down. It may clean it really quick, so dont leave it in too long.
White vinegar and salt, Mix a gallon of vinegar with a cup of salt until the salt is dissolved. Place the plate in, come back in about an hour and most of the tarnish will be gone if not repeat for a little less time. Wash off with a cloth, water and soda to neutralize the vinegar, then polish with your favorite polish.
For that I would probably try Brite Boy and finish with Blue Magic.
My clever wife just bought an anode plate which she uses in the bottom of a tub willed with washing soda, the same process jewelers use to clean fine pieces. I was skeptical, but she just did a set of intricate, highly tarnished, silver pieces in minutes - cleaning them almost before your eyes with no rubbing. She also did several large pieces by turning them so eventually the whole surface was done. Intrigued, I checked out the instructions which indicated it would work on gold and brass as well. Haven't tried it on T parts yet, but if it works as well as it did on the silver...
I found Brite Boy several years ago and it is the easiest thing I've used on heavy tarnished brass. I get it by the gallon at a local janitor supply.
I have not use the acid type or catsup ideas since I never wanted to take a chance damaging my brass.
I've also tried I think every brass polish made and have settled on about two. One really good one is Prism that I found out about here on the Forum, Another is Blue Magic which is what Brassworks uses on their radiators and the Mothers Billet polish is also really good,
None of these will compare to the Brite Boy to remove tarnished brass.
I have used the white vinegar and salt Combination many times with very good results
To Gary Hammond, I took your advise and used the Red scuff pad and Blue Magic. See the outcome of one hour of work.
Now, the second plate.
It's a lot of work George, but the maintaining after cleanup is sure easy! In your case one of these pads and arbor from Lowe's on an electric drill would be nice.
I've used vinegar and red scotchbrite on blackened brass with great results. Then use buffer pads like in Gary's photos and jewelers rouge.
Here is the after:
Part of the reason polishing the brass on these cars can be such a disagreeable task is that most brass parts are just not readily dismounted from the car for easy dipping in some kind of caustic chemical and then a bucket of neutralizing baking soda solution. _Can't really do that with a radiator. _
For a few years now, I've been touting the benefits of Prism Polish and it is indeed a superior product. _But let's face it, the folks with the brass cars are the most senior in the collector-car hobby and what would be a fairly easy job for a younger individual has become, certainly for me, a whole lot more of a challenge than it was just a few seasons ago. _
So I'm going to take Gary Hammond's good advice and get some kind of high-speed drill and spinning powder-puff from Lowe's and, hopefully, cheat my way through the annual polishing ritual come the spring thaw.
Take it easy with those power tools. It's pretty easy to wear off a lot of detail on the soft brass.
I'll give anyone a sample to try of the Brite Boy that I use on dirty brass. The other problem with power tools is trying to get into all the corners. Luckily on your step plates you can easily do a nice job on a big buffer wheel with no sweat.
Wayne, Any details on the anode plate? Maker, model number, etc?