How to tell if lacquer was applied to a brass radiator

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FATMAN
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How to tell if lacquer was applied to a brass radiator

Post by FATMAN » Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:39 am

I have a very nice 1915 roadster that I will be selling for a family friend who passed away a while back, starting to polish the brass all the lamps and other items seem to clean up great but the radiator seems like the more I polish nothing seems to work, I have no idea if it was lacquered or not, nothing is peeling off, it might be just stubborn brass, any ideas? Bob
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Re: How to tell if lacquer was applied to a brass radiator

Post by Steve Jelf » Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:45 am

Lacquer thinner. Rub an inconspicuous spot with it, then see if the polish works there.
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Re: How to tell if lacquer was applied to a brass radiator

Post by Les Schubert » Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:34 am

It looks lacquered to me. I agree with Jeff

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Re: How to tell if lacquer was applied to a brass radiator

Post by Ruxstel24 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:42 am

You can also take a razor blade to an unseen spot. You should see it flake off if coated.

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Re: How to tell if lacquer was applied to a brass radiator

Post by tinman080 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 11:22 am

Rub a damp finger over a spot. Touch the finger to the tip of your tongue. Copper taste= no lacquer. :D
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Re: How to tell if lacquer was applied to a brass radiator

Post by FATMAN » Sat Aug 03, 2019 11:42 am

No copper taste, I do not know if thinner will cut it, I hate when they do this is there any stripper to use? Bob


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Re: How to tell if lacquer was applied to a brass radiator

Post by R.V.Anderson » Sat Aug 03, 2019 11:46 am

Lacquer thinner and Scotchbrite should do it, though it may take patience and a bit of elbow grease. You wouldn't want to take a chance using a harsh paint stripper; it might discolor or even attack the brass and leave you with a far worse situation.


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Re: How to tell if lacquer was applied to a brass radiator

Post by R.V.Anderson » Sat Aug 03, 2019 11:48 am

Another possibility would be to take it to your local plating shop and have them strip and buff it for you. In my town we have a metal finishing shop that does great work; they've done my radiator for me, buffing out quite a large and deep scratch at one point.


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Re: How to tell if lacquer was applied to a brass radiator

Post by tman1913 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:23 pm

Could also be a clear urethane. That would require an automotive paint remover.


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Re: How to tell if lacquer was applied to a brass radiator

Post by FATMAN » Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:24 pm

thinner and scotch bright seems to work in a small area but leaving tiny scratches, how about 000 steel wool? or will get same results,


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Re: How to tell if lacquer was applied to a brass radiator

Post by Rich Bingham » Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:56 pm

0000 ! Yup. Same result, less scratches.
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Re: How to tell if lacquer was applied to a brass radiator

Post by FATMAN » Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:23 pm

oooo 3 m pad and lacquer thinner are taking a lot off but dull brass left, trying all kinds of polish but nothing wants to brighten it back to where it should be, why do some folks do this to brass knowing in the long run it is a very disturbing job?
sometimes I think I try to be too nice for friends knowing what I am in store for.
90 + today, time to re start this job in the morning. Bob
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Re: How to tell if lacquer was applied to a brass radiator

Post by Jugster » Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:08 pm

The ten-year-old, shiny brass doorknob on my front door tells me that for certain applications, lacquering brass makes sense. Where it doesn't make sense is on a brass item which generates considerable heat, such as a brass radiator, acetylene headlamps and kerosene lanterns. That kind is heat is the enemy of lacquer (You also don't want to apply wax because heat causes it to fog over and go dull. Therefore, avoid any kind of polish that contains wax). You can get away with lacquering your brass ahooga horn, your brass rear-view mirrors, brass buckles, hubcaps, etc., because they don't generate high temperatures.

The whole point of lacquer, of course, is to avoid the necessity of hand polishing. I hate polishing too, which is why I have a soft, whirling polishing pad on my bench grinder. I dismount anything that can be unbolted from the car and let my bench polisher do the work for me. For the radiator, I use a cheapie, 6" orbital polisher ($19 at Harbor Freight). Letting the electric polishers provide the elbow grease makes for a much easier polishing job. Your arms, shoulders and back will thank you for it.

https://www.harborfreight.com/6-in-comp ... 69487.html
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Re: How to tell if lacquer was applied to a brass radiator

Post by Susanne » Sat Aug 03, 2019 8:06 pm

Looks laquered to me, too. (The speckley finish is what says that to me...). My dad's 15 roadster (the one I took my driving test in :mrgreen: ) had a lacquered radiator that looked just like that.

Safest way to do it is take the radiator off (not hard to do) to protect the paint on the car, use lacquer thinner or acetone to remove the lacquer (may need to use steel wool, DEFINITELY need to wear gloves!!), repolish the radiator using a buffer, and reinstall.

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Re: How to tell if lacquer was applied to a brass radiator

Post by havnfun » Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:47 pm

I used Aircraft paint remover on these lights, took if off in seconds and washed off with water. The one on the top is uncleaned the bottom with the clear whatever removed, then I later polished them up nicely.
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Re: How to tell if lacquer was applied to a brass radiator

Post by FATMAN » Sun Aug 04, 2019 12:25 pm

a dumb question, I am getting the lacquer of but its a dull brass look, polish not doing anything, no one around here that will polish the radiator, what will rubbing compound do? any help appreciated, Bob

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Re: How to tell if lacquer was applied to a brass radiator

Post by Mark Gregush » Sun Aug 04, 2019 12:50 pm

I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :shock:

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Re: How to tell if lacquer was applied to a brass radiator

Post by FATMAN » Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:00 pm

I have tried half a can, does nothing and this is what U use most of the time, Bog
going to try rubbing compound

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Re: How to tell if lacquer was applied to a brass radiator

Post by Ruxstel24 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:07 pm

I've had good luck with this on aluminum, just add elbow grease. :)
Most parts stores carry it.
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Re: How to tell if lacquer was applied to a brass radiator

Post by tinman080 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:01 pm

Blue Magic is an EXCELLENT product.... :D
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Re: How to tell if lacquer was applied to a brass radiator

Post by TRDxB2 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:22 pm

Aircraft Paint Remover will remove almost anything, removes powder coat, so test try in inconspicuous spot. I have used Rust-oleum product - Autozone. Many brands available. BUT this stuff will burn your skin so be careful with it. I also wonder if the brass is stained by steam/antifreeze splatter when the radiator cap was removed.
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Re: How to tell if lacquer was applied to a brass radiator

Post by REHelgeson » Mon Aug 05, 2019 3:27 pm

Bob, A rotary tool with a buffing wheel should get that radiator shining. I know you can get buffing rouge at harbor freight. Used to be able to get it at Sears but of course they are no more. It will take some time but once buffed a coat of good brass polish should remove small scratches. If I recall Steve Jelf had a thread on the old forum where he buffed the radiator on his 15 roadster. I think he had some type of buffing/polishing head he chucked in a drill.

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Re: How to tell if lacquer was applied to a brass radiator

Post by REHelgeson » Mon Aug 05, 2019 3:32 pm

Google 'Radiator Buffing MTFCA' and you will come up with some advice on cleaning up the radiator. The first thread returned by Google has the Jelf method in it. Hope this helps.


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Re: How to tell if lacquer was applied to a brass radiator

Post by SurfCityGene » Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:13 pm

Fatman,
The easiest, quickest, polish for tarnished brass I have found after trying every polish know to man is Brite Boy! I buy it by the gallon at the janitorial supply store BUT it doesn't give the best deep luster that all brass lovers look for. After a quick cleaning/polish with the Brite Boy I go over it with Mothers Billett, Prism, or Blue Luster. Each of those has a wax or film that helps prolong the shine.

Use Caution with any mechanical polishers because you can ruin the brass by wearing off lettering pretty easy.

Possibly you brass still has some of the original residue left on it may be the reason why your polishers don't seem to be working.
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Re: How to tell if lacquer was applied to a brass radiator

Post by Bob McDaniel » Tue Aug 06, 2019 12:42 am

You can use 2000 grit or finer wet/dry paper and take out all the scratches from what you have done so far and also will remove any left over clear and then it will polish with Mothers or your favorite product. I have done it on brass horn parts and lights but don't use it on places you can not reach easy. The fine paper will almost make it shine when you do it and the finer the better. You can find it at the local auto supply store. I would do it wet.
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