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Thread: copper cleaning

  1. #1
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    Oct 2013
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    Default copper cleaning

    Hoping for suggestions re removing a substance that was most likely applied to keep the cooper from tarnishing. The item is a large kettle that my Mother used to place wood in for the fireplace Thank You

  2. #2
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    Default Re: copper cleaning

    A polish product called Brasso and elbow grease.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: copper cleaning

    I would guess some kind of lacquer is on the copper, so some kind of lacquer/paint remover would be a place to start.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: copper cleaning

    Quote Originally Posted by ed21 View Post
    I would guess some kind of lacquer is on the copper, so some kind of lacquer/paint remover would be a place to start.
    Not generally a good idea, chemical reactions with the metal can instantly tarnish/mar the surface. If one goes this route, they should do a test in an inconspicuous place to make sure there is no adverse reaction.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: copper cleaning

    Brasso is a relatively coarse polish, but if it's really badly tarnished it's a good start. "Flitz" polishing cloth is finer and leaves a smoother shine, but nothing beats "Simichrome" for that final polish on metal- it's probably all you need. I do not recommend any kind of over-coating on polished metals as they are susceptible to chipping, delaminating, and yellowing even if they don't react with the metal. When that happens it takes a strong solvent to get them back off which is more trouble than it's worth.

    For copper, brass, and bronze items that won't be handled, polish them, buff them out with an old 100% cotton t-shirt, then apply paste-type carnuba car wax. As you do the last part, and any time you touch them thereafter, wear cotton gloves or handle with cotton rags- your skin oils will leave spots. This will keep that old pot looking good for at least a year or more, and a new coat of wax will renew it for several years. When the copper finally gets too brown for your liking several years down the road, repeat the polishing then wax process.

    Phil

  6. #6
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    Default Re: copper cleaning

    I got the impression the OP wanted to remove a protective finish so the copper would age naturally, but since they haven't replied, who knows.

  7. #7
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    Oct 2013
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    Default Re: copper cleaning

    Quote Originally Posted by ed21 View Post
    I got the impression the OP wanted to remove a protective finish so the copper would age naturally, but since they haven't replied, who knows.
    Yes, you are correct re the clear coating on copper. Looks like it may no be an easy job. Thanks!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: copper cleaning

    I missed that- sorry. In an inconspicuous spot, try wiping with a rag wet with lacquer thinner. If that doesn't get it try acetone (nail polish remover). It may take several tries as the finish will want to 'smear' but you can speed this up by using a clean spot on the rag for every wipe. These are potent chemicals both in strength and aroma and they will melt plastics and any pain they get on so do this outdoors with heavy rubber gloves and stay upwind of the fumes.

    I never liked coatings on polished metals for they all crack or flake or wear off eventually leaving the mess you have now.

    Phil

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