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Subject: Brass polishes

Brass polishes

From: Clint Fountain <cfountain>
Date: Friday, January 2, 1998
I have occasion to give talks to local groups about preventative
conservation and basic care of mixed objects in the average
household collection.  At the end of the lecture, the questions
inevitably turn to products: which furniture polish should I use,
what will remove watermarks from the finish, etc.  I generally carry
an assortment of "don't use" products with me, one of which is a
proprietary brass polish in which one can smell the ammonia.

In the lecture, I will have already explained about intergranular or
stress corrosion cracking (with slides) in brasses due to ammonia.
The problem comes when I am asked, "Well, if I can't use
Brasso/Noxon/Dura-glit/Simichrome/*.*, what *should* I use to polish
my brass?"  One can't very well recommend that a group of
septuagenarian ladies (the primary constituents of these audiences)
polish everything with microalumina powder and seal the brass with
Incralac (neither of which is readily available at the corner
hardware store); they just want to know which proprietary brass
polish is safe to use.

I don't have an answer for them.  Investigation has not turned up an
ammonia-free polish.  Does anyone out there have a recommendation?

Clint Fountain
Furniture Conservator
Museum of Florida History

                  Conservation DistList Instance 11:58
                Distributed: Wednesday, January 7, 1998
                       Message Id: cdl-11-58-015
Received on Friday, 2 January, 1998

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