Polishing Scratches out of Brass

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hpinson
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Polishing Scratches out of Brass

Post by hpinson » Wed Jul 09, 2008 10:37 pm

Hi. While making up some brass bellows fittings, I put some scratches in the brass plate. What method do people use to remove these and polish up the brass to a smooth finish.

I sanded with 100, 220, 400 and 600 sand paper, and then buffed with yellow polish, and still see some scratches. I am not happy with the results.

What methods do you use to clean up brass?

Thanks

tompipes
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Post by tompipes » Thu Jul 10, 2008 2:57 pm

I'd use 400, 600, 800, and 1000 for the same thing. Except use the 400 to get rid of the scratchs and then use the others for polishing.

What I've done in the past is cut up some strips of the sandpaper and tape/glue it to an old polishing wheel and this will help buff out some of these scratches.

Tommy

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snoogie
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Post by snoogie » Fri Jul 11, 2008 6:22 am

I use a buffing wheel on my bench grinder, similar to the one shown here.
http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PART ... A=393-1016

they also sell polishing grit in multiple grades.

Puts a nice polish on the brass.

-g
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hpinson
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Post by hpinson » Fri Jul 11, 2008 8:29 am

Hi. I use that buffing wheel too, but with yellow polish for the final buff. Is there a grade of polish/grit that takes out deeper scratches-- I think caused by my use of 100grit paper?

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Post by David Stephenson » Fri Jul 11, 2008 11:38 am

Wet and dry is the best way for removing large amounts of material, the water self lubricartes the abbrasive, then try,

One of the best substances I have found for removing scratches is a paste called Solvol Autosol, made in Gremany for over fourty years now, its water based white paste with a very fine grit,

Another polish is called Peek with a similar compound in blue paste but slightly finer, again water based and very good for the final polish.

When you buff up on the wheel try doing it in both directions if you can, so one bed cancels out the other.

Davy.
Last edited by David Stephenson on Sun Jul 13, 2008 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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hpinson
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Post by hpinson » Fri Jul 11, 2008 11:48 am

Thas is a great idea Davy. We have something similar here, available in auto supply stores I believe. I'll have to visit the store, because I can't think of the name. Thanks!

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Post by David Stephenson » Sun Jul 13, 2008 11:44 am

I forgot to say.

Peter once told me that he used tooth paste for polishing some plastics and ivory, the water content acts as a coolant while the abbrasives polish the media.

Davy.
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Re: Polishing Scratches out of Brass

Post by ChristopherHilton » Fri Dec 30, 2011 1:23 am

hpinson,

Did you have any luck with the auto store compund? what was the name of it?

I used wet/dry 400/1000/1200 then finished off with some green metal polishing compound I found at harbor freight. I am fairly pleased with the results except for some very tiny directional scratches (which occur on whichever cross direction I end up holding the work piece).

I realize a perfect mirror finish is probably impossible but my perfectionism wants to know if im missing anything that might help.

Also, does anyone ever 'darken' the trenches to help them stand out a bit more? If so, any techniques on doing so?

Chris

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Re: Polishing Scratches out of Brass

Post by dirk the piper » Fri Dec 30, 2011 2:07 pm

It is certainly possible to get a mirror-smooth finish in brass. First of all, sand in steps, as mentioned. If you want, you can sand on the lathe in steps down to 2000 grit: 150, 280, 400, 600, 800, 1200, 1500, and 2000. That gets you a pretty good polish. After that, a brass tumbler can do wonders. Buffing wheels also work great, with tripoli and rouge. Polishing down to that extra fine level may take a bit more work, but it will get you that extra special gleam.

-Dirk
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Re: Polishing Scratches out of Brass

Post by hpinson » Fri Dec 30, 2011 7:07 pm

Hi Chris. I do exactly what Dirk recommends, topping off with some red rouge compound on a buffer wheel. I just don't start any courser that maybe 300 or 400 now, and really try to avoid those bad scratches in the first place. The higher grades papers are wet sanded with (1200+). That process does a great job.

The auto store polishing compound is very similar to the rouge. I'd go with what is available from jewelers supply store-- several grades are available green, yellow, red, orange-- I can't rember the ordering-- red seems adequate. Dedicate a muslin wheel to a color grade of rouge (don't mix colors) and wear a mask, because it is nasty stuff to breath.

The brass usually finishes so well that I've never tried to tumble. I've heard reloaders do that.

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Re: Polishing Scratches out of Brass

Post by dirk the piper » Fri Dec 30, 2011 8:13 pm

I spent the last few minutes in the shop sanding the little pits out of one of my bass drone bends. The pits are a side-effect of the brass stretching when the tubes are bent. I am using a long, thin strip of sandpaper, pulling on both ends, the way a shoe polisher would buff a shoe. This task seems pretty tedious and inefficient to me, and maybe could stand some improvement. Do you suppose there is a more efficient way of performing this step? Anyone have some ideas to share?
-Dirk
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Re: Polishing Scratches out of Brass

Post by DMQuinn » Sat Dec 31, 2011 9:34 am

dirk the piper wrote:I spent the last few minutes in the shop sanding the little pits out of one of my bass drone bends. The pits are a side-effect of the brass stretching when the tubes are bent. I am using a long, thin strip of sandpaper, pulling on both ends, the way a shoe polisher would buff a shoe. This task seems pretty tedious and inefficient to me, and maybe could stand some improvement. Do you suppose there is a more efficient way of performing this step? Anyone have some ideas to share?
-Dirk
I do this with a small wooden mandrel in the lathe. The mandrel is a cone of wood, diameters say 20mm to 12mm over 80mm or so of length. There is a layer of leather glued to the cone, and around this I wrap a piece of abrasive paper of the appropriate grit, holding it in place on the tapered mandrel with an o-ring. I only use this little conical sanding drum to do the "inside leg" of U- and J-bends, since the larger paint-roller sanding drum does the job very well on the outer surfaces of the bends.

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Re: Polishing Scratches out of Brass

Post by billh » Sat Dec 31, 2011 10:22 am

Great idea David - thanks, you just saved me a good few hours! :-)

and Happy Holidays...

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dirk the piper
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Re: Polishing Scratches out of Brass

Post by dirk the piper » Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:35 am

Yes, thank you very much, David. I think I'll warm-up the wood turning skills by making one of those today. Happy Holidays to you David! And Happy Holidays to you as well, Bill and Harlow!

By the way, I just found this assortment of abrasive paper for sale at a jewler supplier in the US, and thought some might find this useful: http://www.riogrande.com/Product/3M-Abr ... 42?pos=176

-Dirk
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Re: Polishing Scratches out of Brass

Post by Pipewort » Sun Jan 01, 2012 1:48 am

David Stephenson wrote:I forgot to say.

Peter once told me that he used tooth paste for polishing some plastics and ivory, the water content acts as a coolant while the abbrasives polish the media.
I once had to polish up some bone mounts on a set of old small pipes that had been stored in damp conditiond, and which had corroded some.

I thought of tooth paste, it worked but left a dull, fine matt, finish. After a panic I used brasso or silver polish powder ( I can't remember which), bingo! bright shiny surface restored. The tooth paste was useful in buffing off the worst of the corroded surface, however.

Pwrt

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