Hand polishing can be a very satisfying
activity. When well polished, copper and brassware will smile back in a way
that warms the heart! Polishing is an activity that stimulates the
circulation successfully and can be a useful exercise undertaken indoors
when outside activities are impracticable. It is an activity to be
recommended when the results of a good meal might lead to an unhealthy
part of the cleaning
polishing techniques, the use of metal polishes are long associated
with copper and brass. Proprietary polishes usually contain a mild abrasive
suspended in a chemically active medium. Strong smelling ones that
contain ammonia etch away
metal for fairly fast action on plain surfaces. Milder cleaners
should be used when fine etched detail is present since frequent cleaning
with conventional polishes removes pattern surface detail in time.
The other main constituent needed is of
course, elbow grease. Good pressure is needed when polishing, since this
actually smoothes over the ductile surface of the metal and helps to obtain
the required mirror-finish. This is much more resistant to further
tarnishing than the active surface left by a chemical cleaner. Residue in
crevices should be washed out with a toothbrush and detergent before the
Select type of polish with care, see
Generally start by washing off all dust
- household dust includes abrasive particles that can cause severe scratches
when picked up on a polishing cloth. Dried polish that has been left in
nooks and crannies should also be washed out with as toothbrush, helped
perhaps by the end of a soft wooden tooth pick.
Use clean, soft polishing cloths. Old
ones will have picked up abrasive particles. ‘Selvyt’ cloth is used by
Use as little or as much polish as you
need - plenty of polish may be needed to cut through heavy tarnish easily.
If only a little is used there is less to fill nooks and crannies.
Use a former, button stick or other
simple jig if it will make life easier and prevent polish going onto
surfaces such as walls or clothing where it is not wanted.
On a large object do one section at a
time, leaving the polish no time to dry before it is removed.
Polish off with a clean soft cloth.
Wash thoroughly any items that have
crevices such as engraving, etching or tight corners that can fill with
polishing residue. A nail brush or toothbrush and washing up detergent
Dry and final
polish with a clean soft cloth.