Polishing Engine Brass

By Staff

4001 Fox Run Road, Powhatan, Virginia 23139

For those collectors with just a few engines to maintain for the
shows, polishing brass at these events is a pleasurable pastime.
However, as our collections grow in number, polishing brass becomes
more time consuming, and looking at other engines becomes more
enjoyable. I have solved this dilemma by initially cleaning all the
engine brass, and coating it with lacquer for a high-gloss
permanent finish.

Begin by cleaning each individual brass piece with paint
thinner, to remove all the oils. File off deep cuts and
‘dings,’ and start sanding surfaces with 200 grit emery
paper. Sand again with 400 grit emery paper, until all of the
scratches are removed. Now, begin the buffing process, but
don’t forget to wear a dust face mask. Using a cotton buffing
wheel, apply a buffing compound, Tripoli, liberally to the running
wheel and buff all surfaces until a luster is achieved. Then, wash
the item with warm soapy water and an old toothbrush to remove all
of the grit completely. If an even brighter finish is desired, buff
again on a separate buffing wheel applying jeweler’s rouge in
the same manner as before. Once a high brightness is obtained,
again remove all residue with soap and warm water. Dry thoroughly
and spray with clear lacquer suitable for metal surfaces. Now,
forget the brass and go enjoy the show!

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