Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Polishing Our Copper And Brasses During The Long Dark Nights.

Here's one of our myriad of brass and copper ornaments that we have collected over the last twenty years.  That's my brass Spitfire model.  It's six inches long by six inches wide and mounted on a brass plinth.  These were sold to commemorate the Battle Of Britain.

I have always been a collector: old bottles, matchboxes, copper kettles, brass bells, cattle and even vintage tractors.  Trouble with brass is it always needs cleaning.  So I have decided to clean something every night while I am watching the television.  I am not very keen on Brasso.  It's smelly and I get covered in it.  Do you know of an home-made metal polisher?  Somebody suggested tomato ketchup, coke or even rubbing it with fur.  Where can I find some fur?  Hmm..

Somebody suggested that we should lacquer them after we have cleaned them.  Apparently you just paint the clear lacquer on them with a brush.  It's also said to be very easy to remove it if you want to do so?

You can tell your middle age when your night involves sitting down and cleaning the brasses.  Well we do live five miles from the nearest beer token exchange and we have no street lamps so we can't walk to town or catch a bus.  We haven't got a net big enough for one thing and there aren't any round here.

Altogether now:

"Shine your buttons with Brasso.."


  1. Can't remember cleaning them with anything but Brasso, heard of the clear lacquer fix but never tried it.

    Used to have a few brasses, including 2 miners lamps, genuine, one a deputy's lamp, a pair of antique 12" candle-sticks, and an old brass coal-scuttle, but my charming ex-wife kept them all.

  2. I have an "Eccles" miners lamp, Cumbrian. We have also collected candle sticks and coal skuttles.. There's loads of it for sale on Ebay. It looks a depressed market at the moment and things are a lot cheaper than say ten years a go. Talking to an antique dealer the other week. Reckons nobody wants to clean copper and brass no more and he was struggling to sell his furniture. Said most modern houses are too small for a lot of the good solid furniture like tables and wardrobes. He also said young folk want modern stuff. I don't why, because most of it is MDF and not made with proper joints. I am not stopping collecting it. You'll probably see me on one of these human hoarders programmes. At least I'll be able to hide the hoover. Why do we not have noiseless electrical appliances. Thanks!

  3. Have to agree with you about Brasso Dave, I get it all over me, my hand get black and it stinks. Lidl cola or coke just soak the item for half a minute if it's small enough rinse and dry, or ketchup, brass which has been lacquered never looks right and still loses it's glow. Many moons ago I worked for an antique dealer, if we got really blackened I had to use spirit of lemon, it was only available through chemist shops and the poison book had to be signed, it stank and was dangerous to use but it did the job. Copper saucepans I cleaned with salt made into a paste. Silver was cleaned by soaking in a bowl of water with milk bottle tops ( remember them) and washing soda, over night soak, rinse in warm water and dry, came up like new.
    Program on BBC2 tonight at 9 that you might be interested in Dave.

  4. Hi Anne. Yes Brasso smells and you always covered in the stuff. Duraglit is good. We have used soda crystals and silver foil. There are videos on You Tube showing you how to do it. Thanks for your tips. Did you use to pay somebody to clean your horse brasses when you had your pub? I remember you saying you had a pub in a previous post.

    Yeah. I have just started following an excellent blog: Simple Suffolk Smallholder. It talks about it. You should read yesterdays post about living in the countryside - fascinating! I am sure you will have your thoughts?

    Thanks Anne!

    1. No, there was no brass in my pub, it was a very busy city centre pub, the only collections we had were coins and bank notes from all around the world.

    2. Hi Anne. I use to love old English pubs with exposed beams, hand pulled real ales, lots of copper and horse brasses and rough plaster on the walls. Suppose they are only in the rural areas now a days?

  5. Brass polishing! Wow, what an exciting life you lead!
    I avoid things standing around as we have wood burner and the dust is awful and I HATE dusting.

  6. Don't I just. It's the new knitting for men and women. We have a range and that makes things dusty. It's this trying to live like the country folk long a go thing!

  7. Bread soda , lemon juice and elbow grease.

  8. Thanks Heron. Where will I purchase the elbow grease? I must be a glutton for punishment. Saying that I only polish most of the collection once a year. I quite like the patina of tarnished copper and brass. Or is that just an excuse? Perhaps I could with this weeks lottery and employ somebody to clean the brasses and carry out other tasks around the smallholding? In my dreams. Thanks!

  9. I think that you will find that it's my turn to win the lotto this week Dave ;)
    We have a good collection of horse brasses too and a few copper plates,plus candle sticks. My frequency of cleaning them is about every two or three years. I had post horn but managed to give it away to someone who wanted it for it's sound quality ha' ha' ha'

  10. No I am definitely winning the lotto this week, Heron. I am going to buy a nice smallholding somewhere warm like Portugal. I won't feel so bad when I look at my copper and brasses now. Three years sounds sounds much better than every Christmas.


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