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Brass Cleaning & Lacquer Removal

Brass Cleaning

What it says! We are able to strip, clean and polish most old pieces of brassware and get them looking almost new. Whether for environmental, financial or nostalgic reasons, if you like the thought of upcycling your old brass items, please get in touch.

For the past 25 years most brass products will have had an acrylic lacquer coating when new to help protect the surface and reduce the need for regular polishing. Over time this laqcuer breaks down creating a dark patchy effect which is then difficult to clean and polish. We are able to strip the remaining stubborn patches of lacquer so it can be polished using metal polish.

Older brass pieces and those without lacquer can also be revived even when they look more black than brass! Sometimes this will involve lightly sanding the surface to reveal the golden brass beneath but may just require a good buff on the polishing wheel.

Guide Prices:
Letter plate: £15-£20
Door Knob: £5-£10
Door Knocker: £10-£20
Escutcheon: £2-£4
Kick plate: £30-£60

Lead times for small quantities are usually around 1 week. For larger quantities, we may have to send your items to a specialist refinisher, which can take up to 3 weeks. We will always let you know before starting any work.

Where necessary, we are also happy to carry out small repairs such as re-tapping threads or filing dents etc. We have over 30 years experience working with architectural brassware, so have seen most things in that time!

Please contact us by email or telephone to discuss your requirements. It is useful if you can email a few pictures of your items beforehand to give us a better idea of what it is likely to cost.

Acrylic Lacquer Removal

Most new brass products come with a coating of clear acrylic lacquer. This is to protect the metal from oxidation and remove the need for regular polishing. However, there are situations where this is not desirable, particularly for externally fitted products.

In coastal regions with salty air (and other harsh environments), the lacquer can quickly break down causing a patchy, dark, pitted appearance. This is a result of moisture getting trapped under the lacquer and oxidising the metal underneath. This cannot be polished out as the lacquer still coats most of the metal. Therefore, it is advisable to remove the lacquer before fitting to save having to remove and re-install the piece after a short time to do so anyway.

The process of stripping the lacquer exposes the brass to the elements. Therefore, after this, it will need to be polished and waxed regularly if you wish it to maintain it's shine. We recommend using an ammonia based metal polish followed by buffing with a wax polish such as car wax or furniture polish. The wax provides an extra layer of protection and should reduce the frequency with which cleaning and polishing is required.

It is also possible to remove the lacquer to allow the brass to age naturally and form it's own protective patina. If left untreated, the brass will gradually darken in colour from gold to bronze, sometimes with hints of green from the copper in the alloy. This surface patina is the metal's natural protection and prevents corrosion of the metal beneath. Hence why so many letter plates, knobs and knockers have survived intact on front doors for so long.

We are happy to remove the lacquer from most brass products for a small charge - usually around 25% of the full price of the product. If you want to be able to polish your brassware in the long term, we believe this is a worthwhile expense.