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Historic Preservation - Technical Procedures

Spectitle:

Cleaning And Polishing Brass-Plate

Procedure code:

0501003P

Source:

Hspg Prepared For Nps - Sero

Division:

Metals

Section:

Metal Materials

Last Modified:

08/09/2012

Details:

Cleaning And Polishing Brass-Plate



CLEANING AND POLISHING BRASS-PLATE


ALL CLEANING REMOVES SOME SURFACE METAL AND PATINA.  THEREFORE, USE
CAUTION, AS EXCESSIVE CLEANING CAN REMOVE THE TEXTURE AND FINISH OF
THE METAL.

THE CLEANING OR STRIPPING OF METALS MAY INVOLVE THE USE OF
ABRASIVES, LIQUIDS OR SOLVENTS WHICH MAY SPLASH OR RUN OFF ONTO
ADJACENT MATERIALS.  TAKE SPECIAL CARE TO PROTECT ALL ADJACENT
MATERIALS, AND DO NOT USE THIS PROCEDURE ON METALS OTHER THAN
THOSE
SPECIFIED IN THE SUMMARY.


PART 1---GENERAL

1.01 SUMMARY

    A.   This procedure includes guidance on cleaning and
         polishing brass-plate.  This includes both lacquered and
         unfinished brass.

    B.   For additional guidance relating to cleaning and
         maintaining brass, see the following procedures:

         1.   For cleaning and polishing solid brass, see 05010-
              10-P.

         2.   For removing old lacquer or paint from solid brass
              or brass-plate, see 05010-31-R.

         3.   For removing patina or tarnish from solid brass,
              see 05010-32-P.

         4.   For applying a protective coating to brass-plate or
              solid brass, see 05010-12-P.

    C.   Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, plus sometimes metals such as lead.

          Brass-plate is a thin layer of brass bonded to steel.  Solid brass is more
         durable than brass-plate and, therefore, can withstand
         more rigorous methods of cleaning.  

    D.   Brass may be unfinished or lacquered.  Architectural
         brass hardware and trim is generally maintained in a
         highly polished, "bright" finish.  

         1.   Unfinished brass MUST be polished frequently in
              order to maintain its luster.  All polishing,
              however, removes some brass.

         2.   Lacquered brass will usually last about 10 years
              and does NOT require frequent polishing.

         3.   Lacquer protects the brass finish from
              deterioration, though some brilliance of its
              surface characteristics is sacrificed.  Removal and
              reapplication of the lacquer, however, will not
              harm the brass surface.

    E.   See 01100-07-S for general project guidelines to be
         reviewed along with this procedure.  These guidelines
         cover the following sections:

         1.   Safety Precautions

         2.   Historic Structures Precautions

         3.   Submittals

         4.   Quality Assurance

         5.   Delivery, Storage and Handling

         6.   Project/Site Conditions

         7.   Sequencing and Scheduling

         8.   General Protection (Surface and Surrounding)

         These guidelines should be reviewed prior to performing
         this procedure and should be followed, when applicable,
         along with recommendations from the Regional Historic
         Preservation Officer (RHPO).


PART 2---PRODUCTS

2.01 MANUFACTURERS

    A.  Flitz International, Ltd.
         www.flitz.com
        

2.02 MATERIALS

    NOTE:  Chemical products are sometimes sold under a common
    name.  This usually means that the substance is not as pure as
    the same chemical sold under its chemical name.  The grade of
    purity of common name substances, however, is usually adequate
    for stain removal work, and these products should be purchased
    when available, as they tend to be less expensive.  Common
    names are indicated below by an asterisk (*).

    A.   Mild detergent

         -OR-

         Household Ammonia:

         CAUTION:  DO NOT MIX AMMONIA WITH CHLORINE BLEACHES, A
         POISONOUS GAS WILL RESULT!  DO NOT USE BLEACH ON BIRD
         DROPPINGS.

         1.   Other chemical or common names include Ammonium
              Hydroxide; Ammonia water*; Aqua ammonia*.

         2.   Potential hazards:  TOXIC; MAY IRRITATE THE EYES.

         3.   Available from chemical supply house, grocery store
              or pharmaceutical supply distributor, or hardware
              store.

         -OR-

         Mild Commercial Brass Cleaner (most brass cleaners will
         both clean and polish) such as "Simichrome", "Wenol",
         "Flitz" (Flitz International, Ltd.), or approved equal.

         NOTE:  "Simichrome", "Wenol", and "Flitz" are German
         manufactured cleaners that come in tubes.  They are
         generally more expensive than the liquids and harder to
         find.  They have a finer feel than the liquids, and are
         best used as an intermediary or finishing polish.

    B.   Clean, soft wiping cloths

2.03 EQUIPMENT

    A.   Eye and skin protection

    B.   Heavy gloves and protective gear

    C.   Soft natural bristle brushes


PART 3---EXECUTION

3.01 EXAMINATION

    A.   Before proceeding with steps to clean brass, examine the
         surface(s) to determine the extent of the work required.
         Look for:

         1.   Broken, cracked, missing, distorted or loose parts.

         2.   Coating failures such as chips, losses, peeling,
              cracks, bubbling and wear.

         3.   Corrosion - caused by moisture, sea water and sea
              air, deicing salts, acids, soils, gypsum plasters,
              magnesium oxychloride cements, ashes, clinkers and
              sulphur components.

3.02 PREPARATION

    A.   Protection:  

         1.   General:  Comply with recommendations of
              manufacturers of cleaners, polishes and coatings
              for protecting building surfaces against damage
              from exposure to their products.

         2.   Protect adjacent surfaces from contact with
              chemical cleaners by covering them with liquid
              strippable masking agent or polyethylene film and
              waterproof masking tape.  Apply masking agent to
              comply with manufacturer's recommendations.  Do not
              apply liquid masking agent to porous surfaces.

         3.   Protect persons and surrounding surfaces of
              building where metal surfaces are being restored,
              from damage resulting from metal cleaning and
              refinishing work.

              a.   Prevent cleaning solutions and coatings from
                   coming into contact with persons and other
                   surfaces which could be damaged by such
                   contact.

              b.   Erect temporary protection covers over
                   walkways for persons who must be in area of
                   operations during course of metal cleaning and
                   refinishing work.

              c.   Provide ventilation to eliminate the spread of
                   fumes to unaffected spaces.

    B.   Surface Preparation:  

         1.   Before cleaning, determine if your brass surface is
              solid or plated:  

              a.   A magnet will stick to the steel beneath brass
                   plating; it will not stick to solid brass.  

              b.   Solid brass can withstand much harsher
                   treatment than brass plating can.  

3.03 ERECTION, INSTALLATION, APPLICATION

    NOTE:  WHEN CLEANING, TRY TO RETAIN THE BRASS PATINA, AS THIS
    PROTECTS THE BRASS FROM FURTHER CORROSION.  
   
    NOTE:  BRASS-PLATE IS ALMOST ALWAYS PROTECTED WITH A CLEAR
    COATING.

    CAUTION:  DO NOT USE STEEL WOOL OR METAL SCRAPERS ON BRASS-
    PLATE.

    A.   For unlacquered brass-plate:

         1.   Clean with mild detergent or ammonia and a soft
              cloth.  DO NOT USE ABRASIVES.  Wear plastic gloves
              to prevent getting fingerprints on the surface.

         2.   Rinse thoroughly and dry with a clean, soft cloth.
              DO NOT BUFF BRASS-PLATE; THE PLATING WILL COME OFF.

    B.   For lacquered brass-plate:

         1.   Clean using ONLY a mild detergent and water.  

              CAUTION:  DO NOT USE AMMONIA-BASED CLEANERS ON
              LACQUERED BRASS.  THEY WILL DETERIORATE THE
              COATING.

         2.   Rinse thoroughly and dry with a clean, soft cloth.

    C.   For brass-plate that is heavily tarnished:

         1.   Use a mild commercial polish such as "Simichrome",
              "Wenol", "Flitz" (Flitz International, Ltd.), or
              approved equal.  

              NOTE:  TEST POLISH FIRST IN A SMALL, INCONSPICUOUS
              AREA.

         2.   Wipe down cleaned and polished piece with lacquer
              thinner to remove all traces of cleaning solutions
              and polish.

3.04 ADJUSTING/CLEANING

    A.   During the work, remove from the site discarded cleaning
         and coating materials, rubbish, cans and rags at end of
         each work day.

    B.   Upon completion of coating work, remove all protective
         coverings and coatings, and clean window glass and other
         coating-spattered surfaces.  Remove spattered coatings by
         proper methods as recommended by coating manufacturer,
         using care not to damage adjacent surfaces.

                         END OF SECTION
 


brass-plate, brass plate, polishing brass-plate