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Topic: Cleaning Brass Cups
Message: Posted by: chrisrkline (May 7, 2004 05:22PM)
I might be getting a MagicMakers set of Brass cups. With my copper set, I just polish with the cloth and do not tend to use copper polish. I was wondering what the best way to keep brass clean. The same way, or should I use polish more regularly on them.
Message: Posted by: hkwiles (May 7, 2004 05:59PM)
Hi Chris,
where have you got the cups from?
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (May 7, 2004 06:36PM)
Get a good brass cleaner. Red Bear is good, but there are many... you might also consider having them nickle plated -- then you never have much cleaning to do. As far as copper goes, I like to let 'em age and get dark and grungy.

I have a set of brass indian cups that look over 100 years old... I would never think of shining them up.
Message: Posted by: chrisrkline (May 7, 2004 10:56PM)
On 2004-05-07 18:59, hkwiles wrote:
Hi Chris,
where have you got the cups from?

Actually I didn't. I saw them on ebay for 50 bucks, and I was the high bidder until close to the end for only 51, but then had to go to my daughters recital and I lost. I probably would have anyway, because at the moment I can't justify to my wife that type of expense (or the 70 or so I might have had to go up to). Well I will live with my Morrisey copper set for a while until I can prove that I can get some income form them. I really would prefer copper anyway.

Thanks Pete for your answer.

UPDATE: May 8, 2004

Well I spoke too soon. I was able to get the set of Magic Makers brass cups and balls in the Paul Fox style for 55 dollars. I thought that was a decent price. So I will look up the brass cleaner.

I guess you are saying Pete, though, is that I shouldn't try to let the brass "age" like the copper set.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 8, 2004 03:28AM)
I have several sets of brass cups. I have found that almost any good copper polish works well on brass, too. Brasso is particularly good. Nev R Dull is even better. Wear rubber gloves when you use it. And wash the cups afterwards.

The main thing is not to let them get pitted. I have a set of brass Paul Fox cups that were very difficult to clean up, because they had some very tenacious spots on them, but I managed with a lot of elbow grease, and plenty of determination.

BTW, I also got a set of those MM cups, probably from the same guy you got yours from. I may have been the guy that outbid you! That's not a bad price at all.

I know what the wholesale on those things are. He isn't making much on them at all.
Message: Posted by: chrisrkline (May 8, 2004 08:01AM)
Bill, thank you. On a different note, I think (I think) I heard that you would be at our little convention in Hot Springs, Arkansa in September. If so, great, and I hope to see you there.
Message: Posted by: Tom G (May 8, 2004 11:26AM)
Since we're on the subject...I have a few older brass
coin boxes and such and they have some black spots on them. I can get them to fade a little with polish but
no luck really getting rid of them. Any advise?
Message: Posted by: mdspark (May 8, 2004 01:40PM)
Hey Tom,
I have the same issue..how to let them age without those ugly black spots!
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (May 8, 2004 04:02PM)
If you really have polishing problems go to a professional metal polishing outfit. Look in the phone book you will find 'em.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 8, 2004 05:10PM)
If they are things like coin boxes where the fit is not absolutely crucial, you can use 0000 steel wool to get rid of the extremely tenacious brown spots. In extreme cases, some of the very fine grit metal sandpapers can be used, but I would avoid this as a "last resort" kind of thing.

There are a lot of excellent brass polishes on the market, though. Just don't expect miracles without elbow grease.
Message: Posted by: MoonBeam (May 10, 2004 08:17PM)
Mothers metal polish works very well on brass, copper and silver. Use a paper towel (it will absorb the oxidation) dip it in the cream and rub the item until clean. Use a second paper towel to polish.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 11, 2004 03:25AM)
Tabasco sauce works on brass in a pinch. Could be the vinegar in it that does the job.

Well, I got my brass cups from the same fellow who was selling them on eBay. It's interesting. The set I got from Penguin (copper cups) came with a drawstring bag. These don't -- that's not a big deal, you can get a drawstring bag fairly cheaply.

But the beads are an issue. They aren't evenly rolled. They aren't WAYYY off, but one is fairly open, one is open on one side and not the other, etc. And it is very easy to tell them from the geniune Fox cups. The depression in the bottom of these cups is not rounded, but has a flattish section in the middle. Also, one of the cups has a big area that is in need of cleaning/polishing.

Also, the brass is heavier than what Danny Dew used.

But they aren't a bad value for the money.
Message: Posted by: Rob Johnston (May 12, 2004 06:02PM)
You could always make a drawstring bag for cheap. I make them for my own uses, and they look great.

Also, Vinegar will do wonders to many metals....that is why so many people use Tobassco or Ketchup.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 13, 2004 02:04AM)
Yes, I keep a couple of yards of velvet and some corduroy around here just for that. I can knock out a fully lined drawstring bag in a matter of a few minutes. I did find some really nice tarot bags at Borders that will hold a medium sized set of cups.
Message: Posted by: microastro (May 22, 2004 03:02PM)
Just get those polishing cloths for brass and copper. In the army we used them to shine our brass buckle.
Message: Posted by: davidmagic (May 28, 2004 03:39PM)
Or you could do what I did to my Johnson-apply a commericial antiquing solution (not a paint) to them and then they look wonderfully even. I njo longer have to worry about that half-tarnished-half polished grunge look.
Message: Posted by: Jeff Haas (May 28, 2004 08:41PM)
Can you provide a product name for the commercial antiquing solution? Where would I shop for it?

Message: Posted by: Dave V (May 30, 2004 03:37AM)
I just bought a bottle of it at my local Michaels craft store. It's called Sophisticated Finishes by Triangle Crafts. It's the Patina Green Antiquing Solution and has Ammonium Chloride and Copper Sulphate in it.

I also found the same exact product at my local "Home Depot" hardware store in the faux finishing section of the paint department.

You can stop the process before your cups turn green and they take on a nice mottled orange/yellow/red look with an undertone of "old penny" brown. Make sure to do the insides as well if you have people examine the cups as the shiny interior would give away it's "true" age.

I just posted a photo in the "Expensive Cups vs. Cheapo's" thread if you want to see the results.
Message: Posted by: davidmagic (Jun 1, 2004 12:50PM)
Try Brass Dakening Solution by WSI Distributors. It will leave your cups a dark rich brown, but they will continue to have a wonderful shine. (The shipping was as much or more than the solution, by the way.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jun 2, 2004 02:37AM)
The polishing cloths that we use to buy at the PX for our Army brass was a cloth inpregnated with Jewelers Rouge.

Sears sells Jewelers rouge in the raw form. Just put a polishing cloth disk on your drill, put the drill in a cheap drill holder and touch the rouge to the spinning wheel. Then buff your brass. It will bring it back to the original beautiful shine. Then use clear paint to set the shine.

Personally, I like the shiny cups over tarnished look.
Message: Posted by: paulajayne (Jun 2, 2004 09:48AM)

After cleaning brass, copper and aluminum cups they will oxidise and dull quickly. Apply a coat of bees wax which will prevent this. Varnish will also do the same but chips and looks bad very quickly.


Message: Posted by: Daniel Faith (Jun 3, 2004 06:28PM)
Those polishing cloths are the way to go because of convience.
Message: Posted by: deerbourne (Jun 5, 2004 11:29AM)
I meant to post this when this topic first came out:
I bought six brass shot cups off ebay. In the picture, linked below, the ones on the left are as they arrived. I picked out the best three for C&B and cleaned them with Brasso. I was really impressed how well they cleaned up.

I still need something a little stronger to get the stains out of the inside.


Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 7, 2004 02:26AM)
Use 0000 steel wool to take care of those stains on the inside. It is just a moment's work and it will do the trick.

If there is a jeweler's supply house in your area, you can purchase different kinds of polishing cloths for brass and other metals. There is a kind of cloth called a "Blitz" cloth that is excellent for brass. It's not the jeweler's rouge cloth that Bill Hegbli refers to. There is a different chemical compound in it that really goes after tarnish.

The jeweler's rouge cloths are available from the jeweler's supply houses.

There is a "home center" near where I live that caters to an upscale crowd. They have more different types of metal polish than you can shake a stick at.

Blitz still makes their old brass polishing cloth. It now comes in a ziplock plastic bag. They also have one for copper and for silver.

Goddard's has some excellent polishing mitts.

The jewler's rouge cloth is also available there.

For quick work on brass, if you only have one set to polish, Tarn-X works very nicely.

I found that the Magic Makers cups polish up nicely, but they have a lot of black polishing compound on them, especially on the inside, that needs to be washed off first. Once you do that, you can really make the insides shine nicely.
Message: Posted by: chrisrkline (Jun 19, 2004 03:38PM)
Thanks for all the help, all of you. I had been using something called, Tarni-Shield, which was OK. But I just tried Brasso, and it was terrific. It really smoothed out the finish. Bill, thanks for the heads up on what to do with the black on the inside of the Magic Makers cups.
Message: Posted by: Review King (Jun 19, 2004 03:47PM)
On 2004-06-05 12:29, deerbourne wrote:
I meant to post this when this topic first came out:
I bought six brass shot cups off ebay. In the picture, linked below, the ones on the left are as they arrived. I picked out the best three for C&B and cleaned them with Brasso. I was really impressed how well they cleaned up.

I still need something a little stronger to get the stains out of the inside.



Big difference in the look. Thanks for these pics!!!

Message: Posted by: houdini (Jun 19, 2004 10:28PM)
How can you tell if your cups are real brass or just brass plated?
Message: Posted by: Poindexter (Jun 19, 2004 11:17PM)
I don't know how you'd determine if brass plating had been done on top of other non-ferrous metals, but I think test No. 1 would still be the magnet test--if your magnetic TT sticks to the cup, they're *not* solid brass ;-)
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 20, 2004 05:19PM)
Just one note about the brass cups from Magic Makers. I got a few sets to sell at the IBM convention. I figured that if they were at all like the earlier sets I had seen, I would need to spend a lot of time cleaning them up before I could sell them. Evidently, someone at Magic Makers reads these forums closely. I did not need to do much to them at all. There were a couple of cups that had a little polishing compound on them that needed to come off, but that was it.
Message: Posted by: muzicman (Jul 7, 2004 10:11AM)
I have discovered the worlds best polish. It's called FLITZ and I have used it to make all my props look like new. I originally bought it at a county fair and was unable to locate it in any local merchants. You can get a free sample at http://www.flitz.com/

I have used this product to remove scratches from my watch crystal and reading glasses. I repaired a DVD that was scratched (badly). I have polished my wedding band, door handles, heck, I even polished all my keys on my keyring. Funny the uses you can find for this stuff. I have a jumbo coin that is aluminum and after 5 minutes rubbing it with Flitz, it looks like I had it dipped in chrome. I will get before/after pics and post them here. I am so sold on this stuff that some of my co-workers have nicknamed me "Flitz". Get you free sample today!