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"Seeking very durable and protective finish for large quantity of brass handrails"

Recently, a group of people and I have taken on a rather large project of removing about 45 years worth of tarnish from the brass at our university chapel. The consists mostly of hand railings and ornate objects. We have successfully removed the tarnish; however, we are having problems attempting to preserve our work. We would like to put some type of clear, durable, protective coat on the brass to keep it from quickly tarnishing from natural oxidation and by frequent contact with people's hands. Our original plan was to finish it off with Rustoleum Specialty Clear Lacquer. We have found however, that the brass still tarnishes under this and easily is scratched and chipped off by buttons and such on people's sleeves (as people move their hands along brass railing). We are considering trying a different lacquer, made specifically for brass, however this still mars a little.

What would you suggest using, either brand/type of lacquer, enamel, or other type of finish, that would provide a really durable finish that is frequently touched and will prevent substantial tarnish (we realize nothing will prevent it completely, but we have wanting to slow it down greatly).

Although we have a good bit of funding, we lack the funds to have this done professionally, so that is not really an option at this point. Also, if anyone knows a place to buy lacquer straight from the company or at a lower price with a bulk order, we would be very grateful.

Thank you very much for any help that anyone might be able to give us.

Michael K [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Valparaiso, Indiana

Ed. note: for a bulk order you could trying going to manufacturers who specialize in brass lacquer, like fG.J. Nikolas [a finishing.com supporting advertiser]. Readers who just need a small amount could get a rattlecan or two of brass lacquer [affil. link to info/product on Amazon]


If you could plate the objects with Brass salts, I think they will be protected from oxidation

Anand K.Ware
- Bombay, India

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