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Can this be restored to either it's original or a better finish?



2002

I have a Stiffel lamp I bought in approx. 1978. I live by the Gulf of Mexico where things rust and tarnish like no where else due to the salt content in the Gulf. I tried cleaning this lamp with Brasso according to the directions on the Brasso can. After 4 tries some of it came off but where I rubbed the very hardest it appears that the finish came off. I believe it is the finish because it looks like Brass where it came off only much brighter and lighter. At that point I stopped cleaning. Any suggestions? I love the lamp and would really like some help.

Barbara Simpson
- Port Isabel, Texas


2002

It is difficult to tell what the finish actually is because many ways to produce a brass-like color have been developed. It is possible that the lamp is solid brass, or it may be another metal with a heavy brass plating, or it may be nickel plated followed by a thin layer of brass, or it may even be nickel plated followed by a brass colored electrophoretic lacquer with no brass actually involved.

However, I have found Brasso [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] capable of easily removing discoloration on copper-bottomed cookware with a very heavy oxidation layer--so I would be amazed if it took four tries to remove oxidation from a brass surface. So, guessing from the results rather than from a real knowledge of the surface, I think the brass is lacquered and you need to remove the lacquer with lacquer thinner [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] before trying to remove the brass oxidation. After the lacquer is removed, Brasso should work easily.

I hope the lighter color you are seeing is not nickel (chrome colored) because that would indicate that you had abraded all the way through the brass plating layer.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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