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How do I paint Brass Cane Handles?





October 21, 2010

I make Walking Cane Flutes with solid Brass Handles. I would like to paint some of the brass handles. It looks like they have a Lacquer finish on them. Exactly how would I go about painting them?

Thank you,

Nick

Nick Barbadoro
Walking Cane Flute maker. - Stockbridge, Massachusetts, USA



October 21, 2010

Hi, Nick. If the handles truly are solid brass, you should be able to remove any lacquer or other clear coat without damaging them. If it is lacquer, it will come off with acetone or lacquer thinner. If that doesn't work, try mineral spirits or turpentine, but not a caustic stripper as that can attack brass. If none of these work, something that will remove almost anything (including your skin and internal organs) is a methylene chloride based aircraft stripper. If you must use that, do it only outside with rubber gloves, goggles, good ventilation and no distractions like kids or pets running around. I personally don't think the average consumer should use methylene chloride, but they do sell it to the public.

After that, you are left with the problem that most paints won't stick to brass, so you'll need to either use a metal etch first, or prime it with a self-etching primer. Even then, adhesion to brass can be a tempermental issue. After the primer is on, you can probably decorate it with the paint of your choice. Good luck.

Regards,

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



October 22, 2010

Thanks for the quick response Ted. I think I'll give it a try on one of the brass handles. Is there anything I could soak the handle in, prior to applying the etching primer, that will help with adhesion? After painting should I add a coat or two of lacquer spray to protect the handle?

Thanks,

Nick

Nick Barbadoro
- Stockbridge, Massachusetts, USA



October , 2010

Some people say soaking in vinegar and rinsing before painting will help. It's a bit trial-and-error as to how long will produce the unknown amount of etching that they claim helps. Yes, unpainted brass must be lacquered; I'm not really picturing the situation though. You are just painting a decoration on part of the brass rather than painting the handle? If so, I suppose over-etching in vinegar could spoil the appearance of the lacquered brass.

Regards,

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



October 27, 2010

I am trying to paint the whole handle. Here are pictures of the brass handles I am trying to refinish:

55981

These are made in china, I cannot find a supplier here in the US, and I think they are of very poor quality.

If there were another way of refinishing them I would not paint them. Customers have complained of the handle discoloring their hand.

Nick

Nick Barbadoro
- Stockbridge, Massachusetts, USA



October , 2010

Hello again, Nick.

In that case I would not paint them, but would remove the low quality lacquer and replace it with a high quality lacquer or clear coat. Consider talking to G.J. Nikolas [a finishing.com supporting advertiser] and Everbrite [a finishing.com supporting advertiser] about whether their coatings can be expected to resist this service. Good luck.

Regards,

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


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