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Old 11-04-2010, 12:59 AM   #1
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Does anyone know a good source for "real" brass gadgets? barometers, clocks, lanterns, etc? All I can find anywhere is anodized stuff. I hate anodized brass, it just doesn't hold up over time and I prefer the patina of old brass to the eternal shinyness of the anodized doodads.

In particular I'm looking for a tide clock. My barometer and wind-up ships clock are both real old fashioned brass. I'd like to find a tide-clock to match... and replace the anodized kerosene lantern with a non-anodized one as well.

thanks in advance.
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Old 11-04-2010, 01:42 AM   #2
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There are other retailers who have the same stock, but here in San Diego both Sea Breeze Nautical Books and Gifts (http://www.seabreezelimited.com/) as well as Downwind Marine (http://downwindmarine.com/) sell online/mail order and have some nice brass lamps. Sea Breeze also has a line of nice gifts (barometers and such) that might match what you've got. Ask for the owner--Ann--at Sea Breeze. At Downwind, Chris is most knowledgeable.

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Old 11-04-2010, 02:35 AM   #3
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Do you really mean anodized, or rather that the brass is lacquered so it doesnn't tarnish. Of course, old brass objects tend to be a lot heavier gauge brass than modern stuff.

I just look on eBay and only saw new stuff. Have you checked with Sailor's Exchange in Ft. Lauderdale? You want the tide clock for decoration, right?
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Old 11-04-2010, 06:02 PM   #4
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not sure if the stuff I'm seeing is anodized or laquered... either way it's tarnish free.... the gimballed cabin lamp I have is definitely anodized... it's old and is very chipped and worn, the gold leafe is flaking off and it looks like crap... I'm sure that new it was nice and shiny... but no more...

my old non-laquered/anodized clocks are a beautiful dark patina... but not that false laquered "antiqued" look you get from new antique brass...

Thanks for the links... i'll check them out...

The tide clock would not just ber for decoration... i'm bad about marking the time. If i'm in an area for a while I can just set it at high tide and be able to have an idea of what's going on if there isn't a tidal current to tell me.. .I realize it will need to be reset at every new location... but they are handy as a quick reference when staying in an area for a while
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Old 11-04-2010, 06:43 PM   #5
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I'm thinking you're talking about plated stuff not anodized, right? Anodizing is a similar process to plating but not used on brass. Surprisingly, many brass items are plated with brass. Brass-over-brass, go figure. Our companionway door interior knob has brass plating over brass casting and the plating is slowly wearing away. If that is the case with your stuff, you can polish up the underlying brass just fine. If it is not brass or bronze under the plating, well...probably not worth keeping. If brass things are lacquered, eventually it will get brown under the edges of the lacquer but you can easily strip lacquer off, polish the brass and then either let it get a natural patina or keep it polished, your choice.
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Old 11-04-2010, 08:15 PM   #6
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Are you sure they don't anodize brass? When i was in the Marines we originally got issued brass buckles and buttons but eventually someone got lazy and they started issuing us "anodized"? at least that's what they called them....

any idea what the best way to strip lacquer off is? how do you know if it's plated/anodized or lacquered?... everything just says "brass".
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Old 11-04-2010, 08:37 PM   #7
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When David was in the US Navy, the buttons and all were potmetal plated with brass and then lacquered. Anodizing is an electrical process used with aluminum to create a hardened surface. It can be done with a dye so that aluminum looks yellow/golden like brass but as far as I know it isn't brass that would be anodized. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anodizing

I can just tell by looking at how the item is tarnishing/flaking/wearing if it is lacquered, plated, or simply polished. I don't know how to pass that info on, sorry. You could try gently polishing an area and see what results you get. If you splash the item with salt water and it gets green flecks on it from the salt, I'd say it's not lacquered! If you suspect you have lacquer, you can use a metal-safe stripper to get the lacquer off OR you can just polish away and it will come off. After you've removed the lacquer, you can clean darkened (tarnished) areas and then you can use something like "Never-dull" to polish the brass.

Good luck!
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Old 11-04-2010, 08:49 PM   #8
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Nail polish remover (acetone) removes lacquer. The lacquer is clear. Nail polish is lacquer, too. Peter's father once was part-owner of a paint company, and he used to chide his wife for paying extravagant prices for nail polish when he could sell a 50-gallon drum of the stuff for the same price. He was an interesting man, my father-in-law. Acetone won't hurt the metal. Might bother your lungs, some people are violently allergic to it, so be careful.

If you've got gold-colored flakes coming off, that is probably plated. but if it just says "brass", not "brass-plated" it might just be old, discolored lacquer.
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Old 11-04-2010, 09:36 PM   #9
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ok, thanks for the info... we had the same buttons in the marines, but for some reason the marine corps called them "anodized"... you learn something new every day...

Guess I'll suck it up and go for a laquered tide clock and then just take acetone too it... i have it on the boat already and it doesn't seem to bother me... it is a shame the way the new things are so much lighter than the old stuff... I'll check out sailors exchange first to see if they have anything old that I'll like first.

now if I can just fid a wind-up tide clock ... it it's not one thing it's another
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Old 11-05-2010, 12:17 AM   #10
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The "old fashioned" nail polish removers were acetone and had a PH between 6 and 7 so a very mild acid. The "new, safer non-acetone" nail polish removers typically have a much higher PH (I have heard that it can be about that of ammonia at 11-12) and will damage the brass by removing the zinc. Therefore, either use a "metal safe" stripper OR use actual acetone not nail polish remover.
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Old 11-05-2010, 12:46 AM   #11
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will do thanks for the tip.
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Old 11-05-2010, 01:48 AM   #12
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'Electrodeposition' is accepted as the term for the process being discussed.

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