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 Post subject: Brass escutcheon restoration
PostPosted: Jan Thu 23, 2020 1:49 am 
Member

Joined: Feb Tue 15, 2011 12:33 am
Posts: 529
Location: Columbia, MO 65202
Hi all:

I did a search on this forum about restoring escutcheon's a couple of weeks ago and got quite an assortment of suggestions, including gun bluing, Novacan black patina for zinc, and many different suggestions using paint. Spent half a Saturday in town buying gun bluing, Novacan products, and seven cans of spray paint. I was bound and determined to solve this brass escutcheon problem once and for all. I did see a mention of Birchwood casey brass black, but unfortunately no one in town had it, so I guess I will order some.

I'm not sure how guys were doing this with spray paint, but after about 20 hours of fooling with that I gave up on it. The Novacan black patina for zinc did absolutely nothing even after soaking them for a half hour in it. I tried it on some zinc plated galvanized metal and it didn't make that black either. I tried two kinds of gun bluing. Nada.

A lady at the hobby store where I bought the Novacan black patina for zinc had her doubts about its effects on brass, and suggested I also take a bottle of Novacan black patina for solder and lead. Now that worked pretty well. I'm currently working on an Atwater Kent 185. (I had this thing down to waiting on some graphics, and refinishing these escutcheon's, until the dog came in the other day while I was painting the gold on the speaker, jumped up on the workbench and put his foot through the speaker cone. Sunny beaches!!!! That dog is lucky to be alive.)

Anyhow, attached is a picture that I did with the Novacan solder and lead product. I buffed the highlights with 1500 grit sandpaper and sprayed them with clear lacquer. Hard to get the light right, but they look pretty similar to this picture.

I will start another thread about speaker cones....

Mike


Attachments:
AK185 escutcheons.JPG
AK185 escutcheons.JPG [ 201.68 KiB | Viewed 489 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Brass escutcheon restoration
PostPosted: Jan Thu 23, 2020 2:15 am 
Member

Joined: Jun Sun 15, 2014 11:04 pm
Posts: 1245
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
I've used Novacan for lead on many other metals besides brass; iron, aluminum, steel, tin, lead and zinc. It does not work well on chrome or nickel plate. I dilute it with water to slow down the process and give better control of the color. Cheers, Russie


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 Post subject: Re: Brass escutcheon restoration
PostPosted: Jan Thu 23, 2020 2:20 am 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2084
Location: Monroe, NC 28112 USA
Jax Chemicals
https://jaxchemical.com/shop/jax-brown/
This gives the deep bronze color common to most embossed brass bezels in the 1920s and 30s. It is basically what they used years ago, is fast and easy to control. I've used it many times.
Look at my post last week or so in chassis restoration about an Airline DC-6 set.

Robert


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 Post subject: Re: Brass escutcheon restoration
PostPosted: Jan Thu 23, 2020 2:52 pm 
Member

Joined: Feb Tue 15, 2011 12:33 am
Posts: 529
Location: Columbia, MO 65202
Thanks, Robert. I will get some on order


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 Post subject: Re: Brass escutcheon restoration
PostPosted: Jan Thu 23, 2020 3:17 pm 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2084
Location: Monroe, NC 28112 USA
I think I may have not posted the finished example here, so here it is...
I did it a couple of weeks ago.
Robert


Attachments:
SF-Airline DC-6.jpg
SF-Airline DC-6.jpg [ 750.81 KiB | Viewed 451 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Brass escutcheon restoration
PostPosted: Jan Thu 23, 2020 5:40 pm 
Member

Joined: Feb Tue 15, 2011 12:33 am
Posts: 529
Location: Columbia, MO 65202
Very nice. I'm looking forward to getting some of that stuff and trying it out. Refinishing these darn escutcheon's to look original has been a thorn in my side since starting this hobby after I retired a couple of years ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Brass escutcheon restoration
PostPosted: Jan Thu 23, 2020 6:07 pm 
Member

Joined: Jun Sun 15, 2014 11:04 pm
Posts: 1245
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
Just for comparison, here are several escutcheon treated with Novacan, various strengths. On all of them, the final treatment was to rub them down with Watco oil, and then place them in a 160 degree oven overnight to set the oil. On the last two, I did not rub through the high spots to accentuate the graphics, because that is the way it was originally done. An 8 oz container cost me $4.50 at our local stained glass store. Since I dilute it 50% to 90%, depending on how fast I want it to work, I actually get way more than 16 oz of treatment fluid. The stronger mixes can be used over and over, so it lasts for a very ling time. Cheers, Russie

PS, It appears there are several products which can treat brass escutcheons. They likely all have similar formulas. I guess it boils down to cost, convenience and whatever you get used to.

Just checked Ebay and the price for 8 oz is $9.69 including shipping. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Novacan-Black- ... xyUrZSxtFO


Attachments:
RCA.jpg
RCA.jpg [ 189.68 KiB | Viewed 437 times ]
Unkn.jpg
Unkn.jpg [ 156.44 KiB | Viewed 437 times ]
RCAa.jpg
RCAa.jpg [ 150.16 KiB | Viewed 437 times ]
10-50.jpg
10-50.jpg [ 124.35 KiB | Viewed 437 times ]
Mills Esc.jpg
Mills Esc.jpg [ 139.39 KiB | Viewed 437 times ]


Last edited by startgroove on Jan Thu 23, 2020 6:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Brass escutcheon restoration
PostPosted: Jan Thu 23, 2020 6:19 pm 
Member

Joined: Jun Sun 15, 2014 11:04 pm
Posts: 1245
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
BTW, Mike, nice job on those two AK escutcheons. What coating did you use? Cheers, Russie


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 Post subject: Re: Brass escutcheon restoration
PostPosted: Jan Thu 23, 2020 7:02 pm 
Member

Joined: Feb Tue 15, 2011 12:33 am
Posts: 529
Location: Columbia, MO 65202
Hi, Russie:

Thanks for the compliment.

I used the Novacan for lead to tint them, buffed the highlights with 1500 grit paper, and gave them a couple of coats of clear lacquer. The actual color is a little bit more to the brown/ aged bronze shade than in the photos, but darker than I would have preferred. It's hard to get accurate reproduction of these subtle colors with various lighting and camera settings. I agree they look pretty good, but not exactly what I am hoping to be able to do. I'm going to order in some more of the products mentioned here and do some more experimenting on some old escutcheons I have in the back room.

Best regards

Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Brass escutcheon restoration
PostPosted: Jan Thu 23, 2020 7:37 pm 
Member

Joined: Jun Sun 15, 2014 11:04 pm
Posts: 1245
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
TY, Russie


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