First check it with magnet to see if it is steel underneath. If
not magnetic it is probably all brass.
If it is magnetic it may be a brass plate over a copper strike
plate over steel. I once cleaned an old Brass bed- maybe about
100 years old now. It has a thin brass sheet over steel. It was
quite a job. Vinegar and salt is a good cheap start-- It may be
lacquered which may need to be removed first- use lacquer thinner
or acetone and watch out for fires. The German polishes such as
Similchrome is very good . I think Flitz is pretty much the same.
use with a green Scotchbrite pad and rub. It may take a lot of time
but is smaller than a bed. I will have to the bed again someday.
Polishing copper and brass
LAST UPDATE: 12/23/2002 3:41:07 PM
There are a number of specialized products available specifically
for cleaning copper and brass. If you choose to use one of these,
follow the directions on the label. If you’d rather make your own,
there’s a simple recipe: dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a cup of
white vinegar, then add enough flour to make a paste. Apply the
paste to the surface you want to clean and let it sit for fifteen
minutes. Rinse it off with warm water and dry thoroughly with a
towel. After cleaning, you might want to apply a protective polish
to protect the surface.