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Sealing brass (bronze and copper for that matter)

I’ve started an collection of brass jewelry, but have run into oxidation problems which appear a week or so after the piece is completed. I look at brass jewelry in department stores and it’s not spotted. What are they doing?


Dick Stromberg

Dick, see Holtzapffel Volume 3, great info on brass lacquering and shellacking and other surface treatments for brass, bronze, and copper.

Thanks, Phil

Look into powder coating

interesting thought. thanks
Ah Mexico! Where “C” on a faucet means HOT, and “M” on a restroom means THE LADIES ROOM.

Protectaclear from Everbrite works pretty well, but gives it a shine. Most brass jewelry in stores is getting polished regularly if it doesn’t have a protective coat. (My experience from working in a boutique.) For my brass pendants, I use Protectaclear on the back and Renaissance Wax on the front. I give a swatch of the grey 3M Tri-M-Ite Imperial Polishing Paper (the fabric-feeling ones) with brass purchases to maintain the front after the wax wears off. So far so good!

Thanks, Jenny.
I’ve never given Renaissance wax a real try. Will look at it again. I wonder how Protectaclear is different from what Rio is selling.

Ah Mexico! Where “C” on a faucet means HOT, and “M” on a restroom means THE LADIES ROOM.


You might look at Incralac and/or Syncralac, the first is thinner based the second is water based (I like the thinner based myself). It was made specifically for copper alloys, goes on easily and if needed (at least for the thinner based material) it can rather easily be removed with MEK then reapplied. Was developed, as far as I know, for use on bronze sculptures - the copper part - and was of removal/reapplication so outdoor pieces could be rather easily re finished, without damaging the patina that was being protected. Both are UV inhibited, the thinner used produce tends to be good outside for a bout 15 years before it starts to craze/get foggy.

Also for all here, you do know that square/sharp edges do not coat well on the sharp edge so getting all sharp corners off of a piece before the protection coat goes on, will give far better, longer lasting protection than leaving the sharp edges. The coating is VERY THIN on the “point” of the sharp edge and that is where most coating fail.

Also a VERY TOUGH clear coat is a POR15.com catalyzed clear coat ( that is very tough, especially when it gets moist. Drawbacks are it’s cost ($76.00 a qt) and it is a rather thick, finished coating but the thickness might be reduced with thinners and careful application. Give them a call if you would like some input about thinning. Used on yachts for keeping bright work fittings polished yet usable. Toughest coating I have ever had to take off (and THAT is another story,.).

Just a bit of potentially good info…


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This does sound really interesting. Thanks for sending it.
A few years ago, I tried using a lacquer from a paint store. Immediately I ran into problems from a woman who wore a pendant on her skin and was allergic to it. Makes me nervous.

Besides the Protectaclear, which I’ve had good results with. I also use Clear Guard from Sculpt Nouveau.

Sculpt Nouveau also has a wax which works well to put over the Clear Coat to help it hold up longer.


Renaissance Wax is easy to apply and seems to work, at least on copper…Rob

Thanks, Robert
Ah Mexico! Where “C” on a faucet means HOT, and “M” on a restroom means THE LADIES ROOM.

Mr. Stromberg - Brass is exposed to some harsh environments on marching band instruments through football games and/or parades during inclement weather. I have asked questions similar to yours of instrument repair professionals and was recommended to contact and solicit their expertise. I have not yet done so but I am happy to pass along the recommendation given to me. I am not affiliated with Ferees.

You’re absolutely right! I have a Ph.D. in music so know those brass instruments pretty well, but hadn’t thought of them when is comes to jewelry. And, we have a whole bunch of brass lamps in our house. They’re sealed with something. The woman at Rio Grande Jewelry told me brass is the most reactive metal there is. Here in the jewelry business we’re missing something.
Thanks for your reply.
Ah Mexico! Where “C” on a faucet means HOT, and “M” on a restroom means THE LADIES ROOM.

I’ve tried it all and Protectaclear from Everbrite works about the best especially if you are protecting patina. POR Clear will yellow and become brittle.

Effective methods of keeping brass and copper from changing color run into the hundreds. Many good ones have already been recommended with lacquer being one of my favorites. We use it on watch dials. One I’ve read about which is widely used in the costume jewelry industry is actually plating with lacquer. I’m not sure how this is done, but it’s very much like gold plating. Finally, there are also clear baked enamel plating. These used to be put on clocks and lasted for ever. Their application was like soft enamel, and they were baked at low temperatures (about that of an average oven) for 10 to 14 hours to set.

Very helpful, thanks. I discovered I had some of Rio’s lacquer, but it collected at the bottom of the pieces in ugly drops. I can’t baby sit each piece while it dries in order to remove the drops while they’re still liquid. Plating with lacquer sounds most interesting, but baking it on does too. I wonder where powder coating fits in.
I guess what I need now is someone willing to tell me what they’re doing. I’m an American living in Mexico with limited Spanish and dictionaries are no help when it comes to technical language. So I can’t just go to a department store and ask "Who do you buy your brass from? Would they be willing to tell me their trade secrets?"
Maybe I’ll try diluting Rio’s water soluble lacquer and spraying it.
Opinions are welcome!
Ah Mexico! Where “C” on a faucet means HOT, and “M” on a restroom means THE LADIES ROOM.

Hello Dick,
I’m passing on information provided to me in a Metal Arts class. I haven’t used this product but it was highly recommended by the instructor. Hopefully, it will be helpful to you.

G.J. Nikolas & Co. in Bellwood, IL makes assorted spray lacquer for non-ferrous metals. They appear to be a supplier of lacquer spray for brass musical instruments, lamps, doors, sculptures, etc. Their website is But, I tried visiting the website before posting this and only found what looks like an advertisement for the company with no links to product information or a way to purchase products. I had better luck Googling their name. By doing that I found a link to their products. It appears to be difficult to order from them directly but there are links to contact a representative with product questions. And, other retailers showed up in my Google search that sell Nikolas products directly to the public.
I hope this is helpful and good luck.

Thanks, Dianne. I’ll look into it.
Ah Mexico! Where “C” on a faucet means HOT, and “M” on a restroom means THE LADIES ROOM.

Try Tanury Industries. You will find them on the web. They are in Rhode Island. Do all kinds of plating/coating.

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