Cleaning a brass steam engine

I recently aquired a brass steam engine that is badly tarnished. It appears that a previous owner had removed the factory finish and then did nothing with
it. I am looking for suggestions on ways to clean the engine so that i can paint it. Since there is a lot of piping on the engine, I am afraid cleaners that require rubbing will damage the engine.
Thanks in advance for your help,
Jim
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Jim927 wrote:

Hello, I take it you mean cleaning the Body of the Loco`. Take the Body off the Chassis and immerse it in Kerosene, wash the Kero` off and dry her out then paint or Laquar it. Regards, John. "http://www.upnaway.com/~bbml "
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The black/brown tarnish can be removed by some chemical cleaners but don't let the wheels or motor get that stuff in them - the wheels will retain the chemical as well as erode the centers of the drive wheels (usually cast zamak or other similar metal) and you will be in real trouble. The greenish corrosion is also removable by other chemicals for that purpose and the same caveats apply. You can paint over the black/brown tarnish without problems other than making sure that the surfaces are completely free of oils and other dirt. You can also get the loco bead blasted at some of the better painters before getting the loco painted.
-- Bob May Losing weight is easy! If you ever want to lose weight, eat and drink less. Works evevery time it is tried!
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"
do not clean with kerosine. it will leave an oily film. mineral spirits will work better. i do wish we had access to carbon tetrachloride -- it was excellent cleaner.
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"
do not clean with kerosine. it will leave an oily film. mineral spirits will work better. i do wish we had access to carbon tetrachloride -- it was excellent cleaner.
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larry l. wrote:

Yep, an excellent solvent. We have a guy at church that's just short of needing new kidneys and a liver because of the stuff.
No thanks.
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I've had excellent experience with:
Arrow Brass and Copper Cleaner
MPI PO Box 127 Pembine, WI 54156
Bruce Erlichman

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cleaners
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Its the citric acid from the tomatoes in the tomato sauce that does it. Despite your sodium bicarb, there is still enough acidity to eat the tarnish, etc.
Makes you wonder if you need a buffer solution after you finish cleaning to be sure you neutralized all the acid residue from the tomato sauce.
Of course, the acid will do a light , very light, etch to give some tooth for primer / paint.
I wonder if just plain white vinegar might not work just as well as tomato sauce, and be a lot cheaper.
-- Jim McLaughlin **************************************************************************** **************************************************************************** I am getting really tired of spam, so the reply address is munged. Please don't just hit the reply key. Remove the obvious from the address to reply. **************************************************************************** **************************************************************************** Special treat for spambots: snipped-for-privacy@ftc.gov, snipped-for-privacy@ftc.gov, snipped-for-privacy@ftc.gov
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chemicals
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Jim McLaughlin wrote:

Definetly White Vinegar, I use it all the time, John. "http:\\www.upnaway.com\~bbml"
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John Richards wrote:

Me too. A soak in a mild acid (vinegar is usually available and strong enough) helps paint stick on any metal, brass, Zamac, whatever. It's part of my standard finishing schedule for die cast Zamac steamers (Mantua, Bowser etc). Should work just as well on brass. You want to start off with a grease cutter like Tide to get the oil, grease and fingerprints off the metal. A trip thru the dishwasher will do the most stubborn grease. Then an acid bath will neutralize the alkali detergent and etch the surface to give some "tooth" for the primer to grip. I've had good luck with any sort of supermarket vinegar.
David Starr
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A 28 oz. can of tomato sauce (store brand) is 79 cents.
Vinegar might work. I've never tried it.
Jay CNS&M Wireheads of the world, unite!
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"JCunington" wrote:

Well, use what works for you, at the cost you are comfortable with.
Me, I don't like the idea of opening the tom sauce can and using part of it and having to store the rest. Needs to be refrigerated or it will "grow" ugly green beasties. [which, sadly, will not be basil =:( ]
Other hand, vinegar sits on a workshop shelf after opening, requires no refrigeration and doesn't "grow" green beasties.

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On Sun, 07 Sep 2003 20:18:01 GMT, "Jim McLaughlin"

During one of many visits to a Japanese "brass factory" in the mid-60s, [while stationed in Tokyo with US Forces, Japan] I observed their preparation for over spraying brass sub-assemblies with some clear, not a lacquer, substance. All parts were immersed in a dilute, never could learn how much dilution, solution of sulfuric acid then through a clear water bath and blow dried. The sulfuric acid is what caused solder joints to turn a dark gray.
Ray Hobin NMRA Life # 1735; TCA # HR-78-12540; ARHS # 2421 Durham, NC [Where tobacco was king; now The City of Medicine]
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VINEGAR I thought you said VIAGRA need to fix these glasses....
Jim Stewart
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Every few years the vinegar splution (pun intended) comes up again. Vinegar does nothing.
Several years ago Don Hillerich, one of the early custom painters decided to test if vinegar really helped. he submerged several strips of tarnished brass in vinegar solutions for varying periods of time. He then gave thenm to a testing lab where they were examined for the amount of tarnish that remained and the changes in surface condition to the brass strips. No change even on the strips that had been submerged for many hours. The conclusion is tha vinegar is an acid, avery weak acid.
Fact is you do not want to remove tarnish from a brass model using acids. Even ones that work. They are dangerous, must be neutralized, and cause tin-lead solder to turn black.
There are better ways. Check with a clock restorer if you want the best answer. There are commercial products that attack ONLY the oxides of brass. Some are water based and some are petrol based.
John Glaab Peach Creek Shops
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On 07 Sep 2003 23:51:26 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (PEACHCREEK) wrote:

Interesting you mention him...I recall Don Hillerich [who worked for the Smithsonian] whose custom painting business was named Terry Industries of Arlington, VA. He showed up a few times at our club, NVMRRs, in Alexandria, VA. From discussions with him I switched to automotive lacquers and eventually got an ultrasonic cleaner.

One brass "cleaner" for want of a better word, was an ite,m called casebrite or Casebright. It was sold in gun shops and was used to clean brass cartridges prior to reloads. It's base may have been chromic acid...as it was orange in color. Don't see it any more.
Ray Hobin NMRA Life # 1735; TCA # HR-78-12540; ARHS # 2421 Durham, NC [Where tobacco was king; now The City of Medicine]
My reply address is correct as a correct reply address is more important to me than the time spent deleting SPAM.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Jim927) wrote in message

Jim, I have found glass beading to be the best way to get all the tarnish off and have a nice clean and etched surface ready for paint. Doug
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