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Thread: Polishing Tips for Silver

  1. Polishing Tips for Silver

    I looked and hope this comment isn't redundant. I took a silver polish cloth - the two-part cloth, one for initial cleaning and the other for polishing - and cut it into 1 inch strips. I wet the first cloth strip with water and used it to clean the horn. Ran it into all the nooks and crannies like a piece of dental floss. Then I took another strip from the second cloth and used it to polish the horn running it into the same areas the same as with the first cloth. Result was well worth it and took about an hour to really get in there and clean it. Horn should be much easier to keep clean with minimal maintenance on the exterior.

    The horn was Arthur Lehman's old horn which he bought 60 years ago in 1948. There are places on the horn where the silver plate has worn away and brass is visible but over all the horn is in good condition and polished up nicely. I guess many of you have newer horns and in better condition, but they would sparkle and shine using the method I mentioned. Probably be less work for you since they are "newer" and "cleaner"?

  2. Polishing Tips for Silver

    Originally posted by: davewerden

    Maybe someone else can tell us technically/scientifically what happens when you polish. However, I believe it is a good idea if done properly.
    Probably it depends on whether the polish contains only abrasives for physical removal of tarnish, or just antioxidants, or both. Polishes for fine silver probably rely partly on antioxidants. A bit of internet research turned up info about one antioxidant, thiourea, that has been effective in silver polishing applications. Alternate antioxidants might be part of the formula of modern polishes, but the thiourea example provides a look at the type of chemistry that's involved. Long story short - the tarnish that forms on silver is silver sulfide, formed by reaction of silver with hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in air.

    Silver Sulfide

    Antioxidants react with silver sulfide to release the sulfur back into the air as hydrogen sulfide. The antioxidant may also complex with the silver, protecting it from further reaction, at least for a while I suppose, until the complex is undone by reaction with more H2S, reforming the tarnish. The case of how the area in silver polish reacts with silver sulfide is laid out in the info below.

    Chemical principles

    It stands to reason that if abrasive is the main mode of tarnish removal, you're also removing silver in the form of silver sulfide. The antioxidant method reacts with the silver but does not remove it.


  3. Polishing Tips for Silver

    The more you polish the more silver is lost. I had a Clark Terry flugel horn for 20 years and I was totally amazed at how infrequently it required polishing. Once after my ex-step children played with it and once when I sold it. I was meticulous about keeping it clean and I kept it in a leather gig bag with a brass zipper that extended more that three quarters around the bag.

  4. Polishing Tips for Silver

    I own a nice Silver Besson Sovereign 968, she's about 8 years old. I've always taken good care of her, but after a few years, some dark spots started appearing on the top of the bell. I tried to wipe them off using water and a soft cloth, but they wouldn't disappear! I'm not sure what's causing it, they doesn't show from a distance, only up close...

    Does anyone have an idea what's causing it? And how do I get rid of them?

    Also, an instrument repairsman was clumsy enough to make 2 BIG scratches on the bell once, I complained to him about it, and he came back with this cream, that he polished the scratches with. And they disappeared! The only thing is, two years after they were made and "fixed", they're visible again!

    And I'm wondering what kind of cream he could have used? (It was on a tube, and as far as I can remember, the tube was brown-yellowish or something like that....). Any tips and hints would be very much appreciated!

  5. #25

    Polishing Tips for Silver

    Not sure about the scratches, but the dark spots are covered in this thread. Check my post on 11/11/2006 05:22 PM (page 1 of this thread).

    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  6. Polishing Tips for Silver

  7. #27

    Polishing Tips for Silver

    Originally posted by: scapino silver plate restorer
    Note that this is to replate the finish in spots. I am guessing that is more drastic than you need to remove black spots. Might help with the scratches. If you try it for that, please let us know how it works.

    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  8. #28

    Polishing Tips for Silver

    How about laquered brass?

    I read on a trumpet forum that a shot of old fashioned Pledge on a cloth once or twice a month is all laquered brass really needs. Anyone have any experience using Pledge? It almost seems to easy to be true.....

  9. Polishing Tips for Silver

    Pledge works great. Used it for years. I have some spray mist stuff that I got in Switzerland that is lacquere polish for brass instruments and Saxophones. Works just like pledge.

    Sterling Virtuoso 1052HS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  10. #30

    Polishing Tips for Silver

    Thanks Mr Ruby,

    Now I can pretend I'm playing in a grove of lemon trees....

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