Brass will tarnish, and the degree and speed of this process is totally dependent on the position it is sited. Eg. Plaques sited near the coast or a busy road will be subjected to salts in the air which will attack and tarnish the brass plaque. Similarly a plaque that is subject to the prevailing elements, rain, snow etc, will tarnish more quickly than one that is indoors or in a covered porch. Handling can also tarnish brass; this can be identified by finger marks, hand prints etc. on the polished surface.
We at Brunel Engraving Company do not believe in treating the surface of brass with a lacquer or varnish. This process in the early stages can be quite acceptable but there can be problems.
If the brass is lacquered prior to mounting, the action of screwing the screw against the brass plate can crack the lacquer. This will result in damp penetrating the cracks and the brass tarnishing beneath the lacquer, a similar result will be if the lacquered surface is scratched.
Under these circumstances the only option is to remove the plaque, strip the lacquer and paint infill and re polish.
These are the reasons we recommend that brass is polished in the traditional way.
The Polishing Process
- Ensure no surface dirt is adhered to the plaque.
- Select a clean, dirt and grit free cloth.
- Using a recognised brand of brass polish use the cloth to apply the polish in horizontal strokes. We recommend a non abrasive polish such as “Peek” which can be found on ourweb site.
- The plaque will eventually return to its original condition, to see this fully, buff with a clean polish free cloth.
- The above process may require repeating if the plaque is heavily tarnished.
- By using the above process regularly the brass will, with time build up a surface patina which will help to reduce tarnishing.