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Clocks, Watches/Cleaning brass on clock


Weights and chain are severely tarnished from winding.How do I get it back to original finish?

Hi Bob,

You have two options:

1- Order new weight shells from or You would need the dimensions; width and height. If the chains are brass plated  you will have to order new chains as well.
If the chains are brass and not brass plated you can clean them. See below.

2- The tarnish is caused by the oils in your hands. The brass tarnishes where it is exposed to this oil. If you look closely the tarnish marks look like hand and finger prints.  

-Remove ~all~ lacquer from the weight shells. When you are done removing the lacquer you need to remove any finger prints and not touch the brass again. The weight shells can then be sprayed with several coats of lacquer. Or you can use a clear coat for the cars. I heard clear coat doesn't tarnish if you touch it. You can also dip the weight shells in lacquer and hang them to dry.

I find that Bar Keepers Friend is good at taking off the lacquer and shining the brass. It is a labor of love. If you don't use gloves your hands will take a beating as this is an abrasive. It's like a "comet" type cleanser made for brass, copper and such.  

If the weight shells are "polished" you may need to use a different type of lacquer remover so they don't scratch.

Do not touch any lacquered brass and you will never have this problem. Many people think they need to hold the weight as they wind their clocks. This not only causes tarnish but it also allows for the chain to come off the sprocket when being wound. Either side sprocket is fine but the middle one requires the movement to come out of the case to replace it. That is a house call. You do not need to help the weight. Just make sure the hooks are tight every so often.

PS. I wouldn't worry about the chains too much if  you are going to restore the original weight shells.

If the chains are brass they will clean up with the bar keepers friend. DO NOT lacquer the chains.

Oh, and what about the pendulum bob? Is that tarnished too? Before you remove it from the stick mark the spot where the bob goes when you put it back on the stick.

Hope this helps,
The Clocklady

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Marilyn Bellotti


This is for advice only. ~Most~ repairs need a professional. If I can help you with an adjustment that can set your clock back in order I will try. I can not write a chapter on clock repair. I will point you in the right direction and you will have to do your own research on how clocks work for more intense repairs. -No Watches -No Appraisals. Search ebay for past sales for that information.


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