Sunday, October 9, 2011

Nautical, but nice!

Bright and shining brass starboard lantern

and the portside one too!

The latest project was to restore a pair of old ship's lanterns for use in our beach house. These solid brass navigation lights had years of verdigris, corrosion and just plain dirt on them. The plan was to use them indoors as side lights suspended from a chain.

Years of salt and grime have accumulated on this old ships lantern

The first job was to take the entire fitting apart - lots of silicone spray was used to loosen bolt and nuts and gentle persuasion separated the glass fittings and eventually we had the whole thing in pieces. Now the next hurdle was to clean all the bits. A good old fashioned way to clean brass (and copper) is to mix up a paste of vinegar, salt and flour and paint this thickly over the piece you want to clean.

Salt, vinegar and flour are all you need to clean brass

Coat the brass with the paste and let it work its magic

Leave the paste on overnight and scrub it off in warm water with a scourer and the brass should be clean. It may need another treatment and it might also take on a pinkish tinge - don't worry that is just the copper element in the brass showing up and will disappear with polishing.
Now that all the gunge is off the brass it needs to be polished. A buffing machine helps to do the hard work together with a buffing compound and will have the brass shining brightly in no time at all. If you do not have access to one of these then I am afraid it's brasso and a lot of rubbing.

Buffing the lid of the lantern

All the pieces bright and shiny and ready to be assembled.

To keep the shine on your brass spray about 3 thin coats of clear laquer on each piece making sure the laquer has dried thoroughly before applying the next coat.
Reassemble the fitting with the necessary wiring that is required to connect to the electrical outlet in your house. The port fitting has red filters and the starboard one green filters.

P.O.S.H. - port out......
........starboard home!

This is another stunning brass ship's lantern that has also been cleaned and rewired for use in our house.

Another larger brass lantern that's received the same treatment.

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It would be great to hear from you and any tips that you might want to pass on to others.