Metal Polishing Myths, Half Truths and Lies
9. You should never polish antiques
Biggest load of B.S. ever!
How are you going to prevent or remove oxidization? Antiques need to be restored and preserved. The aim is to maintain the original or factory delivered condition. Therefore, where applicable they need to be polished carefully, then protected by a museum quality wax and placed into a clean environment, where they will not be handled.
Over-polishing is another matter altogether. A little grime should always be left in the crackes to show antiquity and allow for accurate dating. Always use the finest metal polish possible when dealing with antiques, and where cleaning is sufficient, that is all that needs to be done. If you have an old piece of sterling silver, or brass that is blackened with age and tarnished, I can guarantee that not too many people will be interested in it. Polish it with a quality metal polish and finish it with a good wax. It will sell.
Simple as that. I do it with silver and brass all the time. Especially brass. If a piece is going to be restored to its original condition, there can be nothing wrong with that. To make it even brighter than new, in the case of most ornaments will only increase its
saleability. Because you are adding to its beauty.
Of course there are items that should never be polished. Old tools in particular, normally do better in a used condition and so are not generally restored. Black Pewter is not normally restored. But with copper, leave it to go green and slowly it will erode away. Polish it, wax it, and it will last forever.
As a note, in a clean environment English Custom Polishes normally leave a finish that won't need to be touched for at least five years. A mere dusting and maybe a rub over with a clean
Turkish cloth is normally enough.
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