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Old 02-03-2008, 01:55 PM
 
Location: Journey's End
10,184 posts, read 17,853,887 times
Reputation: 3674
Default Cleaning and Polishing an Antique Metal Trunk

I have a rather attractive metal-type antique trunk that I'd like to clean and polish. If it is clean, and polished it could function more as a piece of art and still hold all my odds and ends (thinking art supplies) but I haven't figured out some simple solvent or cleaning detergent that might work and a follow up polish.

Any suggestions or experience with cleaning something like this?
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Old 02-03-2008, 02:00 PM
 
Location: WA
3,939 posts, read 12,275,384 times
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Many cleanings of antiques have resulted in a drop in value. If you care you might consult a reputable dealer before moving forward.
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Old 02-03-2008, 02:03 PM
 
Location: Journey's End
10,184 posts, read 17,853,887 times
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Nope, I don't care about the value but its functionality. I've been collecting old stuff my whole life and sometimes, like now, I just want to use it.

Thanks for the thoughts, though!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdelena View Post
Many cleanings of antiques have resulted in a drop in value. If you care you might consult a reputable dealer before moving forward.
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Old 02-03-2008, 04:30 PM
 
13,114 posts, read 23,395,010 times
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You can treat most painted metal surfaces as you would the paint on your car.

If it is really dull and faded you could start with a mild compound/cleaner followed by a wax/sealer.

Always smart to try whatever you decide on a small, least visible section to test before doing the entire object.

Old Trunks are neat and some are very ornate.
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Old 02-03-2008, 04:35 PM
 
Location: Journey's End
10,184 posts, read 17,853,887 times
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Thanks, Ultrarunner.

The trunk is not painted, and is rather ornately embossed.

Do you have any suggestions for a cleaner?
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Old 02-03-2008, 05:15 PM
 
13,114 posts, read 23,395,010 times
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Maybe a mild metal polish, an old toothbrush and a cotton rag?
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Old 02-03-2008, 05:27 PM
 
Location: Journey's End
10,184 posts, read 17,853,887 times
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Thanks, this could work. I suppose I'll have to give it a try and work the inside first.

Appreciate you making the suggestions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultrarunner View Post
Maybe a mild metal polish, an old toothbrush and a cotton rag?
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Old 02-03-2008, 06:10 PM
 
Location: N of citrus, S of decent corn
15,537 posts, read 17,671,283 times
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I was advised to use Endust on some antique tin candleholders. It gave a protective coating and left a nice finish on the metal. You could try it.
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Old 02-03-2008, 06:18 PM
 
Location: Journey's End
10,184 posts, read 17,853,887 times
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Interesting, gentlearts. I did a search (what would we do in the 21st century without these) for Endust and discovered this useful site.

I wanted to see its properties and determine if I had alternatives hanging around the house--it seems it is a petroleum-based product.

I'm going to try Ultrarunner's suggestion, and also cooking oil (recommended on another fascinating cleaning product site).

Frankly, I hate cleaning, but I really want to bring this trunk upstairs and put into the functional world rather than hibernate in my projects work-shop.
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Old 02-04-2008, 12:05 PM
 
Location: Historic Bessemer Alabama
630 posts, read 2,400,523 times
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you could use Brasso and a Dremel Tool with a cloth polishing bit on it! Thats what i use to polish the door hardware(KNOBS, HINGES, LOCKSETS) on our 108 yr old home after stripping the paint from them!
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