IMO, Brass was made to stand up to the elements.
CLEANING: I use the old 'Color Back' auto paint restoration product, it works great, so does Turtle Wax, and Dark Magic works well as a finishing product as it's non-abrasive. Use a soft cloth, (an old T-shirt works well). ALWAYS work horizontally. (A pottery wheel will save U some time/effort.)Also, take ALL the patina off...it's nearly impossible to leave some of the patina, and have a uniform appearance. Use JUST a soft cloth to finish.U can use a clear lacquer to protect it, OR let it weather, the patina will develop fairly quickly.
NEVER use Steel Wool. DO NOT use abrasives, (see below for exceptions)...even a rough cloth can put very small scratches in brass, also clean out any pits/dents BEFORE U start polishing, they may contain sand/grit that could cause scratches. Use a high-pressure water sprayer IF necessary. DO NOT sponge off.
Brasso is O.K. for final finishing, but is not strong enough to remove heavy tarnish.
ABRASIVES: Use ONLY on a badly scratched bell.The process is similar to buffing out badly scratched automotive paint. Start w/ very finest grit sandpaper, (or skip this first step IF possible), then use a rubbing compound, then a polishing compound. Then use a non-abrasive wax/polish, etc.
CAUTION: When sanding a brass bell, U run the risk of uncovering flaws and/or air bubbles, etc.
REPAIRS: Cracks can be repaired, (or at least filled) by Brazing, (basically welding brass w/ a brass welding rod). This method may not restore the original sound, but will at least improve it.
Brazing can also repair dents, cuts deep scratches, air bubbles, etc. Build up repair above the surface, then sand down, etc.
CAUTION, the repaired area may not match the COLOR of the Bell.
Last edited by Willie B. Herd
on Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:30 pm, edited 6 times in total.