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Thread: Shell Case Cleaning

  1. #1

    Shell Case Cleaning


    I appreciate this is an odd one and not stalking related. However, I am sure that someone on the site will have experience and tips.

    I recently bought what I think is a WWII Naval shell case. It is shaped like a shouldered bullet case, except its about 750 mm high and about 200 mm across at the base. I want to put it next to the front door and keep my sticks and wading staff in it.

    However, the case is currently very tarnished. In order to convince Mrs DB that it is a welcome addition to our home I need to polish it up. I tried Brasso and after half an hour of quite vigourous polishing I had managed a dull shine on a patch about 2 inches square. I am reluctant to use proper abrasives like wire wool or wet and dry as I don't want to cause damage.

    Does anyone have any tips for polishing up large areas of heavily tarnished brass.

    Thank you for your help.


  2. #2
    Try a reloading tumbler! Might work! If you really struggle
    I have a industrial brass polishing system at work, would bring it up a treat

  3. #3
    Distinguished Member tartinjock's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
    Nairn, Inverness-shire
    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    Try a reloading tumbler! Might work!
    How big is your tumbler? 75cmx20cm Thats massive!! Not to many reloading tumblers out thre that size?

  4. #4
    Lol! The tumbler I have at work should take it! It's about
    a 1500mm round.

  5. #5
    The case has some writing sprayed on the base (some numbers and letters) as well as some marks and numbers stamped into it. I'm a bit reluctant to dip it or put it in a tumbler because I think the spray paint marks would come off. The brass polishing system sounds brilliant though.

  6. #6
    Photograph the details you need to keep, & stick it in an industrial tumbler, the sort used for deburring large parts such as castings, then reinstate the markings.
    (The Unspeakable In Pursuit Of The Uneatable.) " If I can help, I will help!." Former S.A.C.S. member!

  7. #7
    Bottle of brasso and a car polisher?

    It's one of those jobs though that once you start you have to finish or it looks awful! I did an old bronze boat propeller once, it took hours.


  8. #8

  9. #9
    if you are sure it's solid brass a mix of lemon juice and baking soda mixed to a paste works well. Just rub gentle with a cloth and then rinse in warm soapy water.

    Or anything acidic e.g. Lemon juice, vinegar etc

    Have also heard that either brown sauce or ketchup works but not tried it, also cheap toothpaste or coke!

    Let us know how you get on

    Good luck! Michelle

  10. #10
    Find someone with a big lathe, bung it in on a slow speed and set to with very fine wire wool, followed by a cutting paste like Autosol, then a brass polish. Leave the base alone.

    That's only a scaled up version of what I do with heavily tarnished rifle cases, using a Zip Trim or a power drill.


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