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 Post subject: Zenith Escutcheon
PostPosted: Jul Tue 16, 2019 4:29 pm 
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Joined: Feb Mon 25, 2019 12:43 am
Posts: 15
Location: Minneapolis, MN 55414
Greetings everyone,

About a year ago, I purchased a Zenith 12s268, a real barn radio. The veneer on the top was mostly gone, there was substantial veneer damage at the base, and there were odd structural problems to the cabinet. The chassis contained a large, urine soaked rat's nest and a dead rat to go with it. The urea stripped the steel chassis of its copper plating, leading to large swaths of rust. The brass, likewise, was all encrusted in black corrosion. It looked awful.

I am almost done with the restoration. The cabinet only needs a couple additional coats of lacquer. The electronics work--it pulls in about thirteen stations--but there is a lot of noise that I need to root out. Here is the almost completed cabinet:

Image
Image

The chassis has been disassembled, cleaned, repainted, etc.. Here it is:

Image
Image

My problem now is a simple one--polishing the escutcheon. I understand that the escutcheon was originally stamped out of brass, chemically oxidized to a dark gray color, and then polished back to a rich brass color everywhere except the inner edge and the back (which served as a gentle transition from the polished brass to the black dial). I believe the brass color wasn't quite as shiny and rich as the brass pointers, but that it was close to it. Here is a picture of my Zenith 9s244 dial. I believe this is close to what the 1938 Zenith escutcheons looked like when new.

Image
Image

Someone on the forum recommended a car cleaner wax. I tried one and it did bring back some of the brassy color, but it now looks rather grimy (it looks better in the photos than in person). It doesn't have the soft luster of the original. Here it is after using wax:

Image
Image

I am rather reluctant to use a chemical to clean the brass, as they often lead to streaking. I have more control over the process when using an abrasive. I also want to avoid over-polishing the brass, making it white and shiny like 1990's era brass plating.

Does anyone have any recommendations at this point? Perhaps a particular product that has worked well in the past? Has anyone had good experiences polishing these in the past? This is a highly visible part of the radio and I would like it to look as nice as possible. Any advice would be appreciated.

I understand that this topic is extremely controversial, but please understand that I want this radio to look as beautiful and original as possible.


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Escutcheon
PostPosted: Jul Tue 16, 2019 10:17 pm 
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Joined: Feb Thu 08, 2007 2:32 pm
Posts: 12539
Location: 06457
Gold Dial wrote:
Greetings everyone,

About a year ago, I purchased a Zenith 12s268, a real barn radio. The veneer on the top was mostly gone, there was substantial veneer damage at the base, and there were odd structural problems to the cabinet. The chassis contained a large, urine soaked rat's nest and a dead rat to go with it. The urea stripped the steel chassis of its copper plating, leading to large swaths of rust. The brass, likewise, was all encrusted in black corrosion. It looked awful.

I am almost done with the restoration. The cabinet only needs a couple additional coats of lacquer. The electronics work--it pulls in about thirteen stations--but there is a lot of noise that I need to root out. Here is the almost completed cabinet:

Image
Image

The chassis has been disassembled, cleaned, repainted, etc.. Here it is:
I blacken them with gun blueing and then buff it back to the color I desire. :)

Image
Image

My problem now is a simple one--polishing the escutcheon. I understand that the escutcheon was originally stamped out of brass, chemically oxidized to a dark gray color, and then polished back to a rich brass color everywhere except the inner edge and the back (which served as a gentle transition from the polished brass to the black dial). I believe the brass color wasn't quite as shiny and rich as the brass pointers, but that it was close to it. Here is a picture of my Zenith 9s244 dial. I believe this is close to what the 1938 Zenith escutcheons looked like when new.

Image
Image

Someone on the forum recommended a car cleaner wax. I tried one and it did bring back some of the brassy color, but it now looks rather grimy (it looks better in the photos than in person). It doesn't have the soft luster of the original. Here it is after using wax:

Image
Image

I am rather reluctant to use a chemical to clean the brass, as they often lead to streaking. I have more control over the process when using an abrasive. I also want to avoid over-polishing the brass, making it white and shiny like 1990's era brass plating.

Does anyone have any recommendations at this point? Perhaps a particular product that has worked well in the past? Has anyone had good experiences polishing these in the past? This is a highly visible part of the radio and I would like it to look as nice as possible. Any advice would be appreciated.

I understand that this topic is extremely controversial, but please understand that I want this radio to look as beautiful and original as possible.


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Escutcheon
PostPosted: Jul Tue 16, 2019 10:19 pm 
Member

Joined: Feb Thu 08, 2007 2:32 pm
Posts: 12539
Location: 06457
I blacken them with gun blueing and then buff it back to the color I desire. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Escutcheon
PostPosted: Jul Wed 17, 2019 1:45 am 
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Joined: Feb Mon 25, 2019 12:43 am
Posts: 15
Location: Minneapolis, MN 55414
How do you buff the brass? Are there any materials that you would recommend?


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