Polishing and caring for brass plaques is fairly straightforward but it does require care.
Most other plaques need little or no maintenance other than an occasional wash, but brass needs regular polishing especially if it’s out of doors or gets finger-marks on it.
Types of polish
There are two main types of brass polish, Goddard’s and Brasso. We recommend Goddard’s for normal use, as Brasso is slightly more abrasive. However, if your brass plaque has become slightly scratched, carefully applied Brasso can help to even out the surface again.
Care while polishing brass plaques
Brass is quite a soft metal, so it’s easy to scratch it. For that reason, we recommend that you take off any rings you may wear and take care that watches or bangles don’t damage the surface.
Apply your chosen polish with a clean, soft, dry cloth, making sure you keep the polish out of the etching indentations. There’s no need to polish the etched and painted areas and the cleaner can damage the paint. Polish can also build up in the indentations and eventually obscure the words. Should that happen, the residue can be washed out with water and a cloth (never use a brush) and the whole plaque should then be carefully dried and buffed up with a soft dry cloth to get rid of any streaks.
How often should I polish a brass plaque?
Brass plaques need polishing and caring for every two to three weeks as a general rule, but should be always be done when they get finger-marks on them to keep them looking their best. It’s not simply a question of aesthetics: the acid in human finger-prints can eventually damage the brass.
Should your brass plaque become too scratched or damaged for Brasso to sort it out, we can restore it using the original etching mask. We can also match lettering on plaques that are updated every year, such as Dux and tournament boards.
The only other sort of plaques that need maintenance are wooden boards that are stained and finished with varnish. Although we use exterior varnish, it does get damaged by the weather and will normally need re-varnishing after around five years.
And if you simply hate polishing brass!….
Some people love polishing and caring for brass plaques, while others find it a chore. It is one of the things you need to consider when deciding what material you want your plaque made from. If you hate polishing, or the plaque is to be sited out of doors, then brass is not the best material for the job: we would suggest bronze, stainless steel or eurotrim (a lightweight brass-effect plastic) instead.
If, on the other hand, polishing and caring for brass gives you satisfaction, it is hard to beat as a material for house or business signs and memorial plaques.