Maintaining Copper/Brass and Silver

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VictorViper

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    If you're going to trade convenience for conductivity, it should be obvious within a few short days that you need to really work at keeping things clean. I have a simple, two-stage process for cleaning my copper, brass and silver, and I wanted to share with you all.

    You will need:

    - iodized salt
    - acetic acid (vinegar)
    - sodium bicarbonate
    - enough aluminum foil to line the bottom of a bowl

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    First and foremost, KNOW YOUR METAL. Especially if you rock a clone, be sure you know what your materials are. My mech is pure copper and brass, silver-plated copper, and silver-plated steel (spring). If you're unsure, take a magnet to each component of your mod, and if it attracts, you have a mystery metal or alloy. This method is safe for silver-plated materials.

    First step: Get a pot of water boiling. Use distilled if you're especially .....

    Copper & Brass (part 1)

    1) Add a tbsp. of iodized salt to a shallow bowl. Place your copper and brass parts in the bowl and pour vinegar over everything, enough to make a shallow pool.
    2) Swirl things around a bit to make sure everything has gotten wet, and then sprinkle a little more salt directly onto any exposed parts.
    3) Wait. Is your water boiling? No? Have a vape! How about now? Yes? Ok, let's work on our silver.

    Silver & Silver-plated (part 1)

    1) Line a bowl with aluminum foil, shiny side up. Try to keep the bottom of the bowl as free from folds or wrinkles as possible.
    2) Add 1tbsp. of iodized salt and approximately 1tbsp. of the baking soda (tweak this based on the size of your bowl to avoid a foamy mess).
    3) SLOWLY poor 1/2 cup of vigorously boiling water into the bowl.
    4) Drop your silver into the bowl, making sure the parts make contact with the foil. I dip these such that the contact points sit on the foil.
    5) Now add 1/2 cup vinegar to the mix (again SLOWLY) and let things sit for about 5 minutes.

    Let's go back to our copper and brass while our kitchen chemistry works it's magic on the silver.

    Copper & Brass (part two)

    This may or may not count as a step, depending on how you proceed. Anything fully submerged should have de-tarnished on its own, but I generally do the following:

    1) Soak a paper towel or rag with some of the vinegar and shake salt onto it. Use this to polish any remaining tarnish. The grit from the salt assists here, and does wonders on threads.
    2) You're done. Rinse and dry everything thoroughly, polish further from here as you like. Back to the silver.

    Silver & Silver-plated (part 2)

    1) Once your silver pieces have sat in the solution for at least 5 minutes, you may remove and rinse your parts. Rinse and dry thoroughly. Please bear in mind that with silver, especially silver-plating, any cuts or scratches may still show tarnish and you'll have to look at another method to really get it clean.

    And that's it!

    A simple, largely touchless solution to our ever-tarnishing metals. It'll cost you about $0.30 per wash, avoids harsh or volatile chemicals, and is incredibly effective.

    As a perk, for those of you with a glorious, coveted patina on your mods, you should find that this leaves your exposed parts alone (brass in particular), though you can always go nuts with polishing after the soak. Internal parts should be bright and looking like new. If you really want that patina removed, I find making a vinegar and salt paste works well to remove buildup without being overly abrasive.

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    93gc40

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    Oct 5, 2014
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      Your doing this Weekly???? Good write up, even if weekly might be over-kill.

      I might go through this process yearly, if That. Not really a fan of Shiny metal. At Most my brass mod gets is a wipe down, with the juice spill rag, when I fill the tank or change a battery. I do hit the threads and contact with soft wire brush, when they start to dull. I want the patinas, everywhere on my mod except, at the electrical contact points. I'll be most happy, if my brass mod is ever mistaken for copper or bronze.
       
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