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 Brownish tarnish/residue
Author: beantown_Bb 
Date:   2010-06-12 22:27

What makes this brassy/rusty looking residue on the keywork of older instruments - especially in the corners and crevices, and how does one go about removing it in the best way?


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 Re: Brownish tarnish/residue
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2010-06-13 15:55

You are describing typical oxidation of silver.

I've always had the best luck using a simple silver polishing cloth (NOT the ruby ones, but those that are grey colored or yellow - they have polishing agents but not the gummy stuff of the red cloth versions).

I take off the keys, get a good surface of cloth around the finger of my non-dominant hand and start moving the key back and forth with my dominant hand. The areas around the "tubes" can be addressed by stretching out an area of cloth, one end held by your fingertips, the other by your knees and just manipulating the key areas in question around it. The posts can be cleaned similarly to this lying the joint upon your lap and grabbing two ends of the cloth between fingers and thumbs of both hands. This becomes a miniature version of drying your back by holding both ends of the towel, one in each hand and moving back and forth.

Just be cautious about rubbing against pads (you don't want to cause any wear on the playing surface or the sides either).

This is just an aesthetic concern though. Oxidation just looks less shiny, it does nothing to the underlying metal. In fact you are actually removing a minute layer as you polish!

............Paul Aviles

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