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Posted By: ShiroKuro How to clean brass nameplate of fallboard? - 04/25/20 08:39 PM
I am wondering if there's an easy way to clean or polish the name plate (if that's what it's called) on my fallboard. It's not super bad, but it could look better.

[Linked Image]

Is this just a polishing/cleaning issue or would I need to do something else to improve it? Also, it should go without saying that I wouldn't want to damage the finish there or get anything on the keys themselves. So would it be sufficient to cover the keys with something, or would polishing the name plate best be done by first removing the fallboard?

TIA!
Hi, Dr. ShiroKuro.

Brass will always tarnish to an extent, unless it is encapsulated in something like varnish or lacquer. Some piano shops will coat the brass pedals with a varnish or lacquer to preserve the appearance.

On my Yamaha C7 fallboard name brand lettering, I used some 0000 steel wool and very lightly buffed the brass lettering inlay. Yes, that will also scratch the finish around the brass lettering just a tad, but some polish will take those fine scratches out. It worked great, and the lettering looked like new.

If I were you, with the ebony polish finish, I would take a cotton q-tip with a little polish, or toothpaste, if you don't have any polish, and lightly polish the brass letters. That is a bit time consuming, but safer than the 0000 steel wool. You could also use some brasso or other metal polish, if you have it. Just go slow and lightly. It will make the brass letter inlay look much better.

I'm sure others will have some suggestions as well.

Good luck, and happy name-plate polishing! smile

Rick
Brasso
So the brass letters are exposed? There's no poly over them?

If that's the case, I would buy Meguiars Ultimate Compound in the black squeeze bottle. It's an automotive product. You can find it on Amazon or sometimes walmart.

This is what you would use to polish the poly finish, so it will just make the poly look better too. It will cut very little if polishing by hand.

If you aren't experienced, I would recommend using a very mild finishing abrasive like this, instead of starting with harder abrasives and working to finer.

It will be slower but safer.
I personally would not dare to do anything like that myself. The chance of messing up is just too great. I would leave it to a professional.
Same here, I would ask my technician.
Hmm thanks for all the comments everyone. I have never polished any brass before. And I certainly don’t want to do any damage. I’ll think about it a bit and also ask Mr. SK what he thinks.

I would love to have my tuner do it, but who knows when the next time he’ll be able to come here frown
Posted By: BDB Re: How to clean brass nameplate of fallboard? - 04/25/20 11:33 PM
Just be aware that if the letters are finished with a clear top coat, any tarnishing is coming from leakage through finish. Trying to polish them probably requires rubbing of some sort, which you are not going to be able to do without removing the top coat, which will affect the rest of the fallboard. You may end up making things worse.
Flitz. Very lightly will do the job.
Well, I'm usually the contrarian around here... so I'll just point out that I think the tarnished letters look pretty cool. I'd leave them alone if it were me. thumb
Flitz and Brasso can leave scratches in the polyester. If you are super gentle they work, but aren't the best choice.

At any auto parts supply you can by very fine polishing liquid. Don't get the "quick scratch remover" or coarse stuff, choose the finest level of polishing compound they have.

Use a soft cloth, and simply rub vigorously with the compound for a minute or so. The letters will brighten beautifully, with no problem in the surrounding polyester finish.

Wipe up with a damp soft cloth, then a dry cloth. If you follow this with some automotive wax (use a straight carnauba type wax, not a cleaner wax!) the letters will stay bight longer.

This procedure works for the pedals, too.
Originally Posted by BDB
Just be aware that if the letters are finished with a clear top coat, any tarnishing is coming from leakage through finish. Trying to polish them probably requires rubbing of some sort, which you are not going to be able to do without removing the top coat, which will affect the rest of the fallboard. You may end up making things worse.

The brass letters on ShiroKuro's C2 look the same like on my G7, i.e. just brass with no clear top coat.

I was wondering why Yamaha did not put any top coat on them bc they would get oxidized being exposed to air... I guess it may be just old design (my G7 is late 60's, what year is ShiroKuro's C2?)

I used some Q-tips and some vinegar to slightly rub over the brass... though not super shiny but good enough for me...
Originally Posted by tunerman
Flitz. Very lightly will do the job.

^This ^
My piano was made in 2000.

So re Flitz, will this do:
Flitz at Amazon
Originally Posted by David-G
I personally would not dare to do anything like that myself. The chance of messing up is just too great. I would leave it to a professional.

Oh come on, it's a 1 minute job!
I swear by Q tips and brasso. Did this on my piano and it works great! The letters came out all shiny. Dab a bit of brasso on the qtip and rub away. If the brasso spill over the polyester just wipe it off, it didn't scratch the finish on mine. It's literally a 5 minute job.
Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
My piano was made in 2000.

So re Flitz, will this do:
Flitz at Amazon


I am not knowledgeable at this... why the brass letters on my piano and yours got oxidized and/or do not have any protecting clear coat? Maybe the clear coat on my G7 was old and faded, also that my G7's is satin finish (but your piano looks glossy poly there)...

My parents' 90s U1 and my friend's 00s GC1 are glossy poly also and I think the brass are embedded in the wood and the clear coat on top is the same clear coat, continuous for the whole piano - they never have to polish the brass letters ever.

It is weird that Yamaha would leave the brass exposed like that bc the exposed brass would get oxidized and not look nice then...

Hope someone can tell us here... I am really curious...
The YAMAHA name on the fallboard looks fine.I would
not rub hard.
My KAWAI name on the the grand(I used to own ) even after 50 years looked good ,just gentle polishing with Cory piano polish sprayed on a soft cloth ,gently wipe.
No one is going to look at it with a magnifying glass,
so don't worry about it.
Enjoy playing it instead !
Posted By: gwing Re: How to clean brass nameplate of fallboard? - 04/26/20 12:56 PM
The old fashioned way of cleaning copper or brass is with lemon juice (or vinegar) and salt for some abrasion. i find that almost as effective as brasso and much more pleasant to use.

For this job I'd be tempted to first just try rubbing gently with some lemon juice on a qtip, no salt, as that will not have any abrasive in it to scratch the poly surface. You can always go on to the more aggressive methods afterwards if you feel it needs more.

As I haven't actually done this on piano lettering myself I'd test a bit of lemon juice on an inconspicuous bit of the poly finish first, but it seems unlikely that it would affect poly and may be your safest approach.
Posted By: j&j Re: How to clean brass nameplate of fallboard? - 04/26/20 01:12 PM
Vinegar or lemon juice with salt is the old standby cleaner for coffee pots. It’s non toxic and when used without salt fairly gentle. I’d start with a bit of either lemon juice or vinegar on the end of a Q-tip and be gentle. If that didn’t work I’d use the Flitz. Very tiny amounts only on the lettering. Start with the most gentle stuff until it’s clean. Best Wishes!
I have polished the Yamaha letters on my G7 several times over the years and just used whatever metal polish I had around. Ended up nice and shiny and did not hurt the finish. That's all any 'pro' would do.
Ah, this reminds me, I have a polishing cloth for silver around here somewhere. I wonder if that would make any improvement (even without using anything). I'll have to google about the vinegar, I've heard vinegar is actually quite strong (hence its use as a cleaning agent).

Re Lady Bird's comment (IIRC), it doesn't look that bad up close, but because it's sort of dulled, it looks worse IMO from far away.

Anyway, I definitely don't want to make it any worse, so that will be my guiding MO!
Q-tips and Brasso or McGuire's.
Originally Posted by BDB
Just be aware that if the letters are finished with a clear top coat, any tarnishing is coming from leakage through finish. Trying to polish them probably requires rubbing of some sort, which you are not going to be able to do without removing the top coat, which will affect the rest of the fallboard. You may end up making things worse.

Also, in this situation, once you remove any top coat covering the brass letters, the brass will then tarnish much more quickly in the future.

If you leave this to a professional they can take responsibility if things go wrong.
It's about a 2 minute job. I have done it several times and so have many others. You will not cause any damage and it will look beautiful.
Originally Posted by Roger Ransom
It's about a 2 minute job. I have done it several times and so have many others. You will not cause any damage and it will look beautiful.

I do same and there seems no damage at all smile
Well I’ll try it I guess. But we’re not going shopping for another two weeks probably so I’ll either have to order something or wait...
Posted By: j&j Re: How to clean brass nameplate of fallboard? - 04/27/20 02:58 PM
Did you try the silver polishing cloth?
Another thing: if making brass shine is like making silver shine then standard toothpaste works like a charm. Just put some toothpaste on it and wipe it gently away. No rubbing required - seems to be a chemical effect rather than a mechanical one. I strongly suppose that toothpaste does also not damage the polyester of the piano. Again: this works like magic on silver - not sure if it works also on brass. There was however also another gentleman in this thread who suggested toothpaste.
Originally Posted by j&j
Did you try the silver polishing cloth?

I can't find it! whome Mr. SK said he thinks he knows where it is, so I'll try that first.

Re the toothpaste, if I do that, should I just use a cotton cloth? No added water? I could try on some other brass part first...
Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
Originally Posted by j&j
Did you try the silver polishing cloth?

I can't find it! whome Mr. SK said he thinks he knows where it is, so I'll try that first.

Re the toothpaste, if I do that, should I just use a cotton cloth? No added water? I could try on some other brass part first...

https://www.bhg.com/homekeeping/house-cleaning/surface/how-to-clean-brass/
dogperson, I think I may have read exactly that webpage when this thread first started. But unfortunately, I don't have many of the main ingredients for the make-it-yourself ones (no lemon, no flour...)

The other thing that is as yet unresolved is whether there's some kind of coating on top of the lettering. Does anyone know how I would be able to tell?
Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
dogperson, I think I may have read exactly that webpage when this thread first started. But unfortunately, I don't have many of the main ingredients for the make-it-yourself ones (no lemon, no flour...)

The other thing that is as yet unresolved is whether there's some kind of coating on top of the lettering. Does anyone know how I would be able to tell?

Since your piano is glossy poly, I would look at it sideways from an angle. I guess you then would see a clear coat running on top of it. My guess is that the glossy poly finish on your piano would be similar to the glossy finish on my parent's 90s U1 and my friend's 00s GC1, i.e., the Yamaha letters are underneath a clear top coat.

Like @BDB said, if you want to clean it, you might have to remove the top coat on the letters to access to them and doing that might damage the whole finish of the piano. I would just leave it alone in your case. The letters do not look that bad in your picture.

On the other hand, my 60's G7 is satin finish, there might be no clear top coat on the finish like glossy as I can't see any. I guess if the top coat on the Yamaha on my piano had ever been there, it might have got rubbed off frown
If you want to know if there is something over your brass letters maybe you have an ohmmeter or a continuity tester available. If it is just metal it should be easy to tell with either one of those.

If I touch the brass with the probes of my tester I immediately get a beep. I do not have to pierce through anything to close the circuit. Apparently my letters aren‘t covered with anything.
Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
dogperson, I think I may have read exactly that webpage when this thread first started. But unfortunately, I don't have many of the main ingredients for the make-it-yourself ones (no lemon, no flour...)

The other thing that is as yet unresolved is whether there's some kind of coating on top of the lettering. Does anyone know how I would be able to tell?

The article I attached includes toothpaste instructions: nothing but toothpaste and water required.
Originally Posted by dogperson
The article I attached includes toothpaste instructions: nothing but toothpaste and water required.

Yeah, I guess I don't know how to read... whome

Originally Posted by Gretel
maybe you have an ohmmeter or a continuity tester available

That I do not have.... But I will go and look at and see if I can tell if there's a coating there or not...
Posted By: j&j Re: How to clean brass nameplate of fallboard? - 04/27/20 08:35 PM
Dig out a magnifying glass and flashlight. Magnify the surface as much as possible. Call on your inner MacGyver. smile
I have experience of cleaning brass fittings with Brasso. A major problem is that if the Brasso gets into any tiny cracks or crevices, it dries to a white powder/coating in the crevices which is near-impossible to remove. It is possible that the same could be true of toothpaste.
Posted By: gwing Re: How to clean brass nameplate of fallboard? - 04/27/20 09:53 PM
Originally Posted by David-G
I have experience of cleaning brass fittings with Brasso. A major problem is that if the Brasso gets into any tiny cracks or crevices, it dries to a white powder/coating in the crevices which is near-impossible to remove. It is possible that the same could be true of toothpaste.

May I re-iterate my lemon juice preference for cleaning bras at this point :-)

It also doesn't scratch like toothpaste or even brasso might, although such scratches would hopefully be very fine.
We don't have lemon juice, and are on quarentine-shopping schedule (no shopping for another two weeks). But I may try it... I still have go and check to see if I can tell if there's a coating.

First I need to get off of this computer... whome
Toothpaste is very abrasive.For example never clean gemstone jewelry with toothpaste, unless they are diamonds.
I think most real gemstones are much harder than your piano name plate or the polyester.I thinks is crazy to use something really abrasive !
You shouldn't rub, also you wouldn't need to. Just apply it, and gently wipe it away. That't how I clean my silver stuff. Silver is also not exactly known for being hard. As I wrote - it seems to be a chemical effect, not a mechanical one.
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