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Old 31-07-2016, 13:13   #1
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Any tips for restoring new found metals portlights and keeping them shiny?

Our boat has quite a few new found metals portlights. They are all in various states of non-shinyness.

Some have pits, some have black or copper colored corrosion on them. I've tried brasso or other metal polishes that I found on the boat with varying degrees of success. I've tried little dremel aluminum mesh polishing donut things on them, but the stash of those I have would probably only clean one and I have a bunch. I've tried sanding with high grit sand paper.

A few months and a few beats to weather and they all look like hell again.

The outsides tend to look the same, a dull silver color. The insides are what gets discolored and gross looking.

So am I going about this wrong? What's the preferred way to clean them, and keep them clean, besides hiring crew that polishes them every week?

These are older portlights... not the new fancy ones that spring open, these hang from chains to stay open. Other great features are the dogs to close them like to loosen themselves, the pins in the hinge like to work their way free, etc, etc. We are cruising full time and can't afford to replace them, but I'm hoping somebody can share some killer tip on maintaining them.
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Old 31-07-2016, 13:44   #2
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Re: Any tips for restoring new found metals portlights and keeping them shiny?

I see the current Newfound Metals port lights are either Bronze or 316 Stainless. Your older port lights seem different by your description. Maybe chrome plated bronze? What's the product?
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Old 31-07-2016, 14:11   #3
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Re: Any tips for restoring new found metals portlights and keeping them shiny?

I was able to attach some pics. I don't think they're plated, because I've used sand paper and other abrasives to remove those little black dots and they go away if I remove enough material, but then they just come back, like from exposure to salt air and occasional spray, but these are on the inside. The outside is just a dull stainless look.

If I use any of the various fancy polishes we have on the boat, I can clean up some of it, but those little black dots won't go away without using an abrasive on them.

The frustrating thing is they come back within a month or two.
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Old 31-07-2016, 16:19   #4
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Re: Any tips for restoring new found metals portlights and keeping them shiny?

Looks like chromed bronze.

Can be rechromed.

I have seen two styles of chroming done: shiny and cold and misty and warm.

Ask the chroming person they will know.

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Old 31-07-2016, 17:13   #5
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Re: Any tips for restoring new found metals portlights and keeping them shiny?

Call the manufacturer, they are super responsive. From the photos they appear to be bronze with a coating of--heavy ganja weed.


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Old 31-07-2016, 17:38   #6
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Re: Any tips for restoring new found metals portlights and keeping them shiny?

I have a bronze WWII US Navy ship's bell on the foredeck in front of the wheelhouse, right in line for everything that makes it over the bow in a head sea. For historical reasons if nothing else I do not want to plate it. The only working solution I've found is to wire brush it to a dark bronze with a wire wheel on a hand-held grinder, and then spray it with multiple coats of clear aerosol polyurethane. The first time I did it, I didn't get into the engraving and grooves well enough. Otherwise, the bell has taken a fair number of baths, and looks fine.
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Old 31-07-2016, 17:58   #7
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Re: Any tips for restoring new found metals portlights and keeping them shiny?

I have emailed the mfg but it's Sunday so I don't expect a reply until manana.

I tried smoking some of it, but I couldn't get it to stay lit.

If it's chromed bronze, it must be a really thick coating... because if i take a sander to it I can make it shiny stainless looking again... I would think it would turn more bronze. The copper blue and the yellowish colors are all corrosion... I can remove it with lots of elbow grease or power tools, the problem is it doesn't stay gone.
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Old 01-08-2016, 01:14   #8
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Re: Any tips for restoring new found metals portlights and keeping them shiny?

Sure sounds like every time you do something to "polish" to remove spots and discoloration, you are going to virgin material and without a way to prevent oxygenation it gets the spots and discoloration again. Salt water and humidity probably doesn't help either.

This brings back bad memories polishing the "real silver"silverware. Even oil from your fingers will tarnish polished brass and leave smudged finger prints over time.

As stated earilier you also may have had some sort of plating your fighting with that has been removed partly by sanding, polishing, etc. This will give you the different colors between base material and plating.

Options:

Permanent fix have ports professionally replated that involves removing original plating completely then new plating put on. There is a newer chrome plating process that actually has a shinny polished brass color finish to it. You see this with "tarnish free" brass reading lamps. Looks great and works well, downside expensive..

Next better fix, remove all plating somehow and polish to shiny finish and apply transparent coating as stated previous post to prevent oxygenation. This you see on brass door kick plates that have been sprayed with lacquer or poly coating. Downside labor intensive and will eventually fail in spots and will start to discolor and turn black. Upside can be redone again by removing coating, polish, recoat to help prevent oxygenation until next time. Labor intensive.

Next good fix that most of us do is the better fix above and when starting to tarnish, usually on edges first by fasteners, corners leave as is and call this nautical character. When it gets so bad we can't stand it, and don't have anything else to do, follow the "better fix" to start over again.

Then again another option is to paint the frames to cover up the issue altogether. Downside you've removed the "character" of the boat.

O the joys of ownership.

Seriously though, you are not the first or last to be faced with this and I had a lot of fun with this. Unfortunately there is no magic easy fix.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out.



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Old 01-08-2016, 08:16   #9
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Re: Any tips for restoring new found metals portlights and keeping them shiny?

I have a hans christian with bronze all over the place!

Not sure how much use it will be to you, but over here in Europe, we can buy brass lacquer, that the navy use to protect their shiny bits!

It is called rylard brass lacquer, try googling it, i use it after hours of cleaning the portholes and it works, not so much on the outside as the seawater is always splashing it,but on the inside it holds up well , it come in aerosol form which makes it easier to apply and recoat each year

Do the US navy have shiny bits they need to protect? Maybe there is an equivalent over there?

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Old 01-08-2016, 08:46   #10
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Re: Any tips for restoring new found metals portlights and keeping them shiny?

Harley type motor cycle shops used to have the best local chromers on speed dial, maybe not now as it seems the latest fad is flat black, but worth a shot, I am in the plating is coming off camp or at least the plating it will fix it camp.
Lacquer will hold it off for a while, but then you get to strip the lacquer off when you re polish it, be too much like being back in the Army for me.
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Old 01-08-2016, 09:07   #11
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Re: Any tips for restoring new found metals portlights and keeping them shiny?

I also restore vintage motorcycles. Recently heard of a product called Penetrol. I bought a can a few weeks ago for about $10 and plan to try it out in a marine environment. Its actually a paint additive you can buy at the local home stores. But is supposed to stop rust and corrosion on a variety of metals, including aluminum.
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Old 01-08-2016, 10:02   #12
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Re: Any tips for restoring new found metals portlights and keeping them shiny?

two options. If you want to keep the nickle coating, just wash occasionally. If you want to keep them bronze, then got two methods: varnish(it works) or wipe down with a mild acid and then polish(and keep polishing). We had an old binnacle cover that was some weird mix of copper and lord knows what. Wiped them down with Oxalic acid, then 600 grit, then varnished with whatever varnish we had lying around. Came out reall nice. Almost like antique bronze color. Lasted a looong time.
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Old 01-08-2016, 10:04   #13
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Re: Any tips for restoring new found metals portlights and keeping them shiny?

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Harley type motor cycle shops used to have the best local chromers on speed dial, maybe not now as it seems the latest fad is flat black, but worth a shot, I am in the plating is coming off camp or at least the plating it will fix it camp.
Lacquer will hold it off for a while, but then you get to strip the lacquer off when you re polish it, be too much like being back in the Army for me.
I think chroming is hard to find because of the EPA so decked out Harleys are harder to find.

I'm wondering with the black spots if he isn't dealing with an aluminum / aluminium problem?
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Old 01-08-2016, 10:12   #14
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Re: Any tips for restoring new found metals portlights and keeping them shiny?

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I think chroming is hard to find because of the EPA so decked out Harleys are harder to find.

I'm wondering with the black spots if he isn't dealing with an aluminum / aluminium problem?
Not even sure anyone chromes nowadays due to all the regs.
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Old 01-08-2016, 10:34   #15
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Re: Any tips for restoring new found metals portlights and keeping them shiny?

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Originally Posted by reed1v View Post
Not even sure anyone chromes nowadays due to all the regs.
A shop that builds Harley Choppers might find one operating under the sight of the EPA? Disposal of the solutions is the hang up.
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