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Old 27-05-2021, 05:51   #1
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Polish vs Patina

My Tayana Vancouver has bronze hardware through-out. I'm thinking about polishing off the patina on my portholes, but don't know much about the maintenance required to keep up with it. Am I going to regret making them shine, or is keeping them that way not as hard as I think?
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Old 27-05-2021, 06:06   #2
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Re: Polish vs Patina

I've left all my bronze, both outside and inside, in their natural green patina state. I think it looks nicer than shiny bronze, and to my eye looks more "shippy."

It's also way easier . If you opt to keep the bronze polished you'll be polishing all the time (if you live in salt air).
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Old 27-05-2021, 06:13   #3
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Re: Polish vs Patina

I saw an almost mega yacht in Newport and again in Antigua. This had immaculate wood and polished brass everything. All deck hardware, windlass, ports, winches, blocks, any metal was custom for this yacht. There was very regular polishing and varnishing. It looks like a museum specimen. Full time upkeep.

If you decide it’s too much, just stop.
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Old 27-05-2021, 06:13   #4
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Re: Polish vs Patina

Yeah, it's a problem that has never really been solved, short of gold plating the bronze. Yes, you can polish it up. Incredibly fine sandpaper (1000 grit or finer, available easily at auto parts stores) will do it. So will bead blasting. Avoid wire wheels that will leave steel residue in the bronze.

Then, you either polish every time the piece of bronze even smells salt air/water, or you encase your careful work in clear varnish. That preserves it, and looks great, until the day that the ever-pervasive salt air/water breaches it, and then you get really ugly blotches. So, you have to start over, but this time you have to remove all the varnish as well as the corrosion.

So, it it worth it? It is for my 1943 Navy tugboat bell, a boat commanded by the uncle of a friend. Otherwise, to me, no. Notice the movement away from exposed bronze and toward stainless steel, chrome, aluminum, and plastic. We have not just retired wooden boats, we have retired wood trim. Labor takes time and is expensive.
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Old 27-05-2021, 06:14   #5
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Re: Polish vs Patina

I have an ongoing thread on this very topic that you may find helpful: https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ce-251035.html

In the thread, I have a bit of a running experiment. I have polished some of my bronze fittings starting with sandpaper all the way down to a fine finish with jeweler’s rouge. The intent was to create a surface where corrosive particles would have a difficult time finding a footing. That SHOULD lend itself to the development of a more even patina- whatever color that turns out to be. I’ll be posting pictures as it develops over time.


I think it basically breaks down like this: polished bronze is possible to keep, but maintaining that is work-intensive. It’s naturally going to oxidize, and it IS possible to manage how it oxidizes if you want to.

Some like green, some like brown, some like polished. Each has benefits and drawbacks.

I find the most vocal with their opinions fall into the leave it alone camp, the same thing happens in the teak maintenance discussion. But it’s your boat, so figure out which is your preference and balance that against what you’re willing to do to sustain that.
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Old 27-05-2021, 08:22   #6
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Re: Polish vs Patina

RealityCheck, for what it’s worth, I like the look of the natural patina on bronze but that’s just my opinion of the aesthetic. On my own 1989 Tayana Vancouver 42 almost everything is stainless steel. Only the deck plate covering the manual bilge pump and the ships bell are bronze. As I said I like the patina.
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Old 27-05-2021, 09:05   #7
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Re: Polish vs Patina

All of the bronze on my HC33 (and there's a lot of it), is unpolished and covered with a beautiful patina.
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Old 05-06-2021, 15:35   #8
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Re: Polish vs Patina

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholson58 View Post

If you decide it’s too much, just stop.

Yes, absolutely, I've had a couple of boats with brass and bronze hardware, and on one vessel, the first one outfitted in such a way, found myself regretting putting in the hours and hours of effort to brighten up the bronze stanchions, although I do enjoy bright brass for the cabin lights below so here's a tip if that's all you do - clear coat them (thinly) with a protective layer of spray.

Why thinly? coz the moment you scratch it....

It looks really nice and compliments the bright work below to coincide with all of the effort to apply multiple layers of varnish (or a bit easier, West systems topped with varnish) to keep that wood bright. and glowing.

But I would not personally polish anything, save for perhaps the ship's bell topside ever again unless my ship was part of a non-profit with ample volunteer labor available lolz.

But for you? Ask yourself this: Do you find yourself tinkering, sanding, touching up every little blemish during coffee/tea time and on your days off? Are you constantly bleaching your teak w/Oxalic acid or oiling it?

If so, then maybe this is a great idea for you! your boat will certainly stand out and become a conversational item for passersby walking down the finger where your slip is located, but otherwise, remember that patina is itself a protectant, and if you change your later after polishing everything up, it will prolly take a couple of years before you start to get a good prominence of green again.
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