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Brass finishes (other than polished)

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As the title says, other than high polish, what are some of your personal favorite ways to finish brass? I'm working on a brass gaurd with an integral clam shell right now for an 18th century German hunting knife reproduction. I've hand sanded it to a 220 grit and hand buffed with a cloth and brass compound. It looks good but it's not quite what I was hoping for.  I'm trying to get a nice finish without a mirror shine.  I'm thinking maybe hand buffing with 0000 steel wool instead of the cloth.

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One thing that makes old brass look so nice is that it has a subtle pattern of super-fine, random scratches on the surface, the accumulation of a lifetime of polishing and wear. Reproducing this is tricky, because most abrasive methods tend to leave parallel scratches. Skipping grits is also a problem, because the heavier grits can leave deeper scratches that still show up after the surrounding surfaces have been polished smooth.

For a nice matte finish, I would sand to 600 as IDFC recommends. Some random buffing with the steel wool will be good, especially if you concentrate on making lots of little circles and reverse direction frequently. I know folks who've also had good luck with tumbling pieces with some fine abrasive (even just shaking in a can with some sand) to get a more random wear pattern.

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Hmm; I might try going over it after polishing with sifted wood ashes "shoe shined" with a strip of woolen cloth, (try both wet and dry and see what works best for you.)

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