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Old 3rd Feb 2019, 6:51 pm   #1
jamesinnewcastl
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Default Restoring Brass Etched Labels

Hi

I think that I have a 'brass etched label' on a WW2 SBA receiver that I am 'restoring'.

It is of course corroded and in need of TLC so I've messed about with it to the point where I will just make it worse (see attached 'before' and 'oh Gawd' images). So I've decided that a new one to the exact design is called for - in any event I need a new label for the cover as this one is missing - well removed actually, by the RAF.

Does anyone know of a good reputable company that could make me a label to my own artwork? There are many on the web but a personal recommendation would be appreciated as well as any tips on actually making a good job of the original (which I would really like to use of course, and I have others to do!)

Noting that the 'black bits' were cut into the brass I reasoned that laying it flat on some 2000 grit paper would only polish the raised brass bits - worked great for a lot of the label but not all - I assume that there was some distortion that caused some of the black to be abraded. I did use my trusty Dremel to polish some edges that I could isolate but that won't work for all of it as I don't want to erode the lettering.



Cheers
James
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Old 3rd Feb 2019, 7:15 pm   #2
The Philpott
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Default Re: Restoring Brass Etched Labels

You need to click the Upload button to get the images to appear (failed to do it myself several times)
Dave
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Old 3rd Feb 2019, 10:10 pm   #3
G6Tanuki
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Default Re: Restoring Brass Etched Labels

Could be worth seeing if there's a place local to you that does sports-trophy engraving; I've had these make up various labels for me in the past, including brass/stainless-steel labels where the text is sandblasted on to the surface.
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Old 3rd Feb 2019, 10:28 pm   #4
jamesinnewcastl
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Default Re: Restoring Brass Etched Labels

Er, Dave

My button pressing is OK - it's my memory that's the problem!!


G6Tanuki

I will need to give the artwork - would a local shop have/need the facility to do that?

Cheers
James
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Old 3rd Feb 2019, 11:53 pm   #5
The Philpott
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Default Re: Restoring Brass Etched Labels

....It's actually come up better than some do, i wouldn't be too gutted about it.
As i suspected, it appears to be suffering dezincification, which in most cases runs so deep that abrasion can't remove it. Cu and Zn separate and the Cu left on the surface is crystalline in structure and quite fragile. Often accelerated by electrolyte leakage, salt exposure or being buried (i used to go treasure hunting and observed this on things like victorian toasting forks)

There must be companies who knock up replica chassis number or body number plates for classic cars..

Dave
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Old 4th Feb 2019, 8:45 am   #6
jamesinnewcastl
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Default Re: Restoring Brass Etched Labels

Hi Dave

I was pleased with how the crown came out - I think that I foolishly may have pressed too hard on the centre and flexed the label downwards. I was also surprised how scratchy the 2000 grit paper was.

I haven't finished with it - I stopped before going all the way. I don't think I can avoid trying to re-ink it. It's all experience though.

I used a polishing compound and soft roller with my dremel for the first time and was very pleased with the result, though that was on other brass parts, yet another hit for the dremel!

Since no-one appears to have personal experience I'll send off an art work to some suppliers to gte some prices.

Cheers
James
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Old 4th Feb 2019, 10:13 am   #7
M0FYA Andy
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Default Re: Restoring Brass Etched Labels

James,
I've got the same problem!
I prepared some artwork by scanning and cleaning an image of this type of label. Another forum member has then passed it on to an engraver he knows, to see what he can come up with. It's being treated by the engraver as a 'fit it in between other jobs' to keep the cost down, so no date for completion.
Depending on his success, we might then go for a batch of blank labels which he can then 'reprocess' to add unit-specific text as required.
The cleaned image is 2.5MB, so too big to add here, I'll email a copy to you direct.
I'll keep you informed of progress.

I've had success cleaning existing labels using a soft sanding pad, gently pressing the label face down with two fingers on a pad lubricated with water and a few drops of washing-up liquid on a flat work-top surface, polishing in a circular motion.

Andy
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Old 4th Feb 2019, 10:48 am   #8
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Default Re: Restoring Brass Etched Labels

Hi Andy

Your labels look nice and clean, I wonder though if the artwork doesn't need to be pure black and white?

I'm hoping that the engraver has the ability to drill the holes too as I am pretty sure I would make a dogs breakfast of it. I guess I could always get the centres of the holes marked with engraved cross hairs.

I'll have a crack at some artwork tonight!


Cheers
James
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Old 4th Feb 2019, 11:23 am   #9
M0FYA Andy
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Default Re: Restoring Brass Etched Labels

James, I don't know, we're waiting feedback from the engraver. He hasn't rejected it so far...………...
It took a long time to edit the black on the image, so the 'white' is the brass finish from the scan.
I think the trick with the holes will be to use a drill-press or milling machine, with the label appropriately clamped, doing it by hand is probably doomed to failure.
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Old 4th Feb 2019, 11:41 am   #10
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Default Re: Restoring Brass Etched Labels

I had a similar problem, brass plates were bad, there was a fair few of them, my method was as follows:

Removed crud and patina, thinned out some suitable black paint then applied one coat all over, wait to dry then rub off where required with the wifes nail buffers (different grades are available) then apply another coat of thinned out paint then rub off where required again and so on and so on etc.

Doing it that way meant that only one thin layer of paint had to be rubbed off at any one time which made things a lot easier, no flat plate with emery was used, all done with hand held nail buffers

I can't find any "before" pics at the moment but I've found some pics after the treatment, they are not close up shots but believe me the finished results were very good.

1st pic shows one of the refurbished coil packs fitted in the receiver, the receiver cabinet was also refurbished by myself, 2nd pic shows all the coil packs with their ID plates (all refurbished) in the transit/storage box.

Lawrence.
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Old 4th Feb 2019, 11:53 am   #11
jamesinnewcastl
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Default Re: Restoring Brass Etched Labels

Hi Lawrence

Sounds like a good technique, I will try it - now all I need to do is research 'nail buffers'....


Cheers
James
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Old 4th Feb 2019, 12:10 pm   #12
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Default Re: Restoring Brass Etched Labels

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesinnewcastl View Post
Hi Lawrence

Sounds like a good technique, I will try it - now all I need to do is research 'nail buffers'....


Cheers
James
I did what would be the equivalent of a very large engraved one, the front panel of a receiver with raised lettering (etched background)

It was in a bit of a state, all the letters, numbers etc were raised but by not a lot and were encrusted with rust, it was more difficult to do than the individual ID plates in my previous post but it turned out very well, the "silvered" lettering etc is not silver paint but the steel of the panel, the panel was sealed all over with some clear varnish/laquer once completed.

Lawrence.
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Old 4th Feb 2019, 12:17 pm   #13
M0FYA Andy
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Default Re: Restoring Brass Etched Labels

The type of sanding pad I've used successfully is ebay item 292203040137.

Andy
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Old 4th Feb 2019, 5:02 pm   #14
NickG0HIK
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Default Re: Restoring Brass Etched Labels

Hi James,

Attatched are a selection of the labels I've had made, mentioned by Andy.

I think they have scanned the original in and touched up where required.

He can drill the holes BTW

It is an industrial engraver who mainly does traffolyte labels for equipment panels.
I was in there getting a job done and saw he had some samples on display one of which was a replacement chassis identity plate for a vintage car, it got me thinking about AM labels.

BTW I quite like the blocks that are intended for cleaning PCB's, they are just like a pencil eraser and do quite a good job of cleaning brass.

https://uk.farnell.com/kelan/141330/...a-336024413703
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Old 7th Feb 2019, 8:54 am   #15
jamesinnewcastl
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Default Re: Restoring Brass Etched Labels

Hi Nick

Thanks for the pointers, some nice labels there, in fact all the labels look great.

I tried the thinned down paint technique suggested by Lawrence - really nice finish to the black parts but as usual I goofed in before it was dry..... start again....

I'm off to get some nail buffers, however I'm wondering how the paint application is done professionally I can't see a better way (in theory) that the flat surface technique and I was wondering about using a fine whetstone (?) the sort of thing that you sharpen chisels on - they look very flat over a wide area. I do have an unused one but need to find it....

Cheers
James
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Old 7th Feb 2019, 11:06 am   #16
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Default Re: Restoring Brass Etched Labels

I think what happens for the originals is that you start with a piece of brass. Often nickel plated. You then photomask the bits you want brass or silver and then acid etch the rest to give the relief. The etched bit is then either chemiblacked or painted and then the resist is washed off - it will take the surplus paint with it.
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Old 7th Feb 2019, 11:48 am   #17
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Default Re: Restoring Brass Etched Labels

From memory the ones I did shown in the photo's....when using the nail buffers to remove the paint off the required areas of brass I used water as a lubricant, all I can remember is black paint from Halfords (I think it was paint in a spray can) nail buffers, water, a mess on the table and some patience.

Lawrence.
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Old 10th Feb 2019, 11:05 pm   #18
jamesinnewcastl
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Default Re: Restoring Brass Etched Labels

Hi

After some research it looks as if there are three ways of doing the blacking - mechanically with an abrasive - chemicaly using a solvent wipe and the last one - which sounds the best and is done at the time the label is made - photo resist.

I tried the nail buff and couldn't avoid hitting the shiny paint surface....

(oh, just had a though - you could 'wax' the raised areas with a candle or other waxy thing and then paint - when the paint is dry the waxy area will wipe away - a variation on the photoresist method)

..... the paint became matt but then I thought to try to polish the paint shiny again! Anyway final version attached.


Cheers
James
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Old 10th Feb 2019, 11:44 pm   #19
M0FYA Andy
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Default Re: Restoring Brass Etched Labels

That's looking good!

Andy
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