LAMP CLEANING TIPS
When dealing old and antique lamps, you often find them gummed up with old Kerosene and lamp Oils. Kerosene will leave an oily gum and green deposits in the font and burner. First you must take the lamp apart. Heat is your best friend here. A hot air gun or hair dryer is your first tool that you should use. Get some insulated gloves (I use Kevlar Grilling Gloves). Heat lamp at burner and then try to spin off by hand. Using rubber strap clamps may be of help. If it doesn’t come off, I go to a propane torch. Be careful on glass lamps, this may not be the best approach. Also don’t melt the solder, just get the lamp hot enough to melt the dried-up kerosene. Once apart you can start to clean out the Lamp. I use 95% Isopropyl alcohol to help dissolve the kerosene wax. One the bulk of that is removed you can start cleaning the lamp. Oven cleaner is great on Nickel Lamps, inside and out. On Brass lamps, much of the cleaning solutions will affect the outside Patina, so if you want to preserve the antique Oxidized Brass, I would just use Krud Kutter or Simple Green. To clean out really fouled up fonts, Oven cleaner or paint stripper works great, or a Citric acid solution, or Lye Crystals and water work great. I like Citric acid as its non-Toxic and won’t burn your skin for short periods of time. Citric acid, Lye Crystals and Ultrasonic Cleaner is the trifecta approach to complete Burner Cleaning.
Polishing Brass and Nickel
if you are polishing Nickel Lamps, I use Blue Magic Metal Polish. I buy it from Mr. Bezos Online. I also use it as the final polish on Brass lamps. To Strip brass for Polishing you must make sure there is no Clear Lacquer on the brass. Most lamps do have this but if they do, just use a paint stripper first. Once the Lacquer is off, then I switch to Barkeepers Friend in the squeeze bottle and gently rub with #0000 Steel wool. Watch and see how fast the tarnish comes off, truly astounding. Once the lamp is cleaned up to you standard, then give it a final wash with some diluted Krud Kudder. If you Just leave lamp alone at this point it will have a satin finish. If you use Blue Magic polish, wipe on with a Blue shop paper towel, get lamp, black, then remove and final Polish with a Microfiber Cloth, it will have a brilliant shine. You can Clean spray auto wax to Protect or just leave it alone and polish the lamp once in a Blue moon.
The below video shows some of the above process.
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