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DUI/Crest Maintenance


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#1 ecogene

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 12:51 PM

Having uncovered a part of my youth, I now have over 200 crests that need some TLC.

 

I would appreciate suggestions on how to clean and shine (anything better than Braso?).  Are there other maintenance related issues I should be aware of?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

EH



#2 Steve B.

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 01:46 PM

I do not use brasso or any other polishing compound.  I use a soft cloth, such as an old t-shirt, and give them a quick polish by rubbing the DUI very quickly on the folded-up cloth.  The problem with Brasso or any other polish is that it will leave residue of the polish in the cracks & crevices that will later turn green  - the color of tarnished brass.

 

I keep them in Riker mount frames to protect from dust, fingerprints, etc.  The ones that were in really bad shape when I got them might get a little bit of extra care with a soft bristle toothbrush, and maybe just the tiniest bit of Brasso, but only on the backs & sides where it won't work it's way into the cracks & crevices.

 

My personal opinion is that if I want bright, shiny, new-looking DUIs I will buy new ones.  All my old screwbacks & pinbacks have earned their patina and I like it that way.



#3 Rakkasan187

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 03:13 PM

Agree 100% with Steve B..

 

I would not use any type of chemicals or abrasives in excessive amounts.. The Patina of aging artifacts is in many cases quite desirable to many collectors since it helps validate that the material has not been cleaned..

 

As a museum curator I can tell you we have drawers full of unit crests from the 20's 30's 40's and so forth.. None of these are cleaned in the sense that patina or gold or silver wash that remains on the crests are removed. We inspect them visually and annotate each time we take them out and update the property jacket condition report of the crest. 

 

The only cleaning we do is if there is any verdigris on the backside of the crest or the front for that matter with a sterile Q-tip (sterile meaning no chemicals or compounds..

 

Leigh 



#4 Glidertrooper

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 04:01 PM

I agree I would not go near any of my DUI or wings with polishing compounds of any type.

 

What I will do for most of my metal insignia is use a mild neutral unscented soap and cold or luke warm water to hand wash them (no brushes, which could harm any soft metal) and then dry with a soft towel or cloth. Using soap and water will take off any dirt, oils or grease from handling, etc., but will not remove / change patination and should do no harm to metal and enamel insignia.

 

Plastic or painted insignia I will just leave alone or use a sterile Q-tip as suggested above if there is dirt that needs to be removed.

 

Soap and water WILL remove tarnish from sterling silver wings, but not the patination again. Personally I am comfortable with this, as then you get a shine back to wings without all the risks associated with polishing, including wear to the details of a wing. And of course if you leave the wing for long enough the tarnish will return once again.

 

The wings below have been washed with mild soap and as can be seen there is a nice natural shine to them, but none of the patina has been affect.

 

Caveat is of course if you do anything too much / harshly, then you will risk damage.

 

Cheers......John

 

Invasion Wings A.jpg  Invasion Wings B.jpg


Edited by Glidertrooper, 11 July 2019 - 04:13 PM.


#5 ecogene

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 06:44 AM

Thanks all for the information.

 

I would appreciate comment on another issue.  My crest backs vary widely in condition.  Some have two, nice, pins, some only have one, and many have pins bent (I remember as a kid mounting on plywood and bending many).  My question is, How much should I modify pins.  I have experienced breakage when straightening.  On DUIs with no pins I have mounted a velcro piece so I can put crests on a board.

 

Any hints will be appreciated!

 

Ed



#6 Steve B.

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 03:27 PM

DUIs with bent, broken, or missing pins are worth less than intact versions.  A local dealer bought a collection from someone who cut off all the pins and glued the DUIs to matboard with identifications written on them,.  There are thousands of DUIs in the collection, and several years later, he has barely sold any.

 

You can do what you want since they are your collection, but I would not try to "nail" them into a board.  If that's what you want, I would at least poke a hole with an awl or a nail first.  Straightening the pins is very hit or miss.  We've all broken pins trying to straighten them, but they are difficult or impossible to mount with bent pins, so we kind of don't have a choice.  We just have to be as careful as we can, and understand that there is likely to be collateral damage.




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