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cleaning bullion embroidery, I cracked the mystery!


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#1 Kaigun Shosa

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 05:27 PM

Well....I think I finally found a natural method to clean bullion embroidery without toxic chemicals and also without destroying either the bullion or cloth itself.

I know that some collectors are very particular when it comes to preservation and also in the mind set of "just leave it alone" or that the patina looks good as is...

 

But for those that want to restore the original luster of that silver or gold bullion, well, I want to share the method I tried out.

First,  I want to show you some before and after photos just to get your judgement...

 

Here is a 1920's US Navy Officers Cap badge. Before cleaning.

 

 

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#2 Kaigun Shosa

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 05:28 PM

After cleaning...

 

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#3 Der Finn

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 05:30 PM

Can't wait to see/hear your method!



#4 Wake1941

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 05:31 PM

Fantastic work

#5 Kaigun Shosa

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 05:32 PM

1930's Crow. Before and after. This was just a light cleaning. I did a light cleaning on the verdigris and was able to get some out.

 

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#6 BILL THE PATCH

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 05:48 PM

Unbelievable!, Awesome. Maybe you should patent it. Nobody likes chemicals

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#7 vintageproductions

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 05:49 PM

I was always told to use vinegar and water if you wanted to clean the bullion.



#8 Kaigun Shosa

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 05:53 PM

Very easy and natural.

 

Here's what you need:

2 soft bristle tooth brushes

Cream of tartar (large container)

 

1. Dry brush the bullion and try to clean any dust, dirt or debris off the item before you try and clean it.

 

2. Get the tooth brush wet and then sprinkle the cream of tartar on the item to be cleaned.  You want to gently scrub with the tooth brush until you create a paste with the cream of tartar and the water.

 

3. Keep adding equal amounts of water and the tartar and keep scrubbing in either a circular motion or with the grain of the bullion. Don't scrub too hard. remember the bullion thread is delicate. Go through it patiently and take your time.

 

4. Rinse the tartar off the bullion to evaluate your work. Repeat the process as needed.

 

5. When you get the desired luster or brilliance back, rinse the bullion to get as much of the tartar off. When you are done rinsing then blot to bullion with a paper towel until you soak up the excess water and let it air dry. Do not blow dry it, dry in the direct sun. In a day or two the insidnia will be dry and you will have brought back the original luster in your insignia.

 

Caveat! This will not work on all bullion insignia! Do your research, some bullion thread was electroplated silver on brass or copper, if the oxidation is too far gone, you may not want to use this method since the silver may have already oxidized off the insignia.

 

Try this method on a test piece first till you get the hang of the process then move your way up to a piece that you would like to clean.

 

A good way to determine if you are willing to try this method is to look at the bullion thread with a 10x jeweler's loop. you may be able to see if the thread has any copper or brass in it. If it does, it may not shine up as you may think.

 

Good luck and I hope this method works for you!

 

If you have any questions feel free to PM me.

 

Jim



#9 Kaigun Shosa

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 05:58 PM

No vinegar No brasso No toothpaste No tarnex 

 

Just simple Cream of Tartar that you can find at your local grocery store. by the way, use the second "clean" tooth brush to gently brush the bullion after you have cleaned it blotted it dry to get some of the residual tartar crystals and powder off the insignia.



#10 manayunkman

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 06:11 PM

How did you figure this out?

The results are amazing.

#11 Teamski

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 06:13 PM

Pretty wild!  I will have to try that out.....

 

-Ski



#12 Bob Hudson

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 07:10 PM

For those who've never tried to clean bullion insignia, pretty much everything people have thought of in the past has not worked which is why this is something to get collectors excited. I've heard lots of stories about people using pencil erasers to clean up the bullion, but the tarnish returned worse than ever.

 

I just got a pair of US Navy shoulder boards still in the box in sealed packages, circa mid 1950's.

 

The maker - GEMSCO - was pretty instructive about the care of bullion:

 

shoulder.jpg



#13 Kaigun Shosa

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 09:21 PM

More to come.....



#14 MastersMate

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 02:27 PM

A quiet, semi drizzly day around here so I thought I'd give this a try.  I have a couple of khaki, QMC rating badges and the crow and specialty marks were about the same condition as the before Pharmacists Mate photos.  Stopped at the local drug store and picked up a couple of small childs size soft tooth brushes  Cream of Tartar powder was up in the cupboard.

 

Started in on the project just as described in the above posted instructions.  Both crows and specialty marks came out with damned near the same luster as the after photos.   Took about 10 minutes of a very light motion with the brush and I 'souped' up the paste a couple of times.  Rinsed well and they are now blotted dry and laid out on a mesh cookie rack for drying.

 

I have my ancient CG bullion officers cap device and my merchant mariners cap device.  Both in pretty tough shape.  Will be taking before and after when I start that task..

 

Very impressed by these results



#15 Thor996

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 03:02 PM

very interesting topic... great results!



#16 McDermut99

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 03:13 PM

Very interesting method and it appears to be working quite well. I'm looking forward to reading more about this technique and possibly trying it myself.



#17 Kaigun Shosa

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 04:27 PM

Just did a light onceover and you can see the results. A couple more times on the star and it should pop!

 

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#18 Allan H.

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 05:13 AM

I tried this and am NOT HAPPY with the results! I used high-quality tartar sauce and now all I have is a gooey mess!

 

Allan

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#19 Allan H.

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 05:15 AM

In all seriousness, I think this is a fantastic discovery and I think it will seriously change the way tarnished bullion is viewed from a collector perspective.  Kudos to Kaigun Shosa for sharing this outstanding preservation technique.

 

Allan



#20 manayunkman

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 06:14 AM

So Allan, your first post is a joke?

#21 Allan H.

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 06:49 AM

I'm evidently not very funny if the question has to be asked....

 

Yes, I was simply trying to insert some levity prior to providing praise for the great tip.

 

Allan



#22 Brian D

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 06:54 AM

I'm evidently not very funny if the question has to be asked....

 

Yes, I was simply trying to insert some levity prior to providing praise for the great tip.

 

Allan

I thought it was funny!!!!  For those that didn't get it, I wouldn't recommend using Tartar SAUCE though!  ha



#23 MastersMate

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 06:57 AM

Hmmmm, I will now be giving the wonky eye every time I order a fish sandwich at Mickey D's   :D



#24 BILL THE PATCH

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 07:20 AM

I'm evidently not very funny if the question has to be asked....
 
Yes, I was simply trying to insert some levity prior to providing praise for the great tip.
 
Allan

As soon as I saw the picture of the sauce I busted a gut. First I said he cannot be that stupid. Lol, It took a couple of seconds to sink in. Good one

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#25 MastersMate

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 04:43 PM

Well, spent some time on a couple of items I'd given up on as lost causes.  Te CG cap insignia is from 1980, but I suspect it is a lot older. The band has a lousy dye job and I suspect it is from the 1970s prior to the uniform change. It was worn on my 'steaming cap and got a lot of abuse. It never was "inspection quality.  The merchant marine wreath was new and shiny in 1990 but was also a working cap insignia.  Again kinda salty when retired..

 

Both got 3 treatments with the TARTAR and light scrubbing.  The MM insignia cleaned up well and I think the 'soup' did a great job.  The CG device I had absolutely no hope for but I do believe it cleaned up about a 3 on a 1-10 scale.  Very impressed.  When dry, I gave them both a VERY gentle brushing with a very fine brass bristle brush. Brought a bit of lustre back to them..

 

 

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  • 2019 BULLION CLEAN.jpg



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