Care for Heirlooms of Metal Following a Storm

aluminum appraisal brass care cleaning conservation copper corrosion damage following gold help hurricane insurance metal metalsmith pewter polish preservation silver silversmith storm The Brass and Silver Workshop wash water

To all affected by the hurricane:

You are in our thoughts and prayers as you begin the arduous process of clean up. We are sensitive to your efforts and would like to offer the following tips for assessing and cleaning your items of brass, silver, copper, etc.* If you plan to file a claim, talk with your insurance adjuster first, and proceed according to their instructions. Verify that the following steps will not hinder or invalidate a claim.
• Group like metals together (i.e. brass, silverplate, sterling, etc.).Sterling items will usually be marked "sterling" or" 925/1000".
• If you attempt to clean these items yourself, use clean water and a mild dishwashing detergent. This will halt any corrosive reactions. Keep all metal objects away from chemicals such as household cleaning products and bleach. Once the items have been washed, dry thoroughly.
• Once the items have been washed and dried, use only a polish specifically designed for that metal. Use silver polish for silver, brass polish for brass, etc. Avoid "all metal" polishes, as they are too abrasive for silver and silverplate.

If the tips above do not help, please send us an image via email at and we will attempt to guide you further. If the damage is extensive, please consult a silversmith or metalsmith who uses museum-sanctioned restoration and conservation methods. If you do not know one, we do adhere to these techniques in:
• Soldering of broken handles, feet, etc.
• Professional polishing
• Restoration of lighting fixtures
• Dent removal
• Straightening of items such as candlesticks, candelabrum
• Fabrication of missing parts
• Resilvering

Mr. Alfred Crabtree has 50 years experience in the industry, working with the historical churches, institutions and museums across the country, such as The Charleston Museum, The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, Middleton Place Foundation, Drayton Hall, Colonial Williamsburg, the Flagler Museum, and the South Carolina Governors Mansion.

If you know someone that might benefit from this information, please feel free to share. We stand with you and remain committed to restoring, preserving, and conserving heirlooms and fine metal decorative arts for future generations.



*Please note that the suggestions contained in no way indicate a representation, liability or warranty of any kind and are subject to our disclaimer of liability and warranty.

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