Know When To Hold 'Em, Know When To Fold 'Em

Kenny Rogers was right, you need to know when to stay and when to run.

As I'm coming into the tail end of my latest project (this Campaign desk), 

                                                   it looks dark and dingy here, but the hardware really wasn't that bad!
I've run into two separate issues, both of which I'll be blogging about this week.

The first is polishing brass.  The hard lesson I've learned is knowing when to polish, and when to leave good enough alone.  The first disclaimer I should mention is that I'm a visual person.  Often times it's very hard for me to imagine something unless I can see it in it's entirety (think paint, wallpaper, etc.), which, as you can imagine, can sometimes create difficult situations.  I noticed that some of the hardware was dark in spots, and I decided to try my hand at cleaning it up--the only problem is, there really is not in-between.  Either it's super shiny and clean (which has absolutely no "aged" appeal), or it's tarnished and uneven, which isn't always aesthetically pleasing to the eye.  I took a chance on cleaning it up and pulled out my Brasso.

And now a note on this.  I know people swear by it, but it's not something I would swear by.  It works (often times in varying degrees), but stinks and requires a bit of effort.  I found that a good combination of elbow grease and alternating between applying the product directly on the brass and applying it on a cloth (as the directions state) works best for me.  I need to let you know that applying Brasso to a cloth and then to your item is what's recommended by the manufacturer, so please use your own discretion if you'd like to try my method. So I used this method, tried it, and it worked . . . but now I think it's a bit too clean and shiny--I wanted a clean, aged look, but that's not exactly what I got.  I got this.

And since I started, I had to go ahead and finish it. 

It's a bit too brand new, which is definitely not what I was going for.  Don't let the pictures fool you--it is shiny.  I found that it really is hard to achieve that in between look, so I went on ahead and cleaned the rest of the hardware.  

Don't worry, there's no need to pull out the violin for me.

Woodworms make the best violins

It will still be fabulous and beautiful in the end, but I just thought I'd share my observations & experiences.  

How do you feel about brass?  If you're a person who likes it clean, what's your go-to method for getting down and dirty???

**I know Jenny from Little Green Notebook uses salt & vinegar--any other reviews on that method?