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Offline Mike In2mudTopic starter
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« on: October 12, 2009, 06:15:02 pm »
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Can anyone tell me how to clean and preserve Lead/Pewter tokens.

When they first come out of the ground they are a dark grey in colour and the detail can be seen quite easily, but after the lead dries out, it turns white and it is more difficult to see the detail.
I presume that all you can do to clean it, is with a soft toothbrush and 'Fairy Liquid' , but is there something that can be done to prevent the metal turning white and preserve the detail.

Here's hoping regards Mike.

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Offline goldigger
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« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2009, 09:53:16 am »
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Quote:Posted by Mike In2mud
Can anyone tell me how to clean and preserve Lead/Pewter tokens.

When they first come out of the ground they are a dark grey in colour and the detail can be seen quite easily, but after the lead dries out, it turns white and it is more difficult to see the detail.
I presume that all you can do to clean it, is with a soft toothbrush and 'Fairy Liquid' , but is there something that can be done to prevent the metal turning white and preserve the detail.

Here's hoping regards Mike.


Pewter is mostly lead, so the white covering may be lead acetate.... what dissolves lead  acetate?

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Offline Homefire
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« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2009, 02:35:24 pm »
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Lye is supposed to stop the oxidation process.

You should check it out.  Lye kills most metals. I would try it on a fishing weight first.

I did find this.

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http://www.ehow.com/how_4881756_clean-old-pewter-tea-set.html


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Offline Mike In2mudTopic starter
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« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2009, 05:57:17 pm »
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Thanks Homefire,
I have to say I have never heard of the name Lye before, now that I have looked it up on Wickipedia I think it may be a bit harsh for my purpose.
But I will try one of the methods on that link you posted on some old lead first and see how it goes.
It appears a neutral wax polish may be the way to preserve the detail I'll try this also.

Once again many thanks Mike.

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Offline goldigger
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« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2009, 09:55:25 pm »
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Quote:Posted by Mike In2mud
Thanks Homefire,
I have to say I have never heard of the name Lye before, now that I have looked it up on Wickipedia I think it may be a bit harsh for my purpose.
But I will try one of the methods on that link you posted on some old lead first and see how it goes.
It appears a neutral wax polish may be the way to preserve the detail I'll try this also.

Once again many thanks Mike.


Lye will dissolve lead but has to be quite strong, I have used it to remove lead from placer concentrate, so a weak solution could be worth trying. Lye is potassium hydroxide, soda lye is sodium hydroxide..... Draino.

Draino has tiny balls of aluminum to make it foam, which could be picked out with gloves and tweezers.

A solution of 1 teaspoon to 1 gallon of water; always put the lye in the water, because pouring water on lye can cause an instant steam explosion. And use rubber gloves.

Want to make hominy? Lye will remove the hard hulls, but use a couple or three teaspoons per gallon.

Personally, I would not scrub, it is definitely more destructive.

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Offline Mike In2mudTopic starter
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« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2009, 06:47:22 pm »
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Thanks for that Goldigger.

Regards Mike.

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« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2009, 05:48:54 pm »
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Quote:Posted by Mike In2mud
Thanks for that Goldigger.

Regards Mike.


Well, I have to thank homefire, too, as the info, on the link is good, for tarnished pewter, but.... will/do those instructions apply to old style pewter as well as the newer lead free?? And will the directions work on heavily tarnished pewter, with a rind of oxide/sulphate?? Have to try it, is all.

Which ever, it is going into my file of useful ideas!

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« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2010, 06:54:03 pm »
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Vinegar should remove the white coating and wd-40 wil keep it from coming back

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« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2010, 07:17:15 pm »
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Hi there Mike,

Check out this link I found.  I think it might be helpful for cleaning lead and other artifacts..............

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http://nautarch.tamu.edu/crl/conservationmanual/File14.htm


Best regards,

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