Help with Cookie Button Cleaning

BuckleBoy

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Hello All,

I’ve been digging a site where the buttons and brass items have a concrete-like layer of dirt on them that just won’t come off with water. They look like cookie coins from the beach. Does anyone have any experience with brass items, dug perhaps from a privy or a location that left them similarly encrusted? From what I can tell it’s silty dirt but it’s on everything like glue. I used a brass bristle brush on one button and it took the dirt—but also the patina right off. Help!
 

pepperj

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Got a picture of the horn crusted buttons?
 
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BuckleBoy

BuckleBoy

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Mason Jarr

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Nov 23, 2012
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Here’s a photo of a whole pocket watch with the encrustation

Here’s a photo of a whole pocket watch with the encrustation

Hello All,

I’ve been digging a site where the buttons and brass items have a concrete-like layer of dirt on them that just won’t come off with water. They look like cookie coins from the beach. Does anyone have any experience with brass items, dug perhaps from a privy or a location that left them similarly encrusted? From what I can tell it’s silty dirt but it’s on everything like glue. I used a brass bristle brush on one button and it took the dirt—but also the patina right off. Help!
Electrolysis. Do you have a small 12V charger?
 

fyrffytr1

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Try putting one on the dash of your vehicle in the sun for several hours then drop it in the freezer for several hours. Sometimes the expansion and contraction of the metal will cause the encrustation to break loose.
 

Mason Jarr

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Nov 23, 2012
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Use a small one like a lot of electronic devices come with. Connect the negative side to the button and the positive to something conductive. I use a small piece of carbon rod but have used teaspoons. This alkali dirt in the west is hard to get off, but after about 10 minutes you can rub it off with your fingers.
 

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