Cleaning A Custom cymbals ??

musicman64

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I've got some A customs with brown and green spots on them. I've tried every cymbal cleaner and other product in the shop. Some will brighten the cymbals, but nothing makes the spots go away. Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks, Charles
 

JazzDrumGuy

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I bought BKF from Home Depot for like $5.......I got the ready-to-go liquid but I think they make a powder version, too (similar to Ajax or Comet)......
 

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Yes, as JazzDrumGuy states Home Depot. Hardware stores, grocery etc.

I used the powder formula 1st time and then liquid 2nd. I prefer the liquid. As always, best to test small area first!
15D6431C-72D0-47B7-91E7-A24A686DF215.png
 

Cliff DeArment

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For all....

BKF is a very strong acid. I recommend never using an acid on a cymbal. BKF is Oxalic Acid (OA), one of the strongest acids of all. Many say it's great stuff. Sure, it works fast and makes your Bar look pretty, but it will slowly eat bronze. Go see an old brass drinking bar. You may notice a yellowing color through the years. Cymbals do the same thing. A strong acid is a strong acid. Beware.

Ajax or Comet is an alkaline. In the 50's Avedis himself said to use Ajax (or others) with a powder rubbing along the grooves.

There is a compromise between the two. A very soft natural acid, usually vinegar (lemon is stronger) may gently dissolve green colors. Browns can too, but it depends, and blacks will sometimes be there forever. Some use ketchup, which holds the vinegar giving it time to dissolve (15 minutes or so). Use gloves. Our finger oils will eat it too, again giving a yellow color which will never come off (I found out the hard way). Wash with a mild soap and dry. If it needs more help, try again.

Green has usually etched a cymbal already. We'll often see that with copper too. It can still begin to etch again after cleaning. A wax will stop it for a while.

Again, avoid acids as much as you can.
 
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Johnny D

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For all....

BKF is a very strong acid. I recommend never using an acid on a cymbal. BKF is Okadaic Acid (OA), one of the strongiest acids of all. Many say it's great stuff. Sure, it works fast and makes your Bar look pretty, but it will slowly eat bronze. Go see an old brass drinking bar. You may notice a yellowing color through the years. Cymbals do the same thing. A strong acid is a strong acid. Beware.

Ajax or Comet is an alkaline. In the 50's Avedis himself said to use Ajax (or others) with a powder rubbing along the grooves.

There is a compromise between the two. A very soft natural acid, usually vinegar (lemon is stronger) may gently dissolve green colors. Browns can too, but it depends, and blacks will sometimes be there forever. Some use ketchup, which holds the vinegar giving it time to dissolve (15 minutes or so). Use gloves. Our finger oils will eat it too, again giving a yellow color which will never come off (I found out the hard way). Wash with a mild soap and dry. If it needs more help, try again.

Green has usually etched a cymbal already. We'll often see that with copper too. It can still begin to etch again after cleaning. A wax will stop it for a while.

Again, avoid acids as much as you can.
Well said, Cliff. Although Zildjian and other cymbal companies sell cleaning products, the best and safest method is a mild soap and water. And in reality, when Avedis began making cymbals here 90 years ago, cleaning them was not a consideration. Maybe let them age and take on their natural patina...

But if you're going to clean your cymbals, use a mild cleaner. You might even want to contact Zildjian and ask them what they suggest and explain their cleaner is still leaving spots.

Good luck.
 

Redbeard77

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You'll notice at the very end of this Zildjian video the cymbal isn't perfect, but it is much shinier. Maybe some spots can't be removed without using a harsh cleaner, which is IMO not worth it.
 

Cliff DeArment

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Always wondered what Zildjian/Paiste cleaners are really in them. Of course, they won't tell. It's a special secret.... ooooooo.... :cool: I'm betting it's some type of alkaline without grit and an easy soap.
 

Ghostin one

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BKF is a very strong acid. I recommend never using an acid on a cymbal. BKF is Okadaic Acid (OA), one of the strongiest acids of all.
Huh?

I guess this is spell check run amok, or something, but barkeeper's friend is NOT okadaic acid ( a potent neurotoxin produced by certain marine life forms).

BKF is partly oxalic acid.
 

Cliff DeArment

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Huh?

I guess this is spell check run amok, or something, but barkeeper's friend is NOT okadaic acid ( a potent neurotoxin produced by certain marine life forms).

BKF is partly oxalic acid.
Oops! Yes, oxalic acid! I have a list of acids and grabbed the wrong one. I'd usually just say OA but some wouldn't know what it is. That's for noticing. :)
 

Cliff DeArment

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JDA, do you have the link that explains the bronze disease/rust?

It sounds to me this is what the brown spots OP is talking about.

Bronze disease is green. That etches a cymbal.

In the K Istanbul era it was thought of as the sea salts being part of the secret. Again, alkaline. Aram had told Avedis to build the foundry by the sea. Avedis said it wasn't needed. Maybe he should have. We can hope it will stop the bronze disease process with the right stuff, but it may not. If it's deep down in there isn't much we can do.

Has anyone seen an Agop/Mehmet Istanbul that's green? Just asking.
 
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Johnny D

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Bronze disease is green. That etches a cymbal.

In the K Istanbul era it was thought of as the sea salts being part of the secret. Again, alkaline. Aram had told Avedis to build the foundry by the sea. Avedis said it wasn't needed. Maybe he should have. We can hope it will stop the bronze disease process with the right stuff, but it may not. If it's deep down in there isn't much we can do.

Has anyone seen an Agop/Mehmet Istanbul that's green? Just asking.
Actually, the original Quincy, MA factory was near the ocean. Quincy is a coastal city. The current factory in Norwell is not near the ocean, though it's one town away from Scituate which is on the ocean.
 

Gcort49

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I bought BKF from Home Depot for like $5.......I got the ready-to-go liquid but I think they make a powder version, too (similar to Ajax or Comet)......
Don't use powder/Ajax/Comet....can possibly leave scratches.
BFK in liquid is good, but be sure to rinse with water (white residue)
 

JDA

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O reminded me of this site ;which delves a bit into Bronze Care.
Seems when you pull out a cymbal you haven't 'seen' in a while and there is that one spot- smaller than a dime- of green. Like rust spot. I don't think any cleaning will remove (it's damage/) and if you do manage to get the green "dime" removed, a "whiter" spot is left shadow/under/neath.

anyway click the picture:

then click on Bronze

then the same old household cleaner

Cymbals last a long time but they do age lol
 
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Cliff DeArment

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Actually, the original Quincy, MA factory was near the ocean. Quincy is a coastal city. The current factory in Norwell is not near the ocean, though it's one town away from Scituate which is on the ocean.
Yes, Quincy. "It was chosen according to Aram's desire that the factory be set near the ocean (for tempering of the cymbals in sea water) and resemble the Istanbul foundry as much as possible." Avedis said sea water wasn't needed and chose city water.
 
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Cliff DeArment

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OA is a colorless crystalline solid that forms a colorless solution in water. (Wiki)

In other words, BFK, liquid or powder, is pretty much the same thing. BFK powder might have other powders in it (?) but hard to tell.
 

singleordoubleheads

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I've got some A customs with brown and green spots on them. I've tried every cymbal cleaner and other product in the shop. Some will brighten the cymbals, but nothing makes the spots go away. Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks, Charles
I have used Wrights Brass Polish for over 30 years with excellent results (and it will NOT scratch). It is very thin/runny/milky and I apply it with a car wax pad. It dries to a powderish state pretty quickly and comes off easily--esp on Brilliant finish cymbals and makes them look killer. I buy it at my local supermarket but I'm sure any major big box has it. I am VERY careful with my cymbals and swear by it.
 

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