Removing Lacquer from Silver?

Questions on polishing, restoration, conservation + manufacturing techniques

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FortHill
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 6:31 am
Location: Massachusetts

Removing Lacquer from Silver?

Postby FortHill » Mon Dec 22, 2008 6:41 pm

I acquired a silver item that has been lacquered. Some of it peeled off the bottom, but how can I remove the rest? The item is repousse, so I suspect a chemical rather than mechanical means will be required.

Thank you,
Joseph
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admin
Site Admin
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Postby admin » Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:25 pm

I have found that commercial acetone, straight from the hardware or paint store, used with cotton wadding, works well at removal of lacquer and some other applied finishes. Follow up the stripping with a standard hand polish.

note - make sure to follow the safety instructions on the container of any chemical substance

mechanical means of finish removal or polishing are really best avoided on any silver or silverplate surface.

Regards, Tom
.

FortHill
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 6:31 am
Location: Massachusetts

Postby FortHill » Tue Dec 23, 2008 8:05 am

Thanks. I first tried some alcohol, since this item was probably used as a dresser jar, and I thought it may have been cosmetics residue, but no luck. I could flake the lacquer off the bottom with my fingernail, but not all the relief. I didn't want to go the solvent route in case it would stain or damage surface of silver.
The annoying part is that this was a powder-puff jar, and could have been polished in less than 2 minutes, so the lacquer (which had yellowed in spots) couldn't have been that big a time saver.
Thanks and happy holidays,
Joseph
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silverhammer
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Re: Removing Lacquer from Silver?

Postby silverhammer » Thu Nov 17, 2011 7:38 pm

One of the best and least toxic products on the market is Ready-Strip Plus made by Back to Nature Products: http://www.ibacktonature.com/Pages/readystrip-PD.html. It's a thick consistency and will stay where you paint it. And don't worry, it won't harm the silver.

JLDoggett
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Re: Removing Lacquer from Silver?

Postby JLDoggett » Sat Nov 19, 2011 1:58 am

Acetone will not damage the surface nor stain silver. I used it often to remove final traces of rouge and tripoli after polishing. You may find some slight ridges left if it had been polished often after parts flaked off, but a good hand polishing will blend those into a uniform whole.

bluidbear3
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Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:44 pm

Re: Removing Lacquer from Silver?

Postby bluidbear3 » Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:51 pm

I just had very good luck using boiling water and Tide Liquid laundry detergent to remove a lacquer coating on an antique sterling picture frame. The silver part of the frame was fully removable from the backing so I could submerge the entire pc of silver in the boiling water, to cover, with a couple of tablespoons of Tide added and let soak for about and hour. Most of the lacquer was softened enough to remove with a brisk scrubbing with an all cotton cloth. An additional soaking removed the rest and the frame is now ready to finish polishing by hand.


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