I have a matter of days to get this house ready for students to move in. I’m looking for people to sand floors, tossing up whether to rip up more carpet, pulling out cupboards (more on that later) and I have a garden where the weeds are growing so fast they wrap around your ankles if you stop to admire the flowers. I plan to build floor to ceiling shelves down the front hall to turn it into a library. I have 3 rooms of books and junk to pack into boxes and relocate. So what did I do yesterday? I went to the tip shop of course. Yes I told myself I was looking for single beds that I need, but that doesn’t explain why I was inside looking at the dishes.
In my nonexistent library I plan to build one shelf that will be the ‘entrance console’ – maybe have a mirror behind it, space for a vase or something. After all you’ll open the front door straight into two walls of books, no foyer, nothing to say come in. And on that shelf I thought it would be nice to have a dish to toss my keys, headphones etc in when I walk in the door. So I’m looking through the dishes at the tip shop. There’s a brass one, labelled with whiteboard marker, $2.30 and a C in a circle. I’m not sure if this was supposed to indicate it was copyrighted or made of copper. It was very dirty brass and had some large black marks through the bowl and on the back. Probably wouldn’t clean up – after all someone tossed it out. But it was nice and heavy, maybe I could spray paint it with a bronze and it would do? Then beside it was a silvery chromey (I’m good with metal identification right?) looking bowl with a gorgeous punched pattern around the rim. You know the blackish look silver gets when you don’t clean it for years? (Go on, admit it, we all have that ‘its too hard’ piece in the back of a cupboard somewhere.) Well this bowl didn’t have that look, but it didn’t have a stainless steel clean look either. And it had big black stains in the bottom, like the coating had worn off. (Gee, if only I’d thought to photograph them I wouldn’t need to use all these words.) Anyway, it was only $2 and would look awesome painted black. I’m sure I could find a use for it – after all I really need bowls at both doors right?
By the time I got home it was raining (well PELTING) down, so I pulled out the Silvo and had a go at the bowl. Wow. Couple of little pitted marks in the bottom, but really pretty good for an ornament. No idea what I’m going to put in it, but I am sure of one thing. This bowl had never ever seen silver polish before.
So, I grabbed the Brasso. The brass bowl took a little longer and some lemon and bicarb, and the use of a some 1200 grit wet and dry sandpaper on some of the stains. But an hour later this is what they looked like.
A little more sanding and a good polish with Brasso this morning and look at it now!\
I bought some more sandpaper today – I can probably get the residue of the stains out with a little more work (I am SUPPOSED to be doing a million other things before I get to put bowls in the hallway…)
I am now convinced these bowls were the victims of a throwaway society. Maybe their owners have never seen anything polished? I can see it now, the new bride tossing out the canteen of silver cutlery because it ‘went off.’ Maybe I just have too many memories of newspaper covered counters spread with all the silver, then the copper, then the brass for polishing before every party. Polish still works folks (despite the craze recently for distressed and worn looking items.) Polish is the key.