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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

How do you clean a medal?


peter__m
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Mark and all clean as a whistle posters...

Thanks so much for all this great advice.

I really hadn't a clue to be honest.

Feeling safe now to do a wee clean up job.

One more question.

Are you sure?

:)

Any chance of a photo of your medals?

Mark :)

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Can can you clean a mounted group of medals without getteing the ribbons wet?

Im scared to clean my medals cause i dont want the ribbons to run or rot

Donnie

The short answer is no and I wouldn't personally attempt it. You won't be able to clean all of the medal or medals or would ruin the ribbon.

I tend to leave mounted groups - that is groups mounted as worn by the recipient - as they are. If the ribbons are in very bad condition I unmount them, clean then remount with new ribbons.

Below is a group of uncleaned medals still on their original mount:

post-15616-1164834060.jpg

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Eh excuse my ignorance but how do you get a photo into this thing?

I seem to be having a neanderthal moment...

Peter

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Eh excuse my ignorance but how do you get a photo into this thing?

I seem to be having a neanderthal moment...

Peter

Click the reply button and find image.gif

Click that and you'll be asked for the URL (address) of the image - but it won't be stored locally. So you need the pic online somewhere

I think "File Attachments" will store it on the forum.

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Aw sorry lads...was out tonight and still struggling with this photo business!

My pictures are too big...

Need to optimise them or something...what is it you call that...

Anyway...

Medals tomorrow.

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Should be easy to clean but be careful and take it easy. Follow the instructions above and allow plenty of time to do it.

Always a bit nerve racking the first time you try it.

Mark :)

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  • 1 month later...
Go on the British medals forum they are excellant

...& many of their esteemed Members inhabit these pages too!!! ;)B)

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Hello

Although a non medal collector I find all of this debate interesting, having some knowledge of metallurgy.

It all depends upon whether the medals are actually dirty (with a coating, or exterior deposit of some other material such as for example dust which has had no chemical reaction with the metal ), or the metal has reacted with the environment (or more commonly called corrosion or tarnish to form a metal oxide).

Most metals corrode with the environment (at vastly different rates) and this a chemical reaction between the surface of the metal and normally oxygen, but is often hastened with moisture and trace elements. The worst offender, is of course the moisture on our fingers.

From what I have seen of medals most of the discolouration covers the whole medal and suggests that it is a mild tarnish/corrosion. Now some corrosion bounds closely to surface of the metal such as:- Aluminium oxide on Aluminium and protects it, and some like "rust" on steel (an iron alloy) or iron does not not form a strong bond with the iron or steel and falls away.

If your remove the metal oxide with chemicals or an abrasive, it will come back unless there is a chemical inhibitor in the cleaning material or abrasive. The choice is yours, but you are removing material , all be it very small amounts.

If you have localised corrosion on the medal which the verdigris (green stuff) probably is, it needs to be inhibited, or neutralised, to stop it spreading.

Best thing is to get some surgical or protective gloves from Boots or the ones supplied by diesel pumps in local garages, to keep sweaty fingers away.

I look forward to the medal collectors advising me how to look after my book collection, especially the chemical to remove cancelled library stamps.

Regards

Mart

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I look forward to the medal collectors advising me how to look after my book collection, especially the chemical to remove cancelled library stamps.

An antique book dealer advises the use of fine sandpaper to remove unwanted inscriptions,Cancellation marks;& worst of all the Charity Shop/Boot sale muppets who scrawl "50p" in inch high numbers,on the Front End papers in Biro,it works & causes little or no damage to the FEPs.

Medal Collector ;):P

You did ask...

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Hello

Thanks, that technique of sanding works to some degree, and replacing fep works even better if its blank paper and you've bought the right age of paper from a book restorer shop. What would be real good to know is the chemical that the high end book dealers are using to remove cancellation and library stamps, especially on maps.

On the topic of cleaning medals, when I was searching the internet for restoring books, and guess what I found medals... ahhhhh, but here's the link from the conservation department of the Australian War Memorial on how a proper museum does it AWM Conserving Medals Link.

It would be good to ask them about death plaques and Verdigris too, so they are properly conserved and are preserved for future generations. I think its better if it come from someone with medals.

Has anyone thought of inviting the AWM to join this site, or by reply is someone going to tell me they are already here?

Hope this helps, more book tips please, all gratefully recieved.

Regards

Mart

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Hi

Sorry, forgot to say the link explains how to clean ribbons too!

Regards

Mart

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post-12753-1164930313.jpg

For Plaques once cleaned of dirt & grease{not the Patina however}I apply a dark or light tan boot polish{wax based & harmless & provided it is thoroughly dry before application,prevents moisture attack.this can be lightly buffed with a soft cloth a will bring the plaque "alive"

The plaque below was in a sorry state when I rescued it,having been buried in cement & badly scored,& tarnished by dirt,moisture & allsorts,...

post-2388-1168382866.jpg

post-2388-1168382909.jpg

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