In my element...

I bought some copper miniatures from Elly's estate.  As they have some hammered surfaces, I assume they were made by Philippe Bordelet. ...

I bought some copper miniatures from Elly's estate.  As they have some hammered surfaces, I assume they were made by Philippe Bordelet.  The way they are made also suggests they are by Philippe Bordelet.  However, the soldering and finish on them is really quite bad.

In the past I have bought copper miniatures from Philippe himself and they are nicely made even though his soldering could have been better.  So, maybe these were early pieces or he just didn't have his day when he made them.

Whatever the case may be,  I decided to clean up the solder joints a bit.


I started with the pitcher which had a lot of solder all along the outside of the spout, the joint in the back and the handle.  First I removed the worst of the solder with a file, then rubbed it with sandpaper, then buffed it with a buffing paste. 



 I didn't want to be too rigorous so there still is a little bit of solder showing, but I really like it now.  

The little pudding mould had a lot of bad scratches on top, as if someone had stepped on it while it was on the pavement!  How on earth that happened I don't know, but I managed to get those scratches out as well.  



Cleaning the copper really started because I have a new toy:  an ultrasonic cleaner.  Very useful for cleaning silver, copper and other small bits and bobs.  These copper pieces were my guinea pigs so to speak.  I only used water and a little washing up liquid but that worked very well. 


Next up for cleaning were these three pieces.  Again, Bordelet pieces and I hate to say it,  but they look terrible.  The lid on the coffee pot (?) is really poorly made.  You can even see the mark from where it hit the edge of the doming block.  If I would cut that off the lid would be too small so I will leave it.  Then there is the crooked knob, the handle, the solder...




The tarte mould had an ugly blob of pitted solder on it which removed.  As with the first two pieces, I filed, sanded and buffed, then put them into the ultrasonic cleaner and gave them a quick wipe when they came out.   So satisfactory to see the change.


Such an improvement!  The lid of the coffee pot could do with a little more work, but I will leave it as it is for now.  


Another thing I bought from Elly's estate was a small samovar.  I didn't think it was copper but some kind of cheap metal.  Such a pity I did not take a picture of how it looked before I cleaned it...

I started cleaning it very carefully as the material wasn't very thick.  It got worse before it got better, but it turned out to be copper and brass after all.  No files and buffing on this one, just very careful polishing.  It took a long time but again, what an improvement!  











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22 comments

  1. Wow die stukken zien er zeker goed uit. Een mooi resultaat van al dat harde werk. Ik wist niet dat soldeer te verwijderen was met poetsen en vijlen.

    Huibrecht

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    1. Mooi geworden he? Met poetsen lukt het niet hoor. Je moet echt polijsten. Het soldeer ligt op het koper dus dat kan er ook weer af. Met het vijlen moet je voorzichtig zijn en een fijne vijl gebruiken. Dan met fijn schuurpapier de krasjes van de vijl weer verwijderen en dan door te polijsten de krasjes van het schuurpapier weer verwijderen. Dan reinigen en poetsen en weer reinigen. Het ligt een beetje aan de dikte van het koper hoe ver je kunt gaan want je kunt er natuurlijk ook doorheen gaan. Ik ben bij deze stukjes niet al te rigoureus te werk gegaan.

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  2. I have a really soft spot for copper - both in RL and in mini. Your copper pieces are stunning and what a transformation after a 'bit' of thorough cleaning.
    Anna

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    1. I do too Anna. In miniature at least. I try to buy a couple of pieces at least once a year. After cleaning these pieces yesterday I've thought of trying to make a couple of simple pieces myself. First I'll have to get some supplies though. I'm not good at soldering but we'll see how it goes. And I have found it is not that hard to clean up the solder joints ;-)

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  3. Wat een ontzettend mooie werkstukken zijn dit nu geworden, eer van je werk Josje.

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  4. I had no idea you could polish off the extra solder. Your pieces now look amazing!

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    1. Well, not polish Sherrill. You really have to follow the steps of filing, sanding and buffing to get the solder off, then polish. If the layer of solder is very thin you could do it just by sanding and buffing before polishing. Be careful not to go through the metal. Copper is soft and scratches easily so use very fine grades of sandpaper.

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  5. You have made them look 1000 times better. Great job!

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  6. Wow! Such an improvement. They really look pretty now.

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  7. After the time and effort spent filing, sanding and buffing the transformation is like night to day! The pieces now look so lovely with their rich copper colour. The samovar is a beautiful piece now that it has been polished so carefully.

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    1. Thank you Alayne. Yes, quite a difference! As for the samovar, I wasn't sure I liked it and kept thinking I'd offer it on the blog, but I'm glad I didn't now that I have cleaned it. ;-)

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  8. Great improvement! They look fantastic! I love the samovar. Most important is to keep them in a dry place in order to stay polished.
    Hugs, Drora

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    1. Thank you Drora! They are kept in quite a dry room, but eventually they'll have to be polished again. Hopefully that will take a long time.

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  9. Being able to see and then fix the imperfections in such a professional way, has given these copper pieces a Brand New Life! You have done a Bang-Up job Josje, and the little samovar is Spectacular!

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  10. Lovely finds and the samovar is a great piece. Well done with the cleaning up, they're lovely now.

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  11. Hi Josje! I am late to comment again. I love your collection of Copper ware! it is so varied and well made (to my eyes at least!) The imperfections that you are able to correct show your attention to detail. And knowing what to do with metal of all kinds is not something I am good at... so seeing your methods and results is very enlightening! I would love to see these pieces on display in your beautiful houses! I guess the reminder that our minis need the same attention as the RL households as far as polishing and dusting goes is one I need to think about! LOL! (The dust is piling up in mine...) :):)

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  12. La cocina con la dama de limpieza me parece fantástica.
    Lo de la bomba de cocina será cuestión de edades, los mayores ya hemos conocido esas cosas.
    Un abrazo
    Maite

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